Cash for Gold

COLUMBUS, Ga (WTVM) - The time's never been so good, to turn gold into green.

"Gold's always valuable everyday, everyday gold's worth something, somewhere," says Bob Upchurch, owner of Gold and Silver Trading Company in Columbus.

Recently, gold's been trading at more than $900 an ounce, which easily adds up to quick cash for consumers.

"We've had a lot of people selling their gold for whatever reason," says Bill Langley of Wild Bill's Jewelry and Pawn.

"We've definitely seen an increase in the people coming in to sell their jewelry or to pawn their jewelry, it's just a sign of the times," says Langley.

But just how well does giving up your gold pieces pay, and where can you get the biggest bucks for your old bling?

The ConsumerWatch Team checked out pawn shops, jewelry stores and even those 1-800 numbers offering cash for gold to see what the process and prices were like.

"Each one of these pouches represents one customer," explains Upchurch as he shows us just how much had been brought in less than a month's time.

"We pay according to what karat it is, what karat will determine, detect the percentage of gold that's in each item, then we have a formula we go by and we pay cash based on that," Upchurch says.

After a brief explanation, we hand over our own gold to see what we can get.

Upchurch then tests the jewelry by rubbing a small amount onto a block and then adding a solution.  "If it turns brown or burns the gold off, what little it might be, you could tell is wasn't 14 karat, well you can see how this held up to the acid," explains Upchurch.

He also separates it by karat.  Immediately, it starts to add up.  Our grand total was $329.

Upchurch says he'd have most of the pieces melted, but agreed to pay more for two rings because he could resell them.

The key for consumers, negotiate if you can.

We soon find out though, while each piece may be worth it's weight gold, it's not worth the same everywhere you go!

Bill Langley of Wild Bill's Jewelry and Pawn takes a look at the same pieces, and offers us $222.25.

That's a difference of more than $100 from our first one, but, there's a reason.  Remember those rings, Langley's not willing to pay quite as much for them.

"With our market, where we are in Columbus, GA, color stones are not a big item, it's mostly gold and diamonds, okay, but this is a pretty ring," explains Langley.

So then I ask, "Would these rates be about the same if it was not a pawn, if I wanted to sell it?"

"Well, not really, because here's what we have to, we have to deal with it one way or the other if you didn't come back," says Langley.

As for those cash for gold tv ads, be careful, we sent off for a packet more than a month ago, and it never even came back.

But if you need a few extra bucks, dig around for that old gold, shop around, and cash in while you can.

"Ten, $15, $20, I mean all of the time, it all adds up," says Upchurch.