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Smart Buying

Cash for Gold

Should you mail in Grandma's old brooch?

If you have heaps of gold chains stuffed deep into your dresser drawers, those commercials offering to take unused jewelry off your hands in exchange for "cold hard cash" may sound mighty tempting. even ran a Super Bowl ad featuring Ed McMahon.

If you take the risk of mailing your jewelry in an envelope, can you actually expect to get anything back?

Yes, but assuming that your bling makes it through the mail intact, even reputable companies will pay you based only on the weight of the gold; they do not pay for gemstones. Jewelry that's still wearable and in good shape can fetch a higher price elsewhere than it would being sold for scrap. You can check the market value of gold at

Howard Rubin, of the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers, says local jewelers, protective of their reputations, are likely to give you a square deal and may pay more if you trade in the gold toward a new piece.