People are getting creative when it comes to selling their gold and selling it for different reasons, jewelers say.
LaurAnn Marino, manager of Louisiana Gold and Coins on South Sherwood Forest Boulevard, showed small piles of gold jewelry the store had recently purchased when she pulled out a peculiar item on Friday.
It was a gold tooth - specifically, a molar.
“Sometimes they come in with a whole tooth,” Marino said, adding that the company does not accept a gold cap with the tooth still in it.
The tooth is a small example of Baton Rouge area residents trying to cash in on record gold prices.
Gold was selling as high as $1,908.40 per ounce during the day Monday, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Annalisa Nguyen, 27, and O’Brian Powell, 26, both of Baton Rouge, visited Louisiana Gold and Coins twice on Friday.
The couple said they sold an assortment of necklaces, rings and pendants for $340 that day.
They said they had never sold gold before and only heard of the record gold prices about two weeks ago.
Nguyen said the pair sold the jewelry to help themselves out in tough times.
“Rent is coming around,” she said. “? The price of gold is real good now.”
Another customer at Louisiana Gold and Coins recently sold a silver tracheal tube, Marino said. The company buys silver in addition to gold.
A tracheal tube is placed in a person’s throat to help him or her breathe after they undergo a tracheotomy.
“I think it sold for about $50,” Marino said.
Business has doubled recently at Louisiana Gold and Coins, Marino said.
She said Louisiana Gold and Coins has bought twice as much scrap gold as normal in the past two months. Marino did not have specific sales figures.
“We’re buying a lot, but it goes both ways,” Marino said. “? But a lot of customers are selling because of the economy.”
However, gold sales at Louisiana Gold and Coins have risen for a while, Marino said.
“The last two years have been crazy,” she said.
Marino also said her company has to deal with plenty of fake gold, which, most of the time, customers do not know is fake.
“There’s always going to be fake gold,” Marino said.
There are two ways to test the purity of gold the store receives, Marino said.
The first test involves a piece of stone and acid, which Marino demonstrated at the store.
Marino took a piece of gold jewelry and scratched it on a small stone, which left behind some gold residue.
Marino then took a small bottle of acid and dropped it on the residue. How fast the residue disappears determines the gold’s worth, Marino said.
If the residue disappears quickly or turns green, then the gold is either fake or impure.
If it goes away slowly or does not disappear at all, the gold is close to being pure.
The second test is a bit more futuristic.
Marino said Southern Coins and Precious Metals in Metairie - owned by the same person who owns Louisiana Gold and Coins - owns an X-ray-like device that can scan a piece of gold to determine its purity.
“I wish we had one of those,” Marino joked.
Marino had two words of advice for anybody out there who still has gold to sell.
“Shop around,” she said.
Scott Berg, vice president of Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry, oversees all the operations of Lee Michaels’ gold markets in the state.
GOLD MET Berg said Lee Michaels’ gold markets have also increased significantly since gold prices began hitting record highs. He did not have specific sales figures.
Berg said Lee Michaels’ jewelry stores have not purchased any odd sorts of gold pieces, but rather jewelry that goes unworn.
“People have things in the jewelry box for years and doesn’t really have sentimental value,” he said.
Lee Michaels also puts its gold through stringent testing, like Louisiana Gold and Coins, Berg said.
Aspiring gold sellers should take their valuables to “reputable” stores to sell them, Berg said.
“Make sure that you go to a name that you can trust,” he said.