Mining old gold -- think twice before mailing your jewelry

The ads are all over the TV and the Internet -- "Turn your gold into cash!"

All you have to do is call and they will send you an envelope to collect your "unused" jewelry and turn it into money. Some even show you how you can watch every step of the way to make sure your gold is handled "correctly."

Hang on to your jewelry box -- this may not be such a great deal.

There are hundreds of complaints registered against these companies, including Cash 4 Gold, Gold Kit and Get Gold Cash. Consumers are complaining that they have been fleeced and are sent a check for only a fraction of what the gold is worth. No kidding. It is amazing that people will simply send their jewelry trusting that they will be given a fair price. Once in the post box, you really have no control over what they will reimburse you.

A former employee outlines the procedures at Cash4Gold in a recent blog. Granted, this former employee may have an ax to grind, but based on other complaints posted around the Internet, I would suspect there is a great deal of truth in what is being said. Once you send your valuables through the mail, the gold buyers can simply do whatever they want because they already have the goods.

If you are interested in selling some jewelry and gold, experts advise that you first go to your local jeweler and get an appraisal. You may want to get several but keep in mind that what it is worth is not necessarily what someone will pay for it. Get quotes from jewelers you trust and evaluate whether it is really worth selling.

I inherited a lot of jewelry from my grandmother who liked loud, gaudy pieces around her neck and dangling from her ears. Rather than sell it, I simply removed the diamonds and other precious gems and had them reset into something more my style. I think of her when I wear them and am so glad that she loved diamonds!

Barbara Bartlein is the People Pro. For her FREE e-mail newsletter, please visit: The People Pro.,feedConfig,entry&id=424731&pid=424730&uts=1250794107
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Actress Hannah Cowley poses on the red carpet at the premiere of the Ghost Light Pictures film "Diamond Confidential" at the Cinespace theatre in Hollywood on August 17, 2009. AFP PHOTO/Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
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