By Richard Kitterman

Special to the Daily Herald

An acquaintance of mine recently bought a new jewelry box and as she was going through her previous case, she found a very nice white gold necklace. It was a gift from a former boyfriend and she no longer wanted it.

With the price of gold rising, she thought maybe she could get a few extra bucks in her pocket if she just sold it. With all the options available for selling gold - online stores, local jewelry stores, etc. - she came to me for some advice on where to turn.

I've gotten a lot of questions about gold buyers recently. In the past 12 months, Better Business Bureau received 2,790 inquiries on the industry, including unhappy customers who felt taken by the deal.

Many of the complaints claim buyers are paying less than what's expected. With mail-in options, some consumers report never receiving payment after sending their gold.

I told my friend that she should do some research before selling her necklace, and I offer the same advice to you. Get at least two or three appraisals to ensure the buyer is offering a fair price for each piece being sold and check with BBB to find Accredited businesses, both local and online.

Here are a few more tips for those looking to sell gold:

Separate your gold. All gold is not created equal. A 14-karat necklace will not have the same value as an identical piece in 24-karat gold. The rule of thumb: the higher the karat number, the higher the monetary value.

Evaluate gems separately. Some jewels are too small and the cost to remove them can exceed their value. But engagement ring diamonds, for example, should be given a value separate from the gold.

Document what you send. Make a list of items included in the package you mail, keep a copy, and put a copy in the envelope. Take a picture of items you send, including any identifying marks.

Insure your items. Insure your items when shipping them, so you can recover the value if they are lost.

Read the fine print. Before mailing items, find out what happens if you don't agree with the amount offered by the company, and check the company's policy on lost or stolen items. Many limit liability.

For consumer information, reports on businesses or charities or to file a complaint, go to or call (254) 699-0694.

Richard Kitterman is executive director of the Better Business Bureau serving Central and South Central Texas.

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