By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
Moving metal
Price of gold keeps local buyers busy
GOLD 1 for JS biz 0119935A
Sean Smith weighs some gold Tuesday at Five Star Pawn in Cumming. - photo by Jim Dean
The price of gold changes every few minutes.

It may rise a few dollars, then fall a few cents. But hovering at about $1,100 per ounce, recent prices are near an all-time high.

Few people pay closer attention to the daily gold price than those in the business of buying and selling it.

T&J Jewelers co-owner June Samples does both.

“I’m paying more for it now than I sold it for two years ago,” she said. “Two years ago you had very few people wanting to sell gold, and now it’s every day there are people in ... especially right before Christmas everyone was needing extra Christmas money.”

Pricing becomes tricky when the cost of gold fluctuates quickly or from one extreme to another. When the price goes up or down just a few dollars, Samples said she’ll usually ignore it.

“But if it jumps $100 a day, then we’ve got to go through and re-evaluate everything,” she said.

Large swings in either direction also catch the attention of Vicki Benson, owner of Cumming Pawn Shop.

With more than 25 years in the business, Benson has seen gold prices as low as $271 an ounce.

She’s also seen several price surges, including the current run, where gold has increased each year since 2001.

“I’ve been doing this a long time,” she said. “It’s different from year to year.

“It increases daily, but it also decreases daily. It’s just fallen around $200 within a three- to four-week period.”

All gold bought or sold from the pawn shop is priced according to its value that day.

Sean Smith follows the same practices.

The manager of Five Star Pawn said regardless of the day’s price, more people want to sell their gold and fewer are looking to buy it.

“Any jewelry right now is not a big-selling item, I don’t think, for anybody,” Smith said. “The price of gold is high right now and you’re still buying by the weight.

“We are selling some gold, but the silver is selling better right now.”

Like gold, silver has fluctuated in price through the years, though on a much smaller scale.

Lately, the price of silver has remained below $25 per ounce, while gold reached record highs of more than $1,200 last month.

“A lot of people are buying sterling silver because of the price, and because the white is much more popular right now,” Samples said.

As the silver look grows in popularity, Joshua Avella uses more 18-karat white gold and platinum in his jewelry.

Avella, owner of Gems In Art, said there still is some demand for standard yellow gold, though much of the jewelry he designs uses other precious metals.

But with the current economic slump, Avella said buying jewelry has become a more careful decision for customers.

“There are still people going to get married,” he said. “They are always looking for the engagement ring in gold and platinum and it’s still the same demand.

“It’s just that people are more cautious to buy now, and they’re looking for a good price, and they’re trying to spend more time trying to educate themselves and look for the best quality and the best product.”

While few customers are buying jewelry, Benson said many are dropping off their old bracelets, necklaces and rings, which she then sells to a refinery.

“A lot of it is broken and they don’t wear it anymore,” she said. “It’s just extra cash in their pocket in this economy.”