As times get tough, Mesa jeweler David Nelson is warning people not to be taken for a fool over gold.
The owner of Nelson Estate Jewelers at 2051 S. Dobson Road, he said there are two ways people are being taken by unscrupulous individuals
The first is taking genuine gold pieces to a pawn shop – and getting a fraction of their worth in exchange.
“I recently had a client come in and sell us a coin,” Nelson related. “I looked at it, and gave him a price of $1,425. Immediately after paying him he informed us that he was offered $150 at a pawn shop up the street on the same day.”
Worse are people trying to sell shiny baubles, claiming they’re the real thing.
He said one patron told him he was approached at a gas station by someone with “a sob story on how they have fallen on hard times” and offered “a nice heavy gold ring or chain in exchange for cash.”
Later it turned out to be a fake.
“These fake gold pieces are often heavy pieces of brass or gold-plated brass stamped 18K or 18KT that have enough weight to feel legitimate,” he warned.
“This is looking like it is becoming a real problem,” Nelson said. “Unfortunately, it always tends to be the elderly that get hurt the most by these kinds of scams.”
Nelson said his business pays market price for all unwanted jewelry, scrap gold, silver, coins and fine collectibles. He also provides free evaluations.
He said he’s observing social distancing guidelines by allowing only one person or one couple inside at a time and that “we wipe down everything after every client.”
“With gold being at an all-time high, it only makes sense for people to want to buy gold for below-market value if they have the opportunity,” Nelson said.
“A lot of fake stuff is coming out of China. For example, tungsten has a similar specific gravity to gold, so a piece of tungsten can be plated or encapsulated in gold, meaning a thin gold sheet is placed above and below a tungsten piece and then stamped together. This makes it incredibly difficult to tell the difference without physically testing the piece.”
Nelson said disappointed people who came to him have included someone who bought what he thought was “a quality, heavy-gold chain” from a guy selling jewelry out of a car trunk and showed a receipt purporting its authenticity.
Another cheated client purchased a ring from Craigslist that was “stamped 18K in the pictures.”
“Any of these private seller deals are always a ‘buyer beware’ situation where you have zero recourse because you will never see them again,” he said.
Info: 480-459-9867, nelsonestatejewelers.com.