July 2011

Money For Gold

Author: Frank Dunne, Jr. | Photographer: John Brackett

Turn Your Unwanted Jewelry into Cash!

Sounds good, doesn’t it? And simple. Step 1: Fill out FREE evaluation form. Step 2: Get FREE postage-paid mailer. Step 3 is the best part: Receive a check in the mail!

So claims one of many websites visited while researching this subject. Seems all you have to do is drop your gold pieces in the mail and this company promises to give you a fair price. They’ll even buy your dental gold.

Skeptical? No need. You can take comfort in the fact that they’re headquartered in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, whatever that’s supposed to mean.

Look, gold prices are at record highs, so naturally a lot of people are trying to get in on the action. Likewise, a lot of folks might be thinking about liquidating unwanted jewelry and gold to take advantage, hopefully without being taken advantage of.

You could go ahead and send your precious metals off to some nebulous operation in the mountains, but wouldn’t you feel more secure working with somebody who can prove his reputation and track record right here in your own hometown?

“We happen to be in a position to give people an alternative to sending their stuff out in the mail or going out of the area,” said Michael Graham, proprietor of Gem & Jewelry Services in Port Royal Plaza. “We’re not like a ‘hotel buyer’ or a pawn shop. We’re more of a trusted service jeweler. I think it’s a little more comfortable for people to deal with somebody who’s solely in the business of jewelry.” He draws an analogy to something that is probably more familiar to most of us: selling a car. Before accepting the first offer that comes along, we check Blue Book and Edmunds—known and trusted entities—to get an idea what it’s worth before selling it. “That’s what we do. Help people know exactly what their pieces are worth so they can make an informed decision.”

And you don’t have to go to the Poconos to ask around. Graham has pretty firmly established his roots right here in the Lowcountry. Chances are he’s done business with some of your friends or neighbors. “I’ve been here my whole life,” he said, “and I’ve been in the local jewelry business for 18 years, ten of them at this location. (Gem & Jewelry Services celebrated its 10th anniversary on June 1.) A lot of my clients are people I went to school with.”

Gem & Jewelry Services also gets a thumbs up from other local gemologists. “I get a considerable amount of my referral business from other jewelers,” said Graham, noting that all have varying strengths, and sometimes providing the best possible service means referring a customer elsewhere. “We’re all very good at being able to help each other,” added Misty Graham, his wife and business partner.

The Grahams, along with Misty’s brother Rusty Baker and a Jack Russell/Rat Terrier mix named Roscoe, have spent the past decade positioning Gem & Jewelry Services not so much as a jewelry retailer, but as a the area’s preferred service jeweler—somebody you can trust with your valuables when in need of repair, and who will help you get the maximum value for your assets. “We get a lot of the more technical things like watch repairs and appraisals. We’re not focused as much on the retail end of it, but we do a lot of buying of the precious metals: silver, gold and platinum.”

To say that they’re looking out for the customer’s best interest is no specious claim either. You may remember in the not so distant past, the prevalence of gold parties set up by what Graham refers to as “hotel buyers.” These are gold buyers who would come into town and set up temporary shop in local hotels for two-day gold buying events. The trouble with that is it’s an illegal activity, but there was no local oversight at the time.

“I actually played a big part in regulating that locally,” Graham said. “When I saw an article in the paper stating that this was an illegal practice, I started to research it and realized that Beaufort County was not following South Carolina statute.”
He was referring to Title 40, Chapter 54 in the South Carolina Code of Laws, which governs the practices of precious metals dealers. “There’s a whole list of things [in Chapter 54] that a lot of jewelers didn’t even know. I actively partnered with other jewelers in getting these laws enforced locally. We called our state representative, the state attorney, and what has recently happened is that we now have a special officer in charge of the precious metals market locally; they bring us all in under the umbrella of legality.”

Buying gold is such a significant part of the business that Gem & Jewelry Services will soon open a second location—actually, a new company called JewelryPro.co—to focus on asset liquidation. JewelryPro.co will host gold buying events similar to the gold parties of old, but everything will be done within the Chapter 54 regulations. “It’s our way of doing a hotel buy,” said Graham, “but in accordance with the law.”

The new venture is expected to open in early fall, and will be located in Bluffton’s Plantation Business Park. “But we’re not leaving Port Royal Plaza!” Graham assures his loyal customers. The new company’s purpose is to provide a buying event location that is more centrally located.

“We’ve gone to school for so long to do this,” said Graham, as over 20 gemology degrees and certificates on the shop’s wall will attest, “and we want people to know that this would be the place for asset liquidation.”

Toss that FREE postage-paid mailer aside and give Gem & Jewelry Services a call. The peace of mind is well worth it. Ask for Roscoe.

Gem & Jewelry Services, LLC is located at Port Royal Plaza, 95 Mathews Drive, Suite E9, Hilton Head Island. For more information, call (843) 342-3663.

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