Gold Buying Parties

Remember those old Tupperware parties. They’ve gone gold, even platinum.

Given today’s gold prices and a troubled economy, Gold Buying Parties are the latest way for jewelers to take in old gold. On Facebook Joshua Halpern, vice president of Albert’s Diamond Jewelers, let it be known that in his Schererville, IN, market he welcomes Gold Buying Parties of any size.

Halpern credits the Gold Buying Parties idea to John Jackson, a retailing peer who is a fellow member of Business Resource Services’ FIT Performance Group, a group of jewelers who meet twice a year to discuss their business and to share ideas on how to be better retail jewelers. Jackson also works at Albert Smyth Jewelers and brought the Gold Buying Parties idea to one of BRS’s biannual meeting of the retail minds in 2008.

Halpern picked up on the idea last year and threw his store’s first gold buying parties in fall 2008. Since then he and his staff have helped organize 35-40 such gold parties. “It all started small, with family, then friends, staff members and then their family and friends, and the whole thing has caught on with churches, businesses and other groups,” says Halpern. 

Joshua Halpern, vice president of Albert's Diamond Jewelers.
Joshua Halpern, vice president of Albert’s Diamond Jewelers.

The concept is pretty simple. Someone in Halpern’s market contacts the store and asks to host a gold buying party. A staffer from the store attends the party and cuts a check or gives a store credit on the spot for 10K, 14K, 18K, and platinum (Halpern and his staff do not buy silver, steel, titanium, tungsten, or any jewelry that is gold plated or gold filled).

“We give about 10 percent above the average when taking in gold, so it’s a pretty good deal,” says Halpern. “Factor in much of the jewelry was purchased in the 1980’s, so they’re already getting three times what they paid for their gold over 20 years ago. At the end of the day, it’s a fair exchange.”

When the gold buying party ends, the host gets a check for 10 percent of the party’s take-in amount. (A $5,000 party earns the party host a $500 check.) Not bad for a night’s work.

In today’s soft buying environment, Halpern likes that he continues to build his client base. Each gold buying party adds names to his store’s database. And, “today’s gold-selling customer is tomorrow’s cash-buying customer,” says Halpern.

Another benefit to the gold buying parties is Halpern’s estate jewelry display. He doesn’t simply drop everything on the refiner’s scale and walks away with a check in hand, although he does refine a lion’s share of the gold.

What isn’t melted down is reserved for the estate jewelry display, which has become a hot profit center for Halpern’s store. He even amuses himself by putting some of the larger, gaudier pieces of purchased gold jewelry in the estate jewelry display, just to see if they sell.

“We literally have people coming in every week just to see what’s new in the estate jewelry case,” says Halpern. “I can’t believe some of the items people are buying.”

Although Halpern has some harmless fun watching certain pieces go out the door, the estate jewelry counter is helping his store in a serious way. “Sales for estate jewelry are up 300 percent over last year,” says Halpern. “Other areas of my business are hurting, but profits realized on these estate jewelry sales are helping to balance things a bit during the current economic downturn.”