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'Gold parties' offer golden opportunities

July 10, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
It's a kind of modern day gold rush: Cash-strapped Southern Californians are raiding their jewelry boxes in search of heirlooms to melt down. And it's all thanks to the surging price of gold. Here is how people are cashing in with "gold parties."Suzanne Toten sees this "gold party" in Huntington Harbor as a golden opportunity to get rid of bad memories.

"There are lots of pieces here from my ex-husband," said Suzanne Toten. "So I don't need it anymore."

"Eight-hundred-thirty-four dollars! Maybe we should go to Vegas tonight. It is my lucky night!" said Toten.

At gold parties like these, there's wine, cheese and lots of old gold.

"You have a party and tell everyone to bring their scrap gold," said Erin Stevenson, My Gold Party of California. "So old stuff from the '70s and '80s, outdated, broken, one missing earring."

Erin Stevenson of "my gold party of california" tests each piece of gold to see what karat it is, she weighs it, and then cuts a check based on the price of gold that day.

Next stop? A refinery where it's melted down and recycled.

"It's just a way to stimulate the economy in a different way," said Stevenson. "But it's gas, it's food money right now for a lot of people."

The price of gold has tripled since 2001.

In March, it reached a record high of more than a thousand dollars per ounce. Since then it's back in the $900 range.

Still enough to convince these partygoers to part with their unwanted jewelry.

"I'm going to run home and run through my old jewelry box really quick and find myself some gold, like I said especially the old wedding band, and come back and trade it in," sais Cynthia Wityak. "Get rid of the old husband, you're done with it, get rid of the jewelry to go with it!"

Minutes later ... "I raided the jewelry box," said Wityak. "I didn't realize how much stuff I had in my jewelry box."

Mary Hellenbrand dug up some old knotted up chains and the ring from her husband's first marriage.

"Oh good, really good for me. I think good for him too. He said go ahead and take it!" said Mary Hellenbrand.

Of course, much of this newfound money could be headed straight into the gas tank.

"One-hundred fifty-eight dollars to me equates to two full tanks of gas and that's a road trip," said Penny Nichol.s

"Sixty-six dollars!" said Betsy Pedley. "Yeah, a tank of gas! No -- dinner, something fun!"

"He asked the dentist for the gold back, which was quite savvy for my dad at 83," said Leisa Johnson.

As for Cynthia Wityak?

"Oh my gosh! That is amazing! I can't believe that. Just for stuff that's been sitting in my jewelry box for 15-20 years now," said Wityak.

She's going home with a check for $465. "Woo hoo! I'm going shopping tomorrow. Bye!" said Wityak.

For more information, contact:
Erin Stevenson
My Gold Party of California
(562) 665-0480
mygoldparty@yahoo.com

www.mygoldparty.com


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