Gold party: Thar's gold in that there cheap necklace

Remember the 80s? Gold was about $300 an ounce and every little girl had some pretty little flimsy gold jewelry. The way I remember it, my aunts and uncles' default all-occasion gift was a little locket or pendant. I was not a fussy little girl, and I often ended up with tangles of fragile gold chains in a pretty box.

If I'm to believe the people behind My Gold Party, I should run, not walk, to my parents' house and unearth that pretty box and its handfuls of tangled Christmas and birthday gifts. The idea: you buy a kit from the web site, only $699.50 (!!!) will get you a digital scale, a gold tester (the "GXL-24 Pro evaluates the gold karatage in the common 6 to 24 karat range used in the jewelry industry. This will assist you in determining the gold purity"), the My Gold Party book. Oh, and a magnification loupe, so you can feel like a real pawn shop owner.

With gold at $1,000 per ounce, it seems like such an obvious concept: melt the once-cheap and broken stuff down, get cash. But it turns out you don't have to throw a party or use vastly expensive equipment to weigh your scrap jewelry down; a competing gold recycling service, Gold Kit, will send you an envelope for free -- according to the web site, they'll send you a check immediately.

There's no telling which of these services provides you the better value for your junky jewelry ounce. But I'm leery of any money-making concept with that much sparkle and upfront cost. Books should not cost $59.50, unless they're text books, and we all know why those are so expensive. If you think the concept of having a party where everyone makes money is great, by all means, gather your friends together and have 'em bring their gold, grab a kitchen scale and have someone take the result to a refinery. But this just makes way more sense as a simple act of recycling than a shindig. [Update: Tom Barlow has a great set of considerations before you sell your gold.]

Or you could get a pickup truck and go around the neighborhood picking up scrap metal, like my husband's friend, Jose. It's not nearly so glamorous, but I bet you'd make just as much money.

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