No matter how educated an individual may be in their own fields, most are totally uninformed about how Massachusetts pawn shops work. The Ivy League scientist who invents life changing technology knows nothing about the workings of a pawn shop. The high powered female executive who operates her own business with confidence and skill is unfamiliar with our business. The uninitiated wonder where all or our beautiful unique jewelry comes from. Why is it often one-of-a-kind? The reason for that is that very often the gold, silver and gems of our jewelry are “recycled” – that is, made from another piece of jewelry to create a new piece.
For centuries, people have mined the earth for gold, diamond, silver and other precious metals and gemstones to use in the manufacture of jewelry. There are places on earth that are known specifically for certain types of gemstones or precious metals and companies that literally dig up these materials to create the original piece of jewelry. But the other process that has been going on for centuries is the recycling of these precious metals and gemstones to be reused over and over again.
Metals such as gold, silver and platinum are melted down into bars that manufacturers use to make new jewelry. At a pawn shop like Empire Loan, we often buy damaged or out-of-date jewelry. These pieces are sent to a refinery that will melt it down and sell it to a manufacturer to be reused. As the price of gold and silver rose over the past 10 years, it became more and more popular for people to gather up old scrap jewelry like broken chains and loose earrings and sell them for cash. It’s funny to think that the broken chain you sold a year ago could still be part of the earrings you just bought.
The same thing applies to diamonds and other gemstones. Diamonds in particular are easy to reuse because you can take a lot of smaller ones and put them together to make a new item like a bracelet or ring. When people bring in their gold to sell, we remove the diamonds and sell them to wholesalers before we melt down the gold. Wholesalers then sell the stones to a manufacturer to be used over again. Color stones are a little more challenging because the manufacturer usually needs only a certain number of stones in a particular shape or size, making them less valuable to a gold and diamond buyer like Empire Loan.
The lesson here is that while your jewelry may not live forever, your gold and diamonds just may be enjoying an afterlife – “reincarnated” in another form!