SAN ANTONIO -- It's common for people to sell gold when times are tough. That's what Stone Oak Jewelry owner Dan Dement says.
Dement developed a side trade: buying precious metals.
Dement took most of the guess work out of buying precious metals by purchasing an X-Ray Spectrometer. The machine literally looks through metals, telling Dement exactly what they're made of.
We wanted to find out whether San Antonio gold buyers are giving sellers a fair shake.
Dement loaned KENS 5 a bag of gold jewelry weighing roughly 122 grams. He also included a melted down 99.99% pure gold ingot.
We subsequently sent KENS 5 producers to seven area precious metal buyers to find out how much they would offer. At each location, almost every piece of jewelry was checked to determine whether it was real gold.
The exercise proved enriching as we learned how buyers determine the carat quality of gold. Specifically, buyers lightly scratched each piece and then poured specific concentrations of acid over the gold. Depending on what carat it was, the metal would turn certain shades of darkness.
The best part: six of the seven buyers offered similar amounts, ranging from $3400 to $4100.
Upon returning the gold to Dement, he melted them down and tested the pieces with his Spectrometer. It turns out that the real value of the gold in our sample, according to market price, was $5040.