5 Minutes: Chad Clark Turns Your Broken, Unwanted Jewelry into Cash During this 21st Century Gold Rush
By: Donna J. Tuttle – San Antonio Business Journal – With gas prices rising and salaries frozen, a little extra cash never hurt anyone. Grab that gold chain from the 1980s, the ring from the ex-boyfriend or that gaudy 20-year anniversary company watch, and get thee to a gold buyer.
Chad Clark, owner of the San Antonio-based C.D. Clark & Co. Gold Buyers, says his company — which operates eight stores in six markets — is going like gangbusters. He expects to open another five to 10 stores in Texas within the next 12 months.
Clark’s anchor store is located in North Star Mall, and he prides himself on the firm’s “upscale, private settings” and a relationship with clients that are “based on respect.”
Q: What is the going price for gold right now? What percentage do you pay to sellers?
A: Gold is $1,553.05 per ounce as of today. If an item doesn’t need to be refined such as a gold coin, we have paid upwards of 99 percent of spot rate for such items. It just depends on what a customer has. We pay one of, if not the highest, percentages to customers within our industry and still manage to offer a luxury atmosphere and environment for our customers. We accomplish this by investing in an upscale location, yet we carry a very low corporate overhead. Our huge volume of metals purchasing has helped us stay extremely competitive.
Q: Talk about how busy C.D. Clark & Co. has been in the last year.
A: C.D. Clark & Co. has experienced tremendous growth over the last year. Our company has seen an increase in business in all our markets. One of the biggest reasons for our growth is our customer retention. A huge percentage of our business is repeat and referral driven. We attribute this to our excellent customer service and fair treatment.
Q: What types of gold items do you purchase? What don’t you purchase?
A: We purchase basically ANYTHING that is gold — such as scrap jewelry necklaces, rings, earrings, bracelets, watches, dental, bullion coins, etc. We do also purchase these same items in silver, platinum, and even palladium. Not to leave out high-end timepieces, flatware, serving pieces and large diamonds which need to be a 1.00 carat or larger. However, there are pieces in which they will be gold plated, gold electroplated, or gold filled. And these fall in the category of what we don’t purchase. (Same for other precious metals.)
Q: How do you test the purity of the gold?
A: We have several methods to test the purity or assay of the gold we purchase. The most common and efficient way is utilizing the scratch test method. This is a simple process that DOES NOT harm the jewelry. First, the items are inspected for karat markings. Then the item is rubbed along a black acid testing stone. The item being tested will leave a gold marking and residue. A drop of the appropriate karat acid is placed on the marking. After a few seconds, the marking should remain on the acid testing stone without fading or disappearing. If it does fade, a different karat acid is used on a new marking.
Q: Biggest mistake customers make when trying to sell their gold?
A: The biggest mistake is not shopping around. On our TV commercials, I go as far as saying: Get two opinions before selling if you are a first-time seller. Our staff is fully trained and we encourage first-time customers to get their best quote, and we will beat it! Occasionally we get customers who think we will buy their items for more than what they paid from a retailer. The consumer needs to understand that retail stores have a one-to-five time profit margin over actual cost.
Q: Any trends you’re predicting in the next year?
A: The only trends we are predicting from a corporate perspective is that precious metals will continue to see an upward rise. Many economy-driven factors substantiate our “predictions” such as the hedging of inflation and devaluation of the dollar. From a retail perspective, we anticipate an upward trend. As gold prices increase, more people will continue to sell.