That’s just what I did when my editor asked me to write an article about Gold Buyers In Paradise, which opened its Maui store last April. (There is also a store on O‘ahu.)
“I know this is just worthless junk,” I said, after introducing myself to Manager Jaime Barut, as I laid out my hodgepodge stash on her desk.
“Oh, I wish I had a camera to take a picture of your face afterwards,” she said, as she began to assess the individual pieces—single earrings, an old watch, broken necklaces and chains, pins, bracelets and rings I haven’t worn in decades.
Gold Buyers In Paradise Manager Jaime Barut tests gold jewelry for carat weight.
The first thing Jamie did was sweep a small, but mighty magnet over the little heap of old jewelry I’d laid out. Wham! Pieces flew to it!
“We use the magnet to detect what isn’t gold,” Jaime said. “If it sticks to the magnet, it’s not gold. If it doesn’t stick to the magnet, it might be gold.”
After a pass over my pile of treasure, the magnet looked like a crazy, decked-out Christmas tree.
But wait! Some of my attractive treasures were not attracted to the magnet, remaining unmoved by the invisible force. Those pieces required further testing, said Jaime.
If you’ve ever experienced an ultrasound, you’ll be able to picture what followed next. Jaime held a cigar shaped instrument while dabbing a tiny bit of gel on its pointed tip. Thin wires connect the instrument to a Geiger counter-looking machine about the size of a small calculator.
She placed the gelled tip of the instrument against the piece of jewelry and tapped a few keys on the machine’s keyboard. I waited with bated breath.
“Its 14-carat,” she declared.
She repeated the same test on the rest of my pieces. At that day’s rate of $24 per gram for 14-carat gold and $12 per gram for 10-carat, my little collection of “junk,” including some silver pieces at 60 cents per gram, netted me over $500!
“With silver, the magnet has a small drag, but what we look for is a marking on it somewhere that says either ‘925’ or ‘sterling,’” Jaime said.
She can also conduct an acid test to determine if an item is sterling silver.
“We not only buy gold, but we also buy Rolex watches, platinum, sterling silverware, platters, plates and jewelry,” she said. “And diamonds, too, if they’re a quarter-carat or more,” she added.
Jaime said Gold Buyers In Paradise will match or beat any price offered on Maui.
“We get a lot of referrals from customers who have used us,” Jaime said. “They appreciate our service and the fact that everything is tested right in front of them. We don’t go into a back room to do the testing. They see us do it and we explain what we are doing,” she said.
That surely was the case with me. I watched the dial spring past the magic number authenticating the carat count of each piece as Jaime explained the process to me.
“I love my job, “Jaime said. “I love being able to talk story with customers. There are so many interesting stories people tell about their pieces. Some of them are funny and some are so touching.”
She said one man came into the store recently with a gold chain saying he was just wondering what it would bring if he sold it.
“After I checked it with the electronic machine and determined its carats and value, he slapped the desk and shouted, ‘You gotta be kidding me!’” Jaime said. “He was so happy!”
With all the gold, silver and diamonds passing through Gold Buyers In Paradise, I had some questions regarding safety. Jaime said it’s extremely well protected with cameras, patrols, finger printing and other security precautions.
Two buyers are usually on staff at any one time. Jaime, Cerise, Emma and John make up the crew, and every transaction is handled with confidentiality and discretion.
Located at 65 West Ka‘ahumanu Ave., next to Ichiban Restaurant in the old Kahului Shopping Center, Gold Buyers In Paradise is open seven days a week: Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.