Hartley Jewelers: The Trusted Choice For Appraising, Buying Unwanted Gold In Olympia
And while gold buyers are seemingly everywhere, not all gold buyers are the same.
Just as Hartley Jewelers has been trusted for nearly 50 years by locals looking to buy fine jewelry, they also receive numerous referrals every week for people looking to sell out-of-style, unwanted gold.
“Most of our gold sellers come as referrals from other customers,” says Travis Thornton, Marketing Manager at Hartley Jewelers. “People who sell their unwanted gold to us get a much different experience than with other places. Trust and fairness are important elements of that experience. That’s what they tell us.”
A local resident, Kate Fitzgerald was recently referred to Hartley Jewelers by a friend.
“A friend of mine told me she had taken some jewelry she never wore to Hartley Jewelers and walked out with $300,” says Fitzgerald. “I told her I had a high school graduation ring I didn’t wear anymore and my friend said, ‘Just take it to Hartleys.’”
Fitzgerald didn’t visit Hartley Jewelers right away. But when her niece, to whom she’s very close, was diagnosed with a recurrence of breast cancer, Fitzgerald began planning a cruise with her sister and niece. She remembered her friend’s advice.
“I would sell anything to be able to be with her,” Fitzgerald says. “When you don’t know how long you’re going to have with somebody, that’s it.”
She dug through her jewelry box for things she no longer wore or wanted. “It was just a handful of pieces; it wasn’t that much,” Fitzgerald says. “But I took it to Hartley Jewelers and they were incredible. I got almost $1,700.”
Customers who come to Hartley Jewelers to sell unwanted gold – or simply have it appraised – often work with jeweler Craig Oliver. He has 40 years of experience in the jewelry industry, including formal training at the Gemological Institute of America.
“I’m a fourth generation in the jewelry business,” says Oliver. “I grew up in the jewelry and pawn business, spending 15 years in that with my dad and grandfather. One of my chief tasks during that time was to evaluate and test gold.”
Oliver went on to work many years in regional and district management positions for corporate jewelers before coming to Hartley Jewelers, where he’s been an integral part of their respected team of talented goldsmiths, designers, and jewelers for nearly 15 years.
“Working with Craig was a delight,” says Fitzgerald. “He was just wonderful. He took everything and laid it all out on this paper to show me exactly what it was worth. It was incredible. I’m so glad I found out about them.”
Oliver’s process for appraising gold is precisely the same for every client.
He likes to sit down with them and go through their jewelry to see, item for item, what they have. Then he moves to his workspace, within their sight, and goes through each item individually to determine its gold content – either by testing or visually – and then he weighs it.
“I’ll give them an idea whether the stones have value or not,” Oliver says, “which I think is different from what you’d see at some places, because many people can’t evaluate the value of the stones so they just buy them with the gold.”
Oliver explains that some diamonds are so small and some stones have so little value that the labor cost of removing them is not offset by the resale value of the stone. He feels that the clients should be paid for the stones or have them back if they’d like.
Hartley Jewelers pays between 50 and 70 percent for the gold, which is at or above industry standards.
“A lot of people say they’ve gone to somebody else that said they were paying them 70 percent, but somehow my 50 percent dollars would be higher than their 70 percent dollars,” says Oliver.
He stresses that he does not believe this is because other jewelers are being misleading – he just doesn’t believe the big operators feel they need to take the time to carefully evaluate each piece.
Oliver describes himself as extremely detail-oriented and says he works out to the penny what he believes the gold is worth.
“I’m not the guy who’s using magnets or this or that [to evaluate the gold],” he says. “I use gold tests and files and the tried-and-true methods of determining exactly what someone’s got. I show them the weight, the gold price for the day, and then what the total value is. I then write down what I will pay for it.”
Security is important and Oliver covers all the bases when buying gold from a client. “After I have assessed the value and people have determined what they’d like to sell, I ask them for identification with photograph and then I list every item that I’ve purchased with a photograph of all those items and the weight of each piece.”
He does this for Hartley Jewelers’ own bookkeeping, to be compliant with current laws and to provide customers with a copy so they know exactly what they’ve sold, its weight, and the value they were paid for it.
Oliver regularly helps clients go through jewelry collections to assess value, even if they don’t plan to sell them for gold. For instance, a woman recently came in with 50 or 60 items that had belonged to her mother. She was divvying them up between siblings and needed to know the value of each individual piece.
This is work Oliver can do for a reasonable hourly fee. “When they walk out of there, they know what they’ve got.”
Hartley Jewelers has built a strong trust bond with their clients. Oliver is just one example of a Hartley Jeweler team member who takes the utmost pride in his work – and respect for his clients.
“I’ve always been taught that you want the guy going out the door to feel good enough about his experience that he’s going to tell somebody else to come in,” he says.
That philosophy works phenomenally for Hartley Jewelers and keeps those referrals for gold sellers coming through the door every day.
Free Gold Assessment: