Suburban gold-selling parties

The LA Times' Tiffany Hsu reports on people who host Tupperware-style parties where cash strapped people bring their gold jewelry to a house and sell it to an assayer who rakes in a 35% vigorish.

The party Geivet attended at the Aliso Viejo home of Mary-Margaret Fincher is a twist on the old suburban Tupperware party. Here, however, it's the guests who do the selling.

Erin Stevenson, who organized the party through her group My Gold Party CA, appraised the jewelry with assistant Richard Bartoletti as guests debated whether to wear heels or flats during pregnancy.

To test the gold, Stevenson shaved off small flecks with a whirring Dremel tool, blanketing the dark wood of the dining table with a luminous sheen. Later, while Bartoletti peered through a magnifier attached to his eyeglasses, looking for karat stamps on the jewelry, Stevenson weeded out gold impostors with magnets and a special acidic gel.

Fincher, 34, said the parties were popular in her hometown of Atlanta. As the host she gets 10% of what is paid out — which this night was $4,000. One woman walked away with a $1,836.88 check.

Stevenson pays about 65% of the market value, which works out to $5.56 for a gram of 8-karat gold, rising to $15.47 a gram for 22k. She then sells the gold to a refiner for a price just under the market trading price.

Gold fever sweeps suburbia