High gold prices and more awareness of refinery services have led to rising numbers of people recycling old jewellery and gold teeth for cash, according to some in the industry.
Gold prices hit a six month high last week at nearly $1,000 a troy ounce mark on the bullion market, with 9ct gold scrap currently trading at £6.69 per gramme.
MTD Metallurgical managing director Mike Teulon said: Media comment has made people aware of the gold price increase and this is leading to them selling their old gold - companies even advertise on day-time TV for unwanted gold jewellery. MTDs activity has trebled in the last year and had already about trebled from the previous year - this has made for an explosive growth in MTDs purchasing of scrap and in sales of refined precious metals.
Gold parties are also a recent trend, which involve having a refiner visit the customers house where they have invited friends for a party in order to sell off their gold.
G C Metals director Ben Godley said: Gold parties are a recent craze. Some people dont feel comfortable selling their jewellery at a pawn brokers so they prefer gold parties because they are in their own home where they feel comfortable and relaxed and its in front of their friends.
It seems that because of rising prices and the current economic conditions more people are looking at their broken jewellery and cashing it in. Unfortunately, as a sign of the times, we also get a lot of people who have been made redundant or those who are retired selling their unwanted jewellery.
Jeweller H.Samuel has recently launched a cash-for-gold mail service too, offering customers free postage, free valuations and insuring all jewellery to the value of £500. It accepts white, yellow and rose gold jewellery from nine carat up to 22 carat, offering a trustworthy and secure service.
Sheffield Assay Office has even seen a rise in the level of scrap gold coming from dentists in the form of gold teeth. Assay master Ashley Carson said: It really is gold fever at the moment and the price looks set to rise. My advice to people is to make sure they shop around first to get a rough idea of the price before they sell it.
American web-based firm Cash4Gold, which expanded its services to the UK in July experienced more enquiries in the first week in the UK than the first month in the US. Customers post their unwanted gold to the firm, which is then valued and the customer is sent a cheque to cash or they can get their jewellery back if they change their minds.
Director Jeff Aronson believes the rise in jewellery recycling is not down to the recession. He said: Weve found that this service is not used for the recession but because its convenient and easy. In todays hustle and bustle, people just dont seem to have the time they once did.