Lake Forest jeweler gets rush on gold for cash
LAKE FOREST - A South County jeweler can't take in gold and precious metals fast enough.Since last year the Jewelry Box - a longtime jeweler in Lake Forest - has seen an almost 300 percent increase in the amount of gold, silver and sterling brought in by customers for cash. Customers are bringing in broken necklaces, single earrings, diamond tennis bracelets and estate jewelry. Recently even a set of dentures lined in gold was brought to the store. Silver flatware and holloware is also taken.Gold is valued by the London PM Gold fix which today is valued at $928 per ounce for 24 Karat gold. Most customers are very happy with the return, said store co-owner Jack Levenson."We started doing this in 2007 but now it's exploded," said Levenson. "It had nothing to do with the economy then. Now it has everything to do with it. People are forced to give it up now because it helps them pay the rent or buy a medical prescription."A recent visit to the store was from a man in his 50s. He held out his hand showing a simple gold band."This is all I have left," he said. "What can I get for it."The man told Levenson that he'd been unemployed for 13 months from a job where he'd been paid almost $100,000. He sent out 1,000 resumes, had 40 interviews and got close a few times. But now he was at the end of his cash.When Levenson asked the man if his address was still current, the man answered "for a few more weeks." The man got $100 for his ring.Kathy Sieben, of Lake Forest, has visited the jewelry store several times bringing in gold for cash. She got $900 for an assortment of pieces including a 14 Karat watch. Now she will use that money to pay off credit card bills.On Friday she was there again - on a mission for a friend. She had a 10 Karat bracelet, a pearl necklace, some pendants and earrings. It was all stuff her friend didn't wear. She told Sieben, she hoped to get at least $200 to $300.Levenson weighed it all - it turned out to be $325.Most of the precious metals are melted down and used to make new jewelry. But some designer pieces or heirlooms are too beautiful. Those are refurbished and sold at the store as "previously enjoyed pieces."By ERIKA I. RITCHIETHE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTERContact the writer: 949-454-7307 or