Unfortunately, bullion counterfeit activity is just as strong as ever. Sometimes, a standard assay is enough to reveal fake bullion for what it is. But sometimes, if a counterfeiter is especially skilled, even experienced bullion buyers can be fooled. Aside from using common sense, use these tips to avoid buying fake bullion products:
Know the bullion dealer’s reputation – Before you buy, check the seller’s references and make sure they are an authorized dealer. In most cases, an Internet search can get you the information you need. Generally, bigger brands have established reputations and provide authentication with purchase.
Read certificates of authenticity – Most folks just stash authenticity documents away with the bullion, but if you’re serious about avoiding counterfeits, you should read them. A cautionary tale: just a few years ago, some refining companies were caught forging assay reports. These reports stated they were from a well-known assayer here in the Diamond District, but an original report was scanned and modified to create their fake reports. These reports were for scrap gold bars, not pure gold. However, this could easily been done for bullion as well. At MGS, the gold bars we sell are sealed, certified, and labeled with a serial number and QR code for authentication purposes.
Ask about counterfeit proofing methods – Even legitimate bullion sellers can fall prey to counterfeiters. Ask about how they prevent fake bullion products from entering their inventories.
Compare with originals – If you can, compare the bullion you’re planning to buy with a certified original. Comparing the two (even just pictures of them) can reveal inconsistencies if the piece in question is counterfeit.
Test diligently – Utilize professional assaying services, especially for bulk purchases. If at all possible, have the bullion assayed before your payment clears. That way, you can cancel it if necessary. Don’t forget, if you’re investing in the piece’s metal value, and not collectable value, then there is no need to maintain complex packaging.
At MGS, we are well aware of the personal dangers of working with precious metals. And we’re not talking about dealing with scammers or heavy equipment, but the risk of robbery. Jewelers, with lots of obviously-high-value products, are particularly at risk. Below, we’ve compiled a few safety and security ideas for jewelers – or anyone working or trading in precious metals.
Many experienced jewelers already know, but it bears repeating. Keep a detailed inventory list of all your completed pieces, as well works-in-progress and raw materials (like casting grains). Make sure everything is locked up at night in a class TL-30 safe (or better). When receiving new materials or inventory, have them delivered requesting a specific person to receive the package and never label anything with jewelry, gold, diamond and etc. For example, we tell our customers to write Manhattan G & S, when shipping packages to us.
When transporting jewelry or materials, use plain-looking or non-descript luggage. Backpacks in particular work great because they are always being worn. If you’re passing through airport security, you can request a private screening to keep all the other passengers from getting a look at your wares. At shows or expos, vigilance is key. Bring plenty of trusted help, keep a close eye on your displays, and make sure everything is inventoried and locked up at night. Always a safe rule to follow is to show one item at a time, from the showcase.
Most importantly, you should have an insurance policy in place just in case something does happen. A good jewelry insurance company will not only reimburse you in the event of theft, they’ll help to prevent it in the first place with training programs, publications, expert advice, on-site assessments, and way more information than what we’ve covered here. Be smart, and stay safe everyone!
Supply is a driving factor in determining the price of gold and gold recycling activity. Mines from all over the world fuel this supply, but their haul varies from year to year. According to Thomson Reuters Gold Field Mining Services, there are more than 170,000 metric tons of gold in circulation around the world. However, 100% accurate estimates of gold aren’t possible, since several countries don’t publish the size of their official reserves. On top of that, there is also unaccounted gold from pre-history and illegal/undocumented mining operations – so we may never know exactly how much gold has ever been refined or is currently in circulation.
But, we may know how much gold is left. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, there is still approximately 52,000 tons (worth more than $2,000,000,000,000) of gold still left to be mined. Also according to the U.S. Geological Survey, last year’s worldwide gold production totaled 2,860 tons, which was about 2% better than 2013. The total amount of recycled gold was about 200 tons. A big contribution to both totals came from China, which has seen unprecedented gold demand in recent years. Hopefully, 2015 will be even more productive for both refiners and miners! Check out the infographic below to see estimates of worldwide gold production.