July 2009

Precious Metal

Golden Girls convert your gold to cash
By Christine Van Dusen

No matter how bad the economy, you won’t see Cheri Stephenson dash into a pawnshop to hock possessions for cash. Instead, Stephenson will run into a friend’s house for a party with Golden Girls, an Atlanta-based company that has cohosted more than 800 gold-buying parties in homes across the country since its founding last year. The business—begun by Deanna Brown, Lisa Phoenix, and Ivy Smith—appraises gold, buys it, then sells it to a refinery to be melted down. Golden Girls gives 10 percent of the proceeds to the party’s host and 2.5 percent to a selected charity.

At a recent party, hosted at the home of Tracy Callas on a quiet street off North Druid Hills Road, Stephenson brought in a pair of hoop earrings she’d gotten from an ex-boyfriend in 1992. Three minutes later she was out the door with a modest check. (Turns out the earrings weren’t worth much. Cheap bastard.) With the price of gold at an all-time high, demand for these parties has grown every month. Most draw ten to fifty women who bring Ziploc baggies of old pieces. There’s a lot of dental gold, oddly, and many a bad-memory bracelet or wedding band. At Callas’s party, one woman hoped to make enough to pay for her family’s pool membership. Another needed a new dishwasher, so she brought in a watch from her mother-in-law. (Both got the money they wanted.) Really, though, the main draw here—and the reason folks such as Callas work with Golden Girls instead of hosting their own parties—is the charitable component. Callas picked Ironman for Kids, which raises awareness of chromosomal disorders. “It’s a great way to help a worthy cause,” says Callas, “and a good way to make a little extra money in this economy.”