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  • Writer's pictureMeade Murphy


Gold, for thousands of years proclaimed the wearer’s wealth and social status.

Gold has been mankind’s most precious metal since the time of ancient Egypt. People love to wear it and it fills the need for self adornment.

“One of the most expensive pieces I have fully restored is an 18th century Spanish Empire writing bureau with gold plated handles.

In the antique trade, we have all the gold jewellery items such as rings, pendants, brooches, bracelets, and chains. There are gold-plated ormolu mounts on French pier cabinets, gold-plated chandeliers, door handles, taps etc. Buying and selling scrap gold on weight has been a major part of our trade for many years. I used to watch my father pull the works out of broken fob watches to scrap the case. He would also pull the jewels out of old, unfashionable brooches just to scrap the setting. Dad would put all the scrap in a shoe box, wrap a whole role of sticky tape around it, and post it off to the Perth mint.

Gold has been viewed as a great store of value and has provided good returns for investors. When buying gold you first need to know its carat value. 24-carat gold is 99.9% pure gold. 22-carat gold is investment-grade gold. Used in gold coins such as gold sovereigns and bullions, it is 91.67% gold. 18-carat gold is 18 parts pure gold, with the balance of six parts consisting of other alloys and base metals. 18 carats is 75% pure gold—this is the preferred purity of gold used by jewellers, as it can withstand daily wear and tear. 18-carat gold also has a warm, yellow shine and is great for manufacturing wedding rings. 14-carat gold is only 58% pure, and 10 carats is only 41.7% gold. 9 carats is the lowest and cheapest option to have any jewellery made.

One of the most expensive pieces I have fully restored is an 18th century Spanish Empire writing bureau with gold plated handles, which sold for $60,000. Gold has always been the “icing on the cake” on high-end furniture. Gold has also been high on the agenda of criminals for centuries. The Vikings plundered England for their gold. Pirates plundered the seas for gold. Gold has always been easily transportable - high value for criminals to this day. Gold does not rot like money, can’t be smelt by a sniffer dog, can be used to launder money by criminals, and there is no GST on scrap gold.

One thing I learned about gold when I worked for the Brisbane Antique Market is that gold attracts break-and-enters and armed robberies, so I have never dealt with either it or jewellery. The best advice I can give is to photograph/record all of your jewellery and get an insurance valuation. Also, buy a safe and DynaBolt it to a concrete slab in your home or office.


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