INSIDE EDITION Investigates Gold Parties

With the price of gold skyrocketing, there's no shortage of places looking to buy your old gold jewelry, and home "gold parties" are all the rage. But how do you know you're getting a good price?  Lisa Guerrero reports on INSIDE

Gold parties are the hottest house gatherings since Tupperware.

You invite your neighbors, and then bring a gold buyer to your home who tests and weighs the gold, and cuts a check on the spot. Fun and convenient. But are you really getting a good price for your gold?

To find out, earlier this year INSIDE EDITION threw our own gold party! We collected gold jewelry from INSIDE EDITION staffers and friends. But before the party began, we had the items appraised by two respected labs in New York City to find out the value of the gold.

While you shouldn't expect to be paid 100 percent of what your gold is worth, experts say you should get least 65 to 85 percent of its value. So what did we find when we held our own gold party?

With hidden cameras rolling, Sharon Sheiman, a representative for a national company called My Gold Party, arrived with an assistant and set up their tools. She said they pay top dollar, and it's even on her business card!

An INSIDE EDITION staffer brought her earrings and a necklace that were appraised by our experts at nearly $700. But after testing and weighing it, the gold rep cut her a check for just $300.

That's less than half its value! We quickly saw a pattern emerging. The payouts averaged just 44 percent of what our experts said the gold is worth. And we noticed something else. She consistently "underkarated" the gold. One partygoer had a ring that was marked 14 karat, (our experts agreed it was) but our gold rep called it 12 karat.

"Why would it say 14 karat on it?" asked the partygoer.

Sheiman said, "Probably about 50 percent of the items we buy are actually a lower karat than what they're marked."

"That's very surprising to me," said the partygoer.

We showed master appraiser Donald Palmieri what we were paid for our gold.

"Wow! That's pretty incredible. That's just unacceptable," said Palmieri.

Back at the party, INSIDE EDITION's Lisa Guerrero told the gold rep she was considering selling a bangle, which our experts had found to be worth around $650. So what would they pay her? The gold reps gave her a price: $303.

Guerrero then revealed that she wasn't really looking to sell and jewelry.

She told the reps, "I'm Lisa Guerrero with INSIDE EDITION and all of the jewelry you've seen tonight has already been appraised. Twice. And we found out that what you are saying the jewelry is worth is about 44 percent of its actual value."

"This is the way I've been doing it all along and these are the numbers I've been given to use," said Sheiman.

She said she was concerned by what we found and that she'd be checking her equipment immediately.

"The last thing I want to be doing is ripping people off," said Sheiman.

As for our partygoers, Guerrero asked one of them what she received from the gold reps.

"$360.36," she responded.

Guerrero revealed to her that her jewelry was actually worth $801.65.

"Wow," the partygoer exclaimed, "That's a big difference."

That gold representative did offer to give our partygoers their gold back. We spoke with the president of My Gold Party who told us she was disappointed by our findings. She told us she suggests gold reps give sellers a higher percentage than what we were given at our party.