Inventory of jewelry increasing at local pawn shops

All that glitters is not needed

Larry Bruner, owner of Big J Jewelry and Loan, adjusts a necklace for display in his jewelry case. Bruner said he is seeing his inventory of jewelry increase as people pawn their gold, turquoise, diamonds and silver. He has also seen an increase in people pawning musical instruments, he said.



With the economy flailing, operators of some local pawn shops are receiving an influx of jewelry as diamonds and gold become unnecessary luxuries.

“Jewelry merchandise has been increasing on a gradual regular basis,” said Larry Bruner, owner of pawnbroker Big J Jewelry & Loan in Grand Junction, where he has seen about a 10 to 15 percent increase in the amount of jewelry coming in. “When everyone else started experiencing the recession and they wouldn’t call it a recession, it was really on its way.”

Turquoise, diamonds and Black Hills gold and silver have been pouring into several jewelry shops at a rate of anywhere between 10 and 30 percent more than area pawnbrokers are used to seeing.

“Food or gas comes first, and jewelry is down the list as far as survival,” Bruner said. “I’m seeing more people starting to lose their jobs, either because of the housing market or something else. The guys will come in, and they just lost a job or they’re starting a new one, so they’re waiting for payday. They just need cash to be able to drive and for things to sustain them. It’s more of a survival for the next week or two until the paycheck goes through. While a lot of them try to come back for it, we are seeing a lot of people turn their jewelry in for sale.”

“It’s not just the guys. It’s also the ladies trying to keep the household going, too.” 

Zane Thompson, owner of ABC Pawn, 2720 U.S. Highway 50, said she had seen jewelry being pawned at a rate about 30 percent more than normal.

“Most people don’t necessarily want to let it go, but it’s a good way to get some fast cash, for whatever reason,” Bruner said.

In the pawn business, people bring merchandise in, and the shop writes out a 30-day cash loan. If pawners come back in 30 days, they pay the principal plus the interest to take back the merchandise, or they can extend the loan for another 30 days by paying just the interest, said
James McClurg of Mesa Pawn & Loan Inc., 225 S. Second St. If they don’t come back in 30 days, the merchandise is put out on a shelf to sell.

McClurg said he has seen a higher volume of jewelry come in during the last month. While the volume is up, the quality of the jewelry is the same, and normally comes in the form of necklaces and wedding rings, he said.

“I really don’t think the (Grand) Valley’s been impacted as hard as the rest of the country, but it is noticeable,” Bruner said.

Cash America, which is the nation’s largest pawnbroker with 480 shops in 22 states, reported at the end of the second quarter that 71 percent of its inventory was jewelry, according to a CNBC report.


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