Something Gold, Something New

Lei Chic You know it's the thought that counts. But your new guy's new gift says he thought you were an old school rapper.

You pretend to love it. You're really counting the days until you can get the thick gold rope chain with initial medallion (and your disappointment) off your chest and buried in the bottom of your jewelry box. That "junk jewelry" drawer is getting pretty full.

Before you turn your bad bling into ka-ching, you should know your options.

Ring Out the Old
Why: You can't put a price on memories and/or you want to keep your gold green.
What: Melt down your sentimental trinkets into a stylish souvenir.
Some jewelers will rework your pieces into a new custom design. Couples are even starting to create their wedding rings out of donations from family and friends. In addition to saving your keepsake, environmental groups say recycling saves the earth by cutting down the need for damaging mining practices.
What you should know: Recycling will always cost you more than buying new, because old gold needs to be refined back to its purest state. Also, you'll want to avoid mixing karats.
Where to get it done: Kohala Goldsmiths on the Big Island, Philip Rickard at the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center, Designs N Gold in Aiea, The Wedding Ring Shop on Kapiolani Avenue.

14-Karat Cash
Why: You want to quickly and easily turn your baubles into bucks.
What: Sell your unwanted 10K, 14K, 24K and even sterling silver to jewelry stores, wholesalers or brokers. The going rate is based on current market value.
What you should know: Have an idea how much your gold is worth beforehand since the price changes daily. Weigh it in grams, then click here to calculate the total with the current going rate. Experts say get estimates from several places around. And be aware you will always get more in store credit instead of cash. That's because jewelers still have to pay to refine the gold before they work with it.
What to check out: Read this, seven questions a jewelers' association says you should ask before selling.

A Story Worth Reselling
Why: You think your pieces might get more if not sold for scrap
What: Check local jewelry and consignment stores. Or you can join an auction for relationships on the rocks. Josh Opperman started when his fiance left him in the dust, and with a diamond he couldn't return. You'll find all kinds of unwanted pieces, even from people without sad stories. But the site says items with a tale sell faster.
Where to check it out: Click here to see how it works.

Token Donation
Why: You want to turn that bad break up into a good cause.
What: Give your old gold to charity.
Where: The Salvation Army and Goodwill accept fine jewelry. Many other charities do not have a process for dealing with the precious metal. But if you sell it yourself, and give the proceeds away, you can still claim it as a tax deduction.
What you should know: You'll want to get your jewelry appraised beforehand for your filing. Make sure you also get a receipt itemizing each specific item.