Owning a broken piece of jewelry unfit for mending sounds like an unworkable situation. "What do you do with it?" asked Gilda's Club South Jersey CEO Michelle Chalmers, sitting at the organization's New Road location in Linwood.

Fortunately for both the cancer support group and the local community, Chalmers had the answer.

On a recent Wednesday night, Gilda's Club held its first cash for gold party, inviting employees and the public to one-on-one appraisals for their unwanted goods - boxes of antiques, silver flatware, clasp-less necklaces, rings in silver and gold, even grandmother's unworn brooches came through the door.

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Sellers, based on the evaluation of their commodity that night, received a cash offer on the spot. In return, American Gold & Diamond Buyer, or AGDB, a company based in East Hanover Township, Morris County, agreed to donate as much as 20 percent to Gilda's Club, based on the total payout.

"It's a win-win for everybody," Chalmers said, adding that she had worked with the buying company in the past.

"They're a reputable company," she said. "They go all over the state to do these fundraisers."

Gilda's Club of South Jersey has offered cancer support services - from bereavement sessions to children's programs - since 2003. The organization relies heavily upon fundraising efforts, whether internally or through third-party arrangements.

"We have to raise every dollar for this organization, and with the competition of Sandy, it's tough," Chalmers said. "And I thought now would actually be a good time because people may need the extra money."

On Jan. 30, nine individuals came to sell, giving the opportunity for visitors unaffiliated with the group the chance to meet its members, tour the facility and learn what it is that they do, Chalmers added.

Egg Harbor Township resident Kim Ludwig appraised that night for ADGB - sorting items piece-by-piece, categorizing by karat or material.

Ludwig's third seller of the night, Adria Light, of Ventnor, sat patiently as her aunt's old jewelry was assessed. After a simple magnet test, medals were rubbed on a black metal slate and its residue was moistened with an acid solution in order to determine its worth.

Light, the program manager for Gilda's Club, referred to her aunt as an antiquer and buyer of stuff. The boxes of jewelry and silver flatware she had acquired from her now had little use, she said.

"I'm always looking for ways to give back to Gilda's Club," Light said. "It was a win-win. I can make some money and Gilda's Club can make some money, so why not?"

Nearly half way through her assessment, Ludwig estimated that Light's items were already worth about $200 to $300. One prior visitor walked away with $500, Ludwig said.

By end of night, Gilda's Club South Jersey received $450 in donations from ADGB, Chalmers said.

"For Gilda's Club, that $450 will pay for two children touched by cancer to attend Camp Sparkle this summer," she said.

To learn more about the Gilda's Club South Jersey or to make a donation, call 609-926-2699 or visit gildasclubsouth


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