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Bizarre gold rush in North Walsham

PUBLISHED: 15:58 12 March 2008 | UPDATED: 08:52 13 July 2010

The fact there is a modern day gold rush under way is now well established - but for one Norfolk jeweller it is having a rather surprising result.

As rising prices of precious metals, perhaps most notably gold, lead to increased levels of trading on the international markets, there are also local and unexpected effects.

The fact there is a modern day gold rush under way is now well established - but for one Norfolk jeweller it is having a rather surprising result.

As rising prices of precious metals, perhaps most notably gold, lead to increased levels of trading on the international markets, there are also local and unexpected effects.

Jewellers are being forced to reappraise their prices at least every week, with the subsequent hikes having various consequences, such as less expensive palladium rings becoming more popular.

But for pawnbroker and jeweller Chris Smith, the upsurge in interest in gold has had one very remarkable result - a significant increase in the number of gold teeth being brought into his North Walsham business.

In a career spanning the best part of 20 years, Mr Smith had only seen one gold tooth before the latest rise in gold activity.

But in the past month he has had four people come into his Market Place shop ready to sell their gold teeth.

None of them have been attached to their jaws, but appear to be “second hand”, said Mr Smith.

“I have put a couple of signs up explaining to people that now is an excellent time to sell unwanted scrap gold because prices are at their highest for many years.

“We have had quite a response to that, but the number of teeth has come as quite some surprise and has caused me a fair amount of amusement. “The first one was a bit of a surprise, when the second one came in I thought it was a bizarre coincidence - and since then two more have turned up.

“I ran a similar business in Bungay for 12 years and saw one gold tooth, so see four in such a short space of time is quite a surprise.”

One of the teeth caps was still attached to the original tooth and root, said Mr Smith.

“It is all down to economic climate and the credit crunch. Investors are turning to gold because it is a suitable investment in this current climate,” said Mr Smith.

Gold teeth can fetch differing amounts according to their weight, but prices were typically £10 to £20.

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