We are two weeks in to our stay-at-home fun! I'm sure by now everyone has cleaned out their linen closet, junk drawers and closets. Now it's time to take on that jewelry box! If it looks anything like mine its a messy combination of beautiful fine jewelry, fashion or costume jewelry, homemade masterpieces that maybe include some broken painted noodles, and some items I'm not sure where they came from. Something that you think is worth nothing could be worth thousands, while some pieces you think are worth a lot are worth nothing. And of course we all know that there are some sentimental pieces that no matter the actual dollar value are priceless.
Have some things you want to sell? First decide if they have value. If you are unsure we have more advanced ways to tell in the store and are always willing to take a look and let you know. So you might ask - how do I know if my jewelry is real or costume?
There are several things you can look for at home to get a good start:
1. LOOK FOR HALLMARKS
One of the first things you can do when you acquire a new piece of jewelry is to look for hallmarks. One hallmark will generally tell us the metal content of a piece, and the other (if there is another) will tell us either the country of origin, designer, or manufacturer. These markings are usually located on the clasp of a necklace, the inside of a ring or bracelet, or the post of an earring. Unless the item is over 100 years old or the hallmark has worn off, all fine jewelry should have some type of hallmark and you may need a pair of readers or a jewelers loop to see it. Here are some common fineness stamps for precious metals:
- Gold: 22K, 18K, 14K, 10K, 916, 750, 585, 375
- Platinum: 950, 900, PLATINUM, PLAT
- Silver: 925, 800, silver, sterling
2. LOOK FOR WEARING
Fake chains feel fake. Solid gold jewelry is very smooth, heavy and consistent throughout. For instance, if you have a gold colored chain that has a darker color or even a silvery color showing through on parts that see heavy wear, this is likely a gold plated chain and not very valuable. When solid gold or platinum jewelry wears down, the part showing through should still be the same color. However, this is not the case for white gold.
The longer and heavier your gold or platinum jewelry is, generally the more valuable it is - as long as it is actually made of precious metals. This is not fool proof because there are many metal out there that are heavy.
3. TRY THE MAGNET TEST
Genuine gold will not attract a magnet. The magnetic test is the most convenient and portable test for genuine gold. The stronger the magnet, the better the test results. Imitation gold and other alloys will attract the magnet. Jewelry can appear to be gold, when in fact the surface is simply gold in appearance.
Sterling silver will not attract the magnet either. he most common alloy used to harden the silver is copper, which is not magnet either. Also note that sometimes silver items - say bought from a vendor on the beach during your last vacation - may be marked with the 925 hallmark but will fail the magnet test - these items are marked falsely and are most likely made of another metal. Probably super cute though!
Note: Often times, a clasp can be made of a different material that may be magnetic - so be sure to check both the clasp and the chain.
4. INSPECT THE PRONGS
If your jewelry has any kind of stone in it a good way to tell the quality is to look closely at the prongs. Some higher quality costume jewelry uses prongs just like in fine jewelry, but a lot of the stones are glued into place. If you have a cameo that looks like it is glued into the setting with no prongs holding it in, this is likely costume jewelry and not valuable. Fine jewelry will be well crafted, with each stone set in an intricate bezel or prong setting, pearls being one of the only exceptions.
5. CONSULT AN EXPERT
If you come up with some pieces that you're unsure about it is always best to consult an expert! We have more advanced ways of testing the pieces to know if they are real or costume. Bring them in and we will be happy to have a look.
Did you come up with some pieces you'd like to have evaluated for sale? You can book an appointment with us online now for when the doors open back up!