picture of a jewelry box

 

How to recognize the valuable jewelry in your jewelry box

 

Let’s start with a question: are you sure you really know the value of all the jewels you have in the jewelry box?

Because it often happens that among the family jewels and those they gave you there are some pieces of which you do not yet know the true value.

Knowing how to recognize it could be a really pleasant surprise.

A tip: never be fooled by appearances. There are jewels studded with stones or diamonds that are worth nothing and apparently simple objects that can be worth thousands of euros.

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Even if the sentimental value of a jewel is priceless, in this article we will try to give you some parameters to understand if the jewels you keep in your jewelry box have more or less value than you thought.

Look for a unique feature

The first thing you need to look for are the characteristics that help define and distinguish your jewel. 

Let’s start from the base: the label where the price was probably marked generally has the specifications of the metal with which the jewel is made, the carats, color and purity of the diamonds listed above.

Other clues that help define the value of your jewelry can usually be found on the inside of a ring or bracelet, on the pin of an earring or on the clasp of a necklace.

For example:

  • the signature of a designer or the brand logo;
  • the country of origin;
  • a number that specifies a limited edition.

Unless time and wear have consumed them, generally every jewel has a sort of signature that helps us identify it. Especially on precious metals, you should find such nomenclatures:

    • Gold: 22K, 18K, 14K, 10K, 916, 750, 585, 375
    • Platinum: 950, 900, PLATINUM, PLAT
    • Silver: 925, 800, silver, sterling

Many jewelry houses, especially collectible ones such as Tiffany or Van Cleef & Arpels, include a certificate in the jewelry packaging: in these cases the first thing to do is to have the authenticity of the certificate itself assessed. However, always remember that there are an infinite number of brands and distinctive signs with which designers and manufacturers mark their creations.

Identify the material with which the jewel is made

Among the materials that have a certain value there are certainly gold and platinum. Their value is determined by the percentage content and above all by the weight.

Any eventual diamonds and semi-precious stones, on the other hand, if authentic, follow the current market value.

When we talk about costume jewelery, most of the pieces have an insignificant value from the point of view of the materials, but there are other subjective factors that could influence their value, such as: who is the manufacturer, the age of the jewel or its design. The matter of the material becomes relevant when you find yourself having to evaluate objects such as chains and bracelets. As we have just said above, in this case the weight factor also comes into play, in fact gold and silver are heavier metals than non-precious metals such as brass and pewter.

An example? If you are faced with two similar gold chains, but with very different weights, it is likely that one of yours is fake or made of empty gold links.

Plated or solid? Gold and silver in jewelry typically come in the form of plating on a base (non-precious) metal such as copper, aluminum, or brass. How to recognize the plating? Simple. If you see a darker or silvery color appear on some parts of the surface of a gold chain, most likely you will find yourself in front of a gold-plated chain. Conversely, when solid gold or platinum jewelry wears out, the part affected by the wear should still remain the same original color.

Not all gems are the same

Let’s now turn to the stones. Those to keep an eye on are definitely stones with good transparency and strong and bright colors. The first detail that can make the difference is certainly the cuts: we can say with certainty that the more modern ones are very precise and clear-cut, while the older cuts can be less symmetrical and defined. Also, if you want to understand the value of your jewel, one thing to check is the setting. Are they glued stones or are they set? The fine jewelry is well crafted, with each stone set in different techniques. Look carefully behind the stone as well, as the best jewelry should always have an excellent finish in every detail of the piece.

Some pieces of costume jewelry, especially those of higher quality, use the same tips for the processing of the finest jewelry. And it is precisely in these cases that the weight, the distinctive signs and the examination of the finish come into play, all elements that, as we have already explained, can help shed light on the true identity of a jewel.

Consult an Expert

Chances are good that your jewelry box contains jewelry that has been passed down and added over the years – so it’s also likely that it contains pieces that no longer meet your tastes or are out of style. We know that fashions change, but remember that even a jewel that is no longer in fashion can now have great value.