When sorting through estate jewelry – whether it be from someone you know and/or were related to, or from an estate sale you wound up at – you may be looking for pieces that will fetch a decent price when you sell them. But how can you tell just from looking whether or not that piece of jewelry is just a knock-off or actually worth its weight in gold? If you're looking for a few tips and tricks that will enable you to pick out the diamonds in the rough (sometimes literally!) then here's what you need to know.
The Hallmark Moment
An easy way to tell the grade of the material of a piece of jewelry is its hallmark – the numbers and/or letters on a ring, watch, necklace, or earrings that tell you the material and the quality of the material. Gold will generally have a K after the number (or will have numbers like 750 and 375), while silver will have numbers in the 800s-900s or the word "silver" (or just an "S") on them. Some hallmarks even have the brand on them – just avoid brands like Avon or Trifari, which are costume jewelry brands, and designate your piece as worth much less than the real thing. If it doesn't have a hallmark but it looks quite old, the hallmark has probably worn off from years of use, and you may want to take a chance on that piece.
The Diamond Standard
Trying to figure out whether a diamond is actually a diamond, or if it's simply cubic zirconia? There are a few tests you can do that don't require any specialized equipment. The easiest to do is the breath test; simply exhale hot air onto the stone in question (like you would if you were fogging up a window pane) and then look at it. Real diamonds will remain as they were before, while diamond imitators will fog up. Another test is called the newspaper or dot test. Hold up the stone in front of a piece of newspaper with small text or in front of a paper you've marked with a small dot. If you can see the text or dot through the stone, you've got an imposter on your hands, as a real diamond refracts the light, making it impossible to see through.
The Weight of the Matter
If you're attempting to determine whether a chain is actually a precious metal like gold, silver, or even (if you're lucky) platinum, use the same rules you'd use for picking up a watermelon in the supermarket: the color should be consistent throughout, with no flakes or chips (especially if those chips reveal a different color underneath), it should be very smooth, and it should be heavy for its size. Gold and silver stand-ins will be much lighter than the genuine article; if you have a piece of real gold/silver/platinum (or know someone who does), you can always take it with you to the estate sale in order to compare weights. Contact a business, such as Rhonda's Jewelry, for more information.
About a month ago, I started thinking about the kinds of jewelry I was choosing. It occurred to me that I really needed to start looking for classier pieces since most of my jewelry was pretty loud and annoying. I thought that it was sending the wrong vibe to customers, and I was right. After choosing classier pave pieces, I got a better response from clients. This blog is all about finding better jewelry pieces and knowing which styles and themes to avoid in the workplace. You never know, a few small changes could really improve the response you get from customers.