Don’t Sell Grandma’s Jewelry at a Yard Sale…What’s It Worth?

VINTAGE JEWELRY IDENTIFICATION Before you can find out what a piece of vintage jewelry is worth, you need to find out what it is. This can be as simple as turning it over and finding a maker’s mark or complicated as in “hours of research”. First thing first: Examine your jewelry for a maker’s mark. Look on the back or on the clasp. Thoroughly examine every inch of the piece. If you see a maker’s mark, start your research! Not finding a maker’s mark doesn’t mean it’s not valuable, on the contrary; many fine pieces of jewelry were never marked. It does mean you will need to put in a little more effort in research. If you received your vintage jewelry from a family member, ask them about it’s history. Did your grandfather give it to your grandmother right before he went off to war? Was it handed down from her mother? Answers to these questions will give you a general idea of how old it is.  Look at the style of the piece. Although many styles come back into fashion after a time, it is still possible to ID an older piece by the style and material. Does it appear to have gemstones? Determine it they are real gemstones. You will need some sort of strong magnifying glass or ideally, a jeweler’s loupe. A loupe is a small magnifying glass in various degrees of magnification. A 10X loupe should be all you need and they are relatively inexpensive. Craft and hobby stores usually sell them. Go to a well lighted place and look at the stone through the loupe. Do you see tiny bubbles in the stone? Tiny air bubbles mean it is made from glass or plastic. It’s not a real gemstone. Is it open backed? Can you see the back of the stone when you turn the piece over? Does the back of the stone look shiny as in gold or silver colored foil? These are foil back rhinestones and not real gems. Foil was often added to reflect the light and create a better sparkle. Most real gems contain some type of natural inclusion. Unless you are familiar with gems and diamonds, your best bet is to take…

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