Most people are aware if they possess a valuable piece of jewelry (it’s a pretty safe assumption your diamond engagement ring is real…right?) By the same token, many of the masses just figure that whatever costume jewelry they have in their jewelry box is relatively worthless. In the majority of cases, this would be correct. However, there are some glittering baubles out there that fit into the costume jewelry category that may actually garner quite the pretty penny. So how does one determine if that armadillo pin with the rhinestone eyes that belonged to your great Aunt Trudy is worth anything or not? Read on, for some eye-opening (and wallet fattening) tips.
First, assess the age.
Are some of the costume jewelry items you own hand-me-downs from your grandmother? Well, using the powers of common sense, you can deduce that these pieces may be old. Certain costume articles that were made during the 1920’s, through the 50’s, have ‘vintage’ status and are highly sought after by certain collectors. Try to identify any defining characteristics they possess and then search online for jewelry with the same qualities or demarcations. You may see an identical piece selling on eBay for several hundred bucks.
Make sure it actually is “costume.”
Some jewelry articles may really have that costume feel to them (they look plastic-y, are very lightweight, are now dusty/dirty with age). In actuality, though, they may be in fact made out of valuable materials. Since gold naturally is a fairly light metal, it can often be mistaken for a cheaper one. If in doubt, take your pieces to a few different jewelers to see what they say (always get a couple of opinions; you never know who will try to take advantage of a situation due to your naivety; telling you they will “take it off your hands” for a few bucks). If the piece itself holds no value other than the intrinsic worth of the gold, you can check the market rate yourself that day to get an idea of the cash you should receive for it (at your piece’s particular weight).
Is it “marked?”
Costume jewelry that comes from a reputable store/brand can have significant value. The way to determine this is to look for a jewelry “mark.” This is a brand name or intaglio embossed, stamped or etched into the jewelry. Some of the more prominent ones include Chanel, Monet, Wiess and Trifari, but any familiar brand may hold some worth. The often minuscule marks can be hard to spot with the naked eye, so use a high powered magnifying glass when inspecting your jewelry. If you catch a glimpse of that elusive mark, then hit the internet and see what it may fetch.
Determine the degree of detail work
The “detail work” of a jewelry piece refers to the way that it is constructed or designed. If an item has detailing that is finely executed (not messy and irregular) and intricately held together, that obviously means that is was made well (possibly by hand) and can hold a marked value.
Try not to “go green.”
If your jewelry pieces have a greenish tinge to them, that is a sign that they are oxidizing and are most likely of poor quality/little value. Another sign in the detrimental category is if the jewelry is enameled and this sheen has worn away considerably. More valuable pieces typically have superior quality enameling.
As with any potentially valuable commodity that you own, you should always seek the help of a (trustworthy) professional to determine it’s true value. Costume jewelry can be fun to wear, but also may just earn you some solid dollars too. If you are looking to sell jewelry of even greater value, the same applies to finding a reputable place to sell it at. Diamond Lighthouse helps people sell their diamond jewelry. We take a commission of 10% (from diamonds 1 carat and higher), so our goal is always the same as yours: to get you the most money possible. Find out more about our trusted and 100% safe selling platform here.