Looking For Valuable Jewelry At An Estate Sale? 3 Questions To Ask Yourself First

19 November 2015
 Categories: , Blog

If you love finding unique, interesting jewelry pieces, you might head to that local estate sale instead of the mall. After all, in addition to finding nifty pieces with a history, that vintage necklace or ring might be an actual diamond in the rough. However, before you splurge, it is important to be able to recognize high-value items. Here are three questions you should ask yourself before investing in estate jewelry:

1: "Does it have any maker's marks?"

If you can handle the jewelry, analyze the piece carefully to look for maker's marks. These marks are typically stamped or etched into the metal components of the piece. In addition to stating what the piece is made from, maker's marks can also indicate the manufacturer of the piece and the country of origin. For example, you might be able to see a brand name, the grade of gold, and where the piece was made.

As you evaluate maker's marks, look for common mistakes that might raise a red flag. For example, if the writing contains spelling errors, it might be counterfeit. Also, look at the alignment and placement of the mark. Most high-end jewelers pay close attention to marking the pieces in inconspicuous ways, and they tend to center the text carefully.

2: "Have you seen pieces like that before?"

When it comes to jewelry, the rarer, the better. Collectors and investors tend to pay more for pieces that they haven't seen before, which might mean that simple gold hoop earrings or a plain pearl necklace won't fetch a fantastic return. As you evaluate different pieces, ask yourself whether or not you have seen items like the one you are holding before. Also, pay attention to the subject matter. If the item seems custom made or contains an interesting theme, it might be worth more to a collector.  

3: "How is the workmanship?"

Before you take that interesting, genuine necklace up to the register, take a little time to evaluate the overall workmanship. Look at the quality of the fasteners and the prongs around the jewels. If the item seems sturdy, it may have been made with care. On the other hand, items with missing prongs, loose connections, or simple fasteners might be the hallmark of a cheap item purchased from a store twenty years ago.

By knowing what to look for in vintage jewelry, you might be able to invest your money wisely and enjoy pieces that will stand the test of time.