Jewelry has been used for centuries by people of different cultures and social status. It’s made from various materials such as gold, silver, and platinum. Pieces are also often embellished with precious stones like diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds. These pieces of jewelry range in price, from the affordable to the extravagant, but how can one tell if a piece of jewelry is valuable or not? Below are some tips on how to tell the value of jewelry.
Hallmarks are symbols that are stamped into a piece of metal that indicates the type of metal used and its purity level. For example, a 14K gold bracelet will have a hallmark of “585,” which means it is 58.5% pure gold. If the jewelry does not have any hallmarks, then it’s likely that it’s not valuable.
The weight of the piece is another factor that can determine its value. Precious metals such as gold, platinum, and silver are weighed in troy ounces. Troy ounces are slightly heavier than regular ounces. The weight of the jewelry is usually engraved on the inside of the band or the clasp of the jewelry. If a piece of jewelry feels too light for its size, it could indicate that it’s not made of a precious metal.
The color of the metal used to create the jewelry can also be an indicator of its value. For example, yellow gold is typically less expensive than white gold, and white gold is less expensive than platinum. This is because platinum is a rare and durable metal that is difficult to work with, making it more costly. However, colored gold, such as rose gold, can be more valuable than traditional yellow gold.
Precious stones such as diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds can significantly increase the value of a piece of jewelry. These stones are graded based on their cut, clarity, color, and carat weight. A diamond that has a high rating in each of these categories will be more valuable than a diamond with lower ratings. Some diamonds are also certified by independent laboratories, such as GIA or AGS, which can provide a more accurate assessment of their value.
The craftsmanship of a piece of jewelry can also affect its value. High-quality craftsmanship is evident in the smoothness of the metalwork, the precision of the stone setting, and the attention to detail in the design.
The provenance of a piece of jewelry refers to its history of ownership. Jewelry that comes from notable historical figures, famous jewelry houses, or has been featured in movies or exhibitions can significantly enhance its value. For example, Elizabeth Taylor’s jewelry collection went up for auction in 2011 and sold for a record-breaking $150 million. However, this is not something that is easily established, and it’s important to remember that provenance alone does not determine the value of a piece of jewelry.