Gold jewellery has always been popular because of its worth and beauty. A vintage piece that is at least 20 years old may have more value because it has a history. However, just because a piece is older doesn’t necessarily mean that it is worth anything, even if it is gold.
There are a lot of different factors that determine the worth of a piece of vintage jewellery. Figuring out the real value can be a complicated process requiring a professional evaluation. However, there are some simple things you can look for to help you decide whether it is worth digging deeper to find out what a piece is worth.
1. Find Out All You Can About Its Provenance
“Provenance” just means where the piece came from. If you bought it from a jewellery dealer, maybe you were provided with this information in writing. If you received the piece as a gift, you can ask the person who gave it where it came from. If you inherited it, maybe the original packaging holds a clue.
However, even if you bought the piece second-hand, there may still be clues as to where it came from. Sometimes jewellery bears the hallmark of its designer. If your piece bears the hallmark of a famous designer, such as Cartier or Tiffany, it is more likely to be worth money.
2. Evaluate the Materials Used
Whether your piece is real gold or not is a key indicator of its possible worth. It is a common practice to plate cheaper metals to give the appearance of pure gold jewellery without the price. You can tell if this is the case if the gold plating has chipped or worn away, which almost always happens over time. Another way to tell whether your piece is real gold is to weigh it. Real gold is a heavy metal, so genuine gold jewellery will have some heft to it.
It is not only the gold that you have to pay attention to, but other materials, such as stones, as well. Look for obvious signs that a stone was manufactured, such as a seam, as well as more subtle indicators, such as a stone that is glued in place rather than held with prongs.
When you’re evaluating materials, you are not only looking to tell whether they are real. You are also looking for rarities that are likely worth more. For example, a vintage diamond-and-gold jewellery piece is almost certainly valuable if the materials are genuine. However, the piece is likely to be worth even more if it uses a style of diamond cut that is no longer available, such as the Old European or Old Mine cut.
3. Check the Craftsmanship
A vintage piece of jewellery that was made by hand is almost always more valuable than one that was mass-produced. You may be able to determine this by examining the piece from both the front and the back, looking for signs that it was made by hand. Good workmanship on all sides indicates a high-quality piece.
Just because handmade pieces are likely more valuable, this doesn’t mean that a mass-produced piece is worthless. It depends on factors such as when and where the piece was made. The older the piece, the more likely it is to be valuable even if it was mass-produced originally. This is especially true if there are few similar pieces left in existence.
Assessment Is the Next Step
Once you have determined that your gold jewellery could be worth something, the next step is an assessment to find out how much. At Colonial Acres Coins, jewellery assessment is one of our specializations. There are many reasons why you might want to find out what your pieces are worth, but keep in mind that we are always buying if you are interested in selling – and our assessments are offered free of charge