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How to Sell Gold & Sterling Jewelry — Beware Cash for Gold Scams


Until gold prices shot up this past year and “Cash for Gold” ads hit the media, the practice of selling scrap gold and sterling seemed to be practiced by people already in the know (coin dealers, jewelry dealers, antiques dealers, jewelers). Now, everyone knows that “Cash for Gold” will buy your scrap. However jewelers and coin dealer have been buying scrap metals for years & years.

A little research will help you determine if you are getting your best price.

1. Get on the Internet and look up the spot price for gold and/or sterling that day. There are many sites that post the spot price. Realize that the seller is going to get 70-80% of spot price when selling to a gold buyer.
2. Sort your pieces of jewelry by their gold/sterling marks. Put your 18K, 14K, 10K gold in different piles. Also, you will probably only be able to sell sterling (925) silver.
3. Call your reputable local jeweler, someone you know in your hometown. Ask them what they are paying for scrap…it will most likely be higher than Cash for Gold.
4. Invest in a cheap little scale and weigh the jewelry yourself. That way you’ll have a good idea prior to selling how much you have.
4. When selling your jewelry, are the stones worth anything? If you think they might be, have them pried out prior to weighing the scrap and selling.

Good luck! Selling scrap gold is a good way to get some money out of something you’ll never wear again. But make sure you are aren’t “giving” your scrap away.

www.midcenturyjewelry.com.

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How To Tell If Pearls Are Real — Identifying Pearls


Let’s say you come across a pearl necklace in Grandmother’s things or at an estate sale. How to tell if those pearls are authentic, real pearls?

First, let’s talk about pearls. Pearls are created naturally when a tiny piece of unwelcome matter enters an oyster’s shell. The oyster secretes a protective coating over the speck of matter, layer by layer, until a pearl is formed.

An authentic, natural pearl is a rare thing indeed. To have a necklace with perfectly matched natural pearls is to have something that is exceedingly rare. Our treatment of the environment over the past century has mean that fewer natural pearls have been produced. Demand cannot be met. (It’s the same story with coral). As a result, natural pearls are becoming even more rare…nearly extinct. A true natural pearl necklace will be thousands and thousands of dollars.

Today most “authentic” pearls are cultured. This means that pearl producers force pearl creation by placing a speck of matter inside an oyster until the desired pearl is attained. Cultured pearls are less desirable than natural. There are so many cultured pearls coming out of China and the Far East that the pearls are dirt cheap. Check out the plethora of cultured pearls on eBay. And, sellers on eBay are calling many cultured pearls “natural”. Not True!!!

A quality pearl necklace should exhibit the following:
1. Pearls of consistent quality, with beautiful luster and consistent color.
2. High quality hand-made knots between each pearl on the strand.
3. A quality clasp, at least 14K gold. A sterling clasp or 10K is less desirable.
4. Excellent condition.

Ultimately, the only way to determine if a pearl is natural or cultured is to take the pearls to a jeweler and have them X-Rayed.

Natural and cultured pearls have a slight grit to them. Rub a real pearl across your teeth and you should be able to feel the grit. Fake pearls will feel smooth.

www.midcenturyjewelry.com.

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How To Identify The Silver Content of Silver Jewelry


The purpose of this blog entry is to help a buyer/collector identify the silver content of jewelry based on the silver marks present on the jewelry. It will be helpful for you to have a jeweler’s 10X magnification loupe on hand. These can actually be purchased right here on eBay and are very helpful for identifying jewelry marks.

My guide is quite simple. There are a couple of excellent web sites out there with a world of knowledge. If you Google “Silver Marks”, you’ll probably find some excellent resources.

First, look on the back of your jewelry for any silver stamps.

1.STERLING SILVER:
What is sterling silver? Sterling silver is silver that is 925/1000 parts silver. Pure silver is too soft for jewelry making so the highest silver content usually (but not always) found in silver jewelry is .925.

Since the early 1900s, American sterling jewelry has been required to have a sterling mark if it is truly sterling silver. In my experience, older sterling is stamped “STERLING” usually on the back of the piece of jewelry. Sometimes you might see a portion of the word, such as “STER”. This might be because the jewelry was stamped this way or it might have worn away over years of wear.
Newer sterling silver jewelry is often stamped “925”. Again, this stamp is meant to convey the silver content of the jewelry. I’ve also seen “SS” stamped on a few pieces, but this is rare.

2. 950 STERLING MARK:
I’ve seen a 950 mark on vintage jewelry once in a while. Usually, it’s been on Mexican sterling before WWII era. 950 silver does have a higher silver content than sterling but is not seen too often.

3. 900 SILVER AKA COIN SILVER
On older and antique jewelry, you might see a 900 stamp. This is meant to show that the jewelry is 900/1000 parts silver. Not quite as high a silver content as sterling. Coin silver can literally mean silver made from melted down coins.
Vintage Native American jewelry may often not have a silver content mark on it. Often this jewelry may have a silver content in the range of coin silver.

4. 800 SILVER
Sometimes, you’ll see an 800 stamp on a piece of vintage silver jewelry. This means that the content of the jewelry is 4/5 silver.
Many times, based on the style of the piece and the 800 stamp, this will point my jewelry research toward European jewelry or other foreign makers. I’ve seen vintage silver filigree jewelry with an 800 mark.

5. SILVER TESTS
Commercial silver test kits are available for silver (and gold) jewelry. These are probably available on eBay. I personally do not use these. If I have a question about my vintage jewelry after I’ve exhausted my own research, I take a trip down to see my favorite jeweler for his advice.

www.midcenturyjewelry.com.

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Those Annoying Gold Diggers!


There is a type of man you’ll see at an antiques auctions who are 100% guaranteed to annoy me. I call these guys the “Gold Diggers”.

There are some Gold Diggers who have been doing it for a long time, way before gold prices shot up. They don’t bother me because they know what they are doing. It’s the other Diggers who bother me — the bandwagon jumpers who have begun speculating since gold shot up in value.

Gold Diggers can be spotted two different ways. First, they will always have a jeweler’s loupe with them. They crowd the tables of goods and meticulously examine each piece of gold colored metal within sight. I’ve nearly guffawed out loud when watching a man check out a 1970’s Sarah Coventry Austin Powers style swinger’s pendant necklace in goldtone. Obviously these guys don’t know costume jewelry.

As a person who specializes in costume jewelry and looks at jewelry all day long, I can pick out real gold from a distance. That’s because finding a piece of gold in my costume jewelry is like finding a little surprise treasure. (OK, maybe I’m a little bit of a Gold Digger in my heart). I’m like Rainman in the toothpick scene of the Rainman movie. Thrown a pile of jewelry on the floor, and I could spot the tiny gold pin in there within fourteen seconds.

The other way to identify Gold Diggers are by the small digital jewelry scales that they carry with them. I’ve been to auctions where the bidding had to be suspended while a Digger weighed the item and calculated how close to the bone he could cut his bid. Don’t you think he could have done this before the auction started?

www.midcenturyjewelry.com.