Signs That Your Old Jewelry Is Actually Worth Something

If you have older jewelry sitting around, you may be considering selling it for some extra cash. But not all older jewelry is worth much. Some are just "costume jewelry," made with cheap materials that you can't really resell for a lot. So, how can you tell whether your old jewelry has value or not? Your best bet is to take it to a professional appraiser. However, you can also look for these signs that a piece is likely to have value.

It's marked with a gold karatage

Gold jewelry can be some of the most valuable, and it is actually fairly easy to tell real gold jewelry apart from costume jewelry that's made to look like gold. Look the piece over to see if you can find a karatage marking. This might read "18k gold" or "12k gold." A karat is a unit that indicates how pure gold is, so 18k gold is purer than 12k gold. If a piece of jewelry is made from gold, it will usually have this type of marking. If you cannot find a karatage marking, the jewelry is probably not real gold. Check the back of any settings, and also check the clasp of a necklace or bracelet for the karatage marking. On a ring, it is often printed inside the band.

It feels heavy

This may sound like a strange thing to assess, but it is one of many elements to consider when determining whether a piece of jewelry might have value. Real gems, like diamonds and rubies, tend to be significantly heavier than their faux counterparts. Similarly, gold and silver are heavier than the nickel often used to make low-end costume jewelry. So, if a piece of jewelry feels heavy in your hands, it is more likely to be worth selling.

It does not attract a magnet

Gold is not magnetic, and neither is silver. If a piece of jewelry is magnetic, then it contains a high proportion of iron, which usually means that it is cheap costume jewelry. Make sure you use a strong magnet to adequately assess whether or not the jewelry you're looking at is magnetic.

Use the ideas above to guide you as you decide whether to sell older jewelry. When in doubt, take the jewelry to an appraiser. It is often worth paying a small appraisal fee if you have reason to believe a piece is valuable. Keep these tips in mind when looking for cash for gold jewelry.