Estate Jewellery Made Easy
There are three main categories of Estate Jewellery:
1) Pieces in Gold or Silver
2) Pieces with or without precious or semi-precious stones
3) Pieces that are costume or fake
Gold & Silver
Gold & Silver Jewellery are almost always marked; there are some very rare cases where there are no marks. Marks for gold can range from 9kt, 10kt, 14kt, up to and including 24kt. Silver on the other hand is typically marked sterling or 925, but some European pieces can be marked 800.
Most simple gold Jewellery will have just a gold value with the exception of pieces that have an antique value or pieces of a specific manufacturer, like Tiffany or George Jensen.
Jewellery with stones will add value to a piece or pieces. Diamonds, emeralds, rubies and sapphires tend to add the most value. While amethyst, pearl, quartz, etc., can also add some value, a lot will depend on the style of the piece. Good estate jewellery is best described as pieces with value that have a “good look”.
As with all things collectible condition is imperative and even diamonds can be in bad shape and have little to no value on the secondary market.
Pieces in certain periods like Art Deco or Art Nouveau can make a simple piece jump quite a bit in price.
Costume jewellery can bring a good price, but a lot again depends on who made it. For instance, a signed piece of “Sherman” can bring more money than a knock-off. The piece must be in good order just like their gold and silver counterparts, but there cannot be any leeway in this as if it is not in good shape it is pretty much worthless. Names to look for are Sherman, Weiss, Eisenberg and Coro, just to name a few.