How to Know if your Costume Jewelry is Worth Anything - How to Buy Vintage Jewelry (2023)

by Andrea

How to Know if your Costume Jewelry is Worth Anything - How to Buy Vintage Jewelry (1)

Is your costume jewelry worth anything? Learn how to tell if your costume jewelry is worth selling in this handy guide.

(Video) How To Examine & Inspect Costume Jewelry To Determine Value.

Dressing up nicely is one of the best pleasures of life. Outfits, make-up, shoes, sandals, handbags constitute an essential part of a person’s wardrobe. However, no matter how perfect one is looking, one thing that can make or break their entire personality is jewelry.

Whether it is about necklaces, chains, bracelets, rings or earrings, men and especially women around the world are extremely passionate about jewelry. Jewelry has the power and ability to highlight a person’s personality and bring out his or her best features. It has great importance in a person’s life as it makes the wearer feel special, stylish and beautiful.

What is Costume Jewelry?

The term costume jewelry dates back to the early 20thcentury. It reflects the use of the word “costume” or what is now usuallyreferred to as “outfit”.

  • Costume jewelry is generally low priced jewelry, using brass, low carat gold and sterling silver as base metal, and with use of semi-precious or ordinary stones.
  • Modern costume jewelry incorporates a wide range of materials such as high-end crystals, cubic zirconia, simulated diamonds, and some may also have semi-precious stones.
  • It is beautiful and affordable jewelry and can be worn on a daily basis, simple occasions as well as to the parties.
  • There are various high-end brands manufacturing costume jewelry such as Crown Trifari, Dior, Chanel, Miriam Haskell, Kramer, Corocraftand on the other hand, there are plenty of small scale manufacturers also producing costume jewelry.

Why do People Buy Costume Jewelry?

  • It is affordable: Costume jewelry is generally made from inexpensive material suchas sterling silver, brass, and semi-precious or synthetic stones. Hence, youneither have to empty your pockets nor have to spend too much to buy costumejewelry of your choice.
  • It offers a wide range ofdesigns: With changing trends and fashion, you can buyan array of costume jewelry to match your outfits, latest trends or occasions.And since it is affordable, you also don’t have to worry about decreasing bankbalance.
  • It can make you look chicand classy: You can mix and match your costumejewelry with your outfits to create that chic and classy look.
  • It requires lesser care: Costume jewelry does not require a very strong care regime as withfine jewelry. As it is affordable, you don’t have to worry much about yourcostume jewelry losing its shine over time, oxidation or scratches.
  • It gives tough competition to fine jewelry: With the advancement of technology, high-quality jewelry pieces are produced nowadays. It is now very hard to differentiate costume jewelry from real fine jewelry, as it possesses the same sparkling shine like that of fine jewelry.
  • It gives out stylish self-expression: It is truly said that our clothes reflect our personality, but, adding accessories to it takes it to the next level. When costume jewelry is worn suitably with our outfits, it undoubtedly gives out stylish self-expression. Like when you are happy, you will wear something bright and vibrant, but on some somber days, you will pick something minimalist.
  • It can be worn as a statement piece: An oversize piece of costume jewelry is a good way to add an interesting element to a simple outfit. It can be in the form of a dramatic necklace or a dangling pair of earrings. (However, do remember not to go overboard with it.)

Is Your Costume Jewelry Worth Anything?

It happens with all of us that once we loved those danglingearrings, that sparkling ring, stone-studded watch or that fancy bracelet withall our heart. But now with time, these jewelry pieces have lost their appealand are sitting idle in our closet. Itmay also be a possibility that the old jewelry is out of fashion now or perhapsis a gift from someone who didn’t fit your style and therefore is lying stillpacked in that attractive gift box.

(Video) How To Identify and Assess Jewelry Value With These Easy Tips. #jewelrymasterclass #jewelry

Why should it be left taking up space in our closet without knowing its real value? There are ways that can help us find the true worth of our costume jewelry.

  • Hallmarks: One of the first things to do when you buy or get new jewelry isto look for hallmarks. Jewelry having ahallmark is usually a good sign as hallmark tells us the metal content of apiece.

Common gold hallmarksinclude18K, 14K, 10K, 750, 585, 375. Common platinum hallmarksinclude950, PLATINUM, PLAT. Common silver hallmarks include925,Silver, 800, Sterling.

  • Names: Look out for any name on your costume jewelry. Most of the costume jewelry designers place their names somewhere on the piece of jewelry like Trifari, Miriam Haskell, Wiess, Coco Chanel, etc.
  • Clear detail: When you see the front of a costume jewelry piece, you see a number of stones that are either synthetic or semi-precious. Inspect the back of the jewelry and look carefully at the design details. If it’s sloppy or running together, it most likely is cheap, but if it’s clean and has a clear detail to it, then the quality will be higher.
  • Appraisals: One of the most accurate and precise ways to find the true worth of your jewelry is to bring it to a professional appraiser. With many years of experience, an appraiser can identify the accurate value of your costume jewelry.
  • Prongs: Some higher quality costume jewelry use prongs in the same way as they are used in fine jewelry. Prong in high-quality costume jewelry is well crafted with each stone is set in an intricate prong setting.
  • Material: It is important to identify the base material of the costume jewelry to know its worth. While some costume jewelry is made with low-quality materials, others use gold, silver and certain stones of value.
  • Designs: Many of the costume jewelry designs are based on the designs of high-end jewelry brands such as David Yurman, Buccellati, Cartier, Harry Winston, etc. It is a wise idea to check if your costume jewelry is real or imitation of any of their designs.

How to Buy Costume Jewelry

While window shopping or surfing the internet, you come acrosslow-quality yet appealing costume jewelry. You like it instantly and purchaseit immediately which is absolutely fine. However, buying quality costumejewelry is a better deal overall. Quality jewelry will hold its value and youcan wear it better over time.

Some of the ways which can help you to buy quality costume jewelry are :

(Video) How To Tell Costume Jewelry From Real Jewelry

  • Best vintage costume jewelry brands: Ifyou want to invest in a high-end costume jewelry piece, look for the bestvintage costume jewelry brands. Brands such as Trifari, Coco Chanel, Kramer,etc. make some of the best jewelry in the world. These brands producehigh-quality and remarkable pieces of jewelry.

Click on the link below toknow more about best vintage costume jewelry brands –

  • Unique quality: Each of the best costume jewelry brands possess a certain kind of unique quality. Kramer jewelry has innovative designs; Hattie Carnegie jewelry features bold and colorful pieces whereas McClelland Barclay jewelry is famous for its bold and rare costume jewelry. So look out for that truly unique feature that you wish to have in your jewelry.

Click on the link below toknow more about top brands jewelry –

  • Search for the best shops: There are plenty of shops selling costume jewelry. However, it is often difficult to find the best ones as the market is flooded with fake and imitation jewelry. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to buy jewelry from the best shop only.

Click on the link below tofind some of best online costume jewelry shops –

14 Best Vintage Costume Jewelry Shops on Etsy
(Video) Valuable Vintage Jewelry Worth Collecting

  • Consider your personality: There arepeople who love bold, flashy or oversized pieces of jewelry and there are somewho prefer sober and austere pieces. So, it is really important to consider thekind of jewelry that you feel comfortable to wear. You should look for size,durability, color, and overall style before buying a piece of jewelry.

How to Take Care of your Jewelry

  1. Your costume jewelry should avoid coming in contact with water. Don’t keep it in moist areas and remember to remove jewelry before taking a shower or swimming.
  2. Keep costume jewelry in a jewelry organizer to prevent messy tangles that may harm the jewelry.
  3. Keep away from acids in hairspray and alcohol in perfumes. Wear your costume jewelry after spraying the hairspray or the perfume.
  4. Gently clean the costume jewelry using cotton buds or merely a soft toothbrush with distilled water. Ensure it is thoroughly dried before storage.
  5. Remove your jewelry before doing laundry, cooking, washing or any such task to avoid any potential damage.
  6. Use vacuum bags or Ziplocs to prevent jewelry from oxidation.
  7. Remember that your costume jewelry should be the last thing that you put on and the first thing that you take off.

Click on the link below to know more about cleaning the vintage costume jewelry –

Good things come in small packages especially when it is jewelry.

Jewelry is not only a part of our collection and a piece of art, but often has personal significance attached to it. Engagement or wedding rings, as a gift on important events such as birthday or anniversary, as heritage passed from one generation to the other and much more makes jewelry part of a person’s collection of memories.

So now, when you know so much about the worth of costume jewelry,it’s time to add more to your collection.

Share the Knowledge

(Video) How to Tell and Value Costume Jewelry & Pearls when Thrifting by Dr. Lori


How do I know if my vintage costume jewelry is valuable? ›

Examine the Construction. How a piece is made is the ultimate sign of value and quality. Look for clear details, well-decorated elements, sharp lines, crisp figures, even prongs, strong settings, sparkling faux stones, glass, or other high-end materials to value costume jewelry.

What kind of vintage costume jewelry is worth money? ›

Jewelry stamped with the manufacturer or designer's name is almost always worth more than unsigned pieces. Bakelite bangles, necklaces and pins are a good example of how costume jewelry has increased in value.

How can you tell how old costume jewelry is? ›

Even the style of the label or tags on costume jewelry pieces can help you date the pieces. Hang tags, embossed or engraved maker's marks, stamps, and attached logo rounds are just some of the ways costume jewelry designers marked their pieces over the years.

How can you tell if jewelry is vintage or antique? ›

Jewelry is classified as vintage when it was made 50 - 100 years in the past. So if you're buying vintage jewelry in 2021, you'll be looking for pieces made between 1921 and 1971. Jewelry is classified as antique when it was made more than 100 years ago.

Is there an app for identifying jewelry? ›

By uploading a picture or using the camera in real-time, Google Lens is an impressive identifier of a wide range of items including animal breeds, plants, flowers, branded gadgets, logos, and even rings and other jewelry.

Do pawn shops buy vintage costume jewelry? ›

Selling authentic jewelry is always a quick road to some money at a pawn shop. Costume jewelry, unfortunately, won't fetch you much money (unless it's a designer piece), but diamonds, silver, and gold will always bring you a hefty sum.

Should I throw away old costume jewelry? ›

Throw out heavily tarnished and inexpensive pieces that are broken and unfixable. Costume jewelry from retail stores, flash plated jewelry, and gold-plated jewelry that has faded completely included.

Does anyone buy used costume jewelry? ›

Antique or vintage costume jewelry can actually be quite desirable on the secondhand market. In fact, it may be easier to sell these pieces than you imagine. Many buyers look for costume jewelry at yard and garage sales.

How do I know if my jewelry is valuable? ›

How to Tell If My Jewelry Is Worth Anything
  1. LOOK FOR HALLMARKS. One of the first things you can do when you acquire a new piece of jewelry is to look for hallmarks. ...
  2. LOOK FOR WEARING. Fake chains feel fake. ...
  3. TRY THE MAGNET TEST. Genuine gold will not attract a magnet. ...

How old is vintage costume jewelry? ›

Vintage Jewelry refers to jewelry that is at least 20 years old. Victorian, Edwardian, Art Deco, Art Nouveau, and Retro are some of the most famous styles. These were created in the early 1900s. If they are 100 years older or more, they are considered antique.

How to sell old costume jewelry? ›

Costume jewelry can be sold at auction, to antique dealers or to wholesalers. Trade magazines, antique catalogs and websites devoted to the sale and advertising of vintage items can often connect buyers and sellers. Local auction houses can provide details on contributing items to auctions.

What jewelry is considered vintage? ›

Vintage Jewelry: On the other hand, a piece of jewelry is considered “vintage” if it is between 50 years old and 100 years old. Unlike antique jewelry, vintage pieces are often worn and displayed, as they are less likely to break.

How do you identify vintage items? ›

A maker's mark is one of the main clues in figuring out the age of something. These marks can also tell us who made the item and where. To locate a potential marking, look underneath the object and in hidden spots. Remember, not everything will have a maker's mark, so don't give up hope if you can't find one.

What is the identification of vintage? ›

In order for something to be vintage, it must be at least 20 years old. However, you can have new vintage (ie: something from the 90s) or old vintage (something from the 1930s). And there are different techniques for identifying old vs new vintage.

What is the most collectable vintage jewelry? ›

Top 10 Most Valuable Antique FINE Jewelry Items
  1. 1 – Georgian-Style Floral Tremblant Brooch. ...
  2. 2 – Art Deco Kashmir Sapphire Ring. ...
  3. 3 – Antique Burma Ruby and Diamond Necklace. ...
  4. 4 – Ceylon Sapphire Pendant Necklace. ...
  5. 5 – Bulgari Fringe Necklace (Modern) ...
  6. 6 – Victorian Natural Pearl and Diamond Cluster Necklace.
Sep 23, 2022

Who pays the most for old jewelry? ›

Your choices are a jewelry store, a pawn shop or a “We Buy Gold” dealer. In most cases all three will offer you “scrap value,” that is, the value of the metal, diamonds and gems. Of the three, you'll usually get the most money from a jeweler.

Does vintage jewelry sell well? ›

While there is a strong market for fine contemporary jewelry, those who want to sell vintage jewelry have the advantage of rarity. Pieces like this vintage diamond bracelet, which sold for well over $17,500 USD are always in demand.

Is there an app to take a picture of something to find its value? ›

Coinoscope mobile app makes coin identification and valuation easy – just snap a picture of a coin with your phone camera and the app will show you a list of similar coins. Fast and accurate. A must-have tool for every coin collector and numismatist!

Is there an app to check value of antiques? ›

Whether you're browsing at home or hunting at an antique mall, flea market, or garage/estate sale, take our suite of tools with you to discover value anytime, anywhere. No matter where you are, WorthPoint on your iPhone and iPad helps you see the collectibles market more clearly.

Can I take a picture and have Google identify it? ›

Search with an image saved on your phone

At the bottom, tap Discover. Take or upload a photo to use for your search: To take a photo: Point to an object with your camera and tap Search.

How do pawn shops determine value of jewelry? ›

Although pawn shops do not generally establish a fixed minimum value on any item, they'll often use a percentage as a baseline for determining the value of gold. suggests that pawn shops generally pay a melt value of 70 to 85 percent of current precious metal prices.

Is it better to sell your jewelry to a pawn shop or to a jewelry store? ›

If you're looking to sell your jewelry, a pawn shop is still likely your best option. This is because a retail store must be interested in your specific item in order for them to buy it. If your item isn't popular or rare or vintage, it is unlikely to sell, causing them to turn your item down.

What is the best site to sell vintage costume jewelry? ›

For semiprecious and vintage costume jewelry, selling independently on a website like Etsy, eBay or Ruby Lane is the best way to find a market for your castoffs. If you think your piece is worth a substantial amount, it's worth getting a professional appraisal and as much supporting information as possible.

What can I do with my mom's old costume jewelry? ›

Getting rid of jewelry

As for pieces you no longer want, donate them. Many charities accept fine jewelry donations, including Goodwill, the Salvation Army and Support Our Troops. If you want to unload costume jewelry, look into organizations such as Dress for Success, Suited for Change and I Have Wings .

What to do with costume jewelry when someone dies? ›

You may prefer to keep or sell fine jewelry and precious gems, but what about costume jewelry? You can donate that too.

Should you keep jewelry in their boxes? ›

Ideally, jewelry should be stored in its original bag or box as these often have special properties to suit the piece.

Is vintage costume jewelry still popular? ›

Vintage costume jewelry is one of the fastest growing, and most popular, categories on the market. If you're looking to start buying and collecting, there are things you ought to know – and avoid. One of the fastest growing sectors in the vintage market today is vintage costume jewelry.

Is vintage jewelry cheaper? ›

Antique and vintage jewellery consistently offers a better value than brand new jewellery, so in choosing a piece from the past such as this Edwardian era three stone diamond engagement ring, you'll get more for your money.

How much does it cost to have jewelry appraised? ›

A jewelry appraisal can cost anywhere from $50 to $150, depending on the appraiser. In general, the average price of a jewelry appraisal is $75-$100. Some jewelry appraisers charge a flat rate per piece, while others will discount if you have numerous items of jewelry all needing to be appraised at once.

How can I identify jewelry? ›

Identifying Jewelry Stamps And Hallmarks

These identifying markings are usually located on the inside of a ring or bracelet, the post of an earring, or on the clasp of a necklace. If the jewelry is stamped, it will generally list the metal content of a piece, such as the gold karat purity.

What does 990 mean on jewelry? ›

Material: 990 Sterling Silver Rings, 99% Pure Silver And 1% Alloy. There Is A Chinese Letter Stamp On The Inside Of The Ring(Means Solid Silver). 990 silver generally refers to a silver product containing about 99% of silver, and the purity is about 99% which means that it is regarded as pure silver.

How to sell expensive vintage jewelry? ›

Sell locally to a jeweler, which can be a safe way to sell, especially if you have a relationship with a jewelry store you trust. Selling at an auction house like Sotheby's or Christie's is an option if your piece is very valuable. Selling online is likely your best, most convenient choice.

How to sell old jewelry for best price? ›

These are the common ways to resell fine gold, diamond, gemstone and other jewelry:
  1. Local jewelry store.
  2. Local cash for gold store.
  3. Pawn shop.
  4. Auction houses.
  5. Consignment shop.
  6. eBay, Etsy, TheRealReal, Facebook Marketplace, among other online marketplaces.
  7. Professional jewelry buyers online.
Jul 30, 2022

What is retro vintage jewelry? ›

Retro jewelry period is generally dated late 1930 -1950, a period during which jewelry designers were largely influenced by World War 2. The historical event was reflected in the choice of metal, gemstones, and designs.

What number of years is vintage? ›

Vintage simply means old.

The meaning of the word “vintage” is simply “of age,” making it more difficult to set a specific age requirement. However, many say vintage items are at least 20 years old. So, generally speaking, something can be considered vintage if it is between 20 and 99 years old.

How do you get vintage items appraised? ›

You can go in person to a local appraiser or an appraisal fair such as Antiques Roadshow. Increasingly popular, online appraisers allow you to get an estimate of an item's worth without leaving your house. Even such longtime New York City auction houses like Sotheby's and Christie's offer online appraisals for free.

How do I find out what something is worth? ›

Try sites such as What's It Worth to You, Value My Stuff, and Worth Point. If you're searching for the tax-deductible value of items that have been donated, you can use valuation sites, tax preparation companies (such as Turbo Tax) or the Salvation Army.

What is the rule of vintage? ›

Vintage items are 20 years or older, but some definitions presume that a vintage item was between made between 50 and 100 years ago. 70-year-old items, no matter how crusty, can never be antiques and will be vintage until they age more.

What year is true vintage? ›

"Vintage" is a colloquialism commonly used to refer to all old styles of clothing. A generally accepted industry standard is that items made between 20 and 100 years ago are considered "vintage" if they clearly reflect the styles and trends of the era they represent.

Is there a market for costume jewelry? ›

In 2021, the global costume jewelry market was valued at 30.8 billion U.S. dollars, and was forecast to reach a value of around 47 billion U.S. dollars by 2027.

How to make money from old costume jewelry? ›

Costume jewelry can be sold at auction, to antique dealers or to wholesalers. Trade magazines, antique catalogs and websites devoted to the sale and advertising of vintage items can often connect buyers and sellers. Local auction houses can provide details on contributing items to auctions.

Is there a market for vintage jewelry? ›

Today, jewelry lovers turn to the past for vintage engagement rings, antique jewelry, and pieces they can't find anywhere else. The vintage jewelry market is enormous and full of pitfalls, so many smart women look to jewelry consultants to help them build a collection and find hard-to-get pieces.

Do people buy vintage jewelry? ›

If it's signed and vintage, there's a huge market for it. DANA KIYOMURA I'm finding that antique diamond jewelry, particularly rings, is very, very popular. I think that there's been a lot of marketing around interesting cuts of diamonds — cushions and Asschers — that the general public are picking up on.

Where is the best place to sell costume jewelry? ›

For semiprecious and vintage costume jewelry, selling independently on a website like Etsy, eBay or Ruby Lane is the best way to find a market for your castoffs. If you think your piece is worth a substantial amount, it's worth getting a professional appraisal and as much supporting information as possible.

What is luxury costume jewelry? ›

Fashion Jewelry or Costume Jewelry

'Fashion jewelry', sometimes referred to as 'costume jewelry', is a more affordable range of jewelry often made of gold-plated and synthetic stones instead of natural gemstones to lower the cost. Fashion jewelry is ideal for trendy pieces you will not probably wear for decades.

What is Trifari jewelry? ›

Trifari Costume Jewelry is made of materials that differ from fine colored gemstones, old pawn Indian jewelry, valuable pearls, etc. Trifari pieces use an array of materials like rhinestones, coral, enamel, jade, and colored stones set in metal settings.


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