Antique estate jewelry is valuable because it is rare, made of precious metals and gemstones, and has sentimental value. The rarity and material values of your antique estate jewelry are stamped into it with hallmarks. If you have a piece of antique jewelry and wish to know if it is valuable, you must research the hallmarks stamped on the back, side, or edge of your piece. These hallmarks will indicate the following information:
Purity Mark: This mark will indicate the amount of gold, silver, platinum, and other precious metals that are in the piece. These marks may differ depending on the country where your jewelry was created.
Maker's Marks: This mark does not indicate who created your jewelry, but will indicate the person or company that evaluated the purity of your jewelry and who stamped and guaranteed that purity on the piece.
Town of Origin Marks: This mark will indicate the city and country where your piece of jewelry was made.
Date Marks: This mark will indicate a time frame when the piece was evaluated at an assay office.
There are many reference books and websites that will give you a pictorial index of well-known and obscure hallmarks of antique jewelry. These lists are often organized by subject matter such as animals, insects, faces, initials, shields, logos, and other geometric shapes. To research the value of your antique estate jewelry, look at the hallmarks stamped on your piece and try to find similar hallmarks that closely resemble the marks on your jewelry. Once you have identified similar pieces of antique jewelry, you will have a good idea of the history of your estate jewelry.
If you would like to have more definitive information about the value of your antique estate jewelry, or if have a piece of jewelry with marks that are not identifiable, you must have your jewelry piece professionally appraised. Appraisers are experts in their field and can research the hallmarks stamped on your jewelry in published hallmark lists. Appraisers also have access to lists of hallmarks that are not published in the usual collections. These hallmark lists will include marks on historical jewelry that may be similar to your piece of jewelry.
To find a jewelry appraiser, contact the American Society of Appraisers for the contact information of a certified jewelry appraiser near your location. If you cannot find an appraiser nearby, contact another appraiser, like http://www.crissy.com, for a local referral. With careful research and the help of a good appraiser, you will be able to find the value of your antique estate jewelry.