Throughout history, jewelry has been a symbol of power, wealth, and love. At least once in our life we have the occasion to buy or receive a piece of jewelry. We often admire its beauty and love wearing it. When we reach 60, the majority of us have a box full of jewelry. Regardless of how we got to own it, we may want to know if this jewelry is valuable and how much it costs.
Of course, your everyday pieces may be valuable only to you, but there is jewelry that does cost a fortune. However, to recognize such a piece from among the trinkets in your jewelry box, you need to know what makes jewelry valuable.
One thing to consider is the material. For example, a large, natural, high-quality gemstone could make jewelry valuable.
Another very important criterion is rarity. If the gem/material is scarce and difficult to find, you may have a treasure worth a fortune. Some gems, for instance, are rarer and more expensive than diamonds. One such example is color change blue garnet which is extremely rare.
Finally, the provenance of the gems also plays a role in the value of your jewelry. For instance, a ruby that originates in Burma will fetch a much higher price than a ruby with the same characteristics but coming from a mine in a different country.
Historic origin is another essential factor. If a piece of jewelry used to belong to a famous person, it may be sold at a high price as there are collectors for whom the piece has much value.
An illustrious example is an engagement ring given by Napoleon to Josephine de Beauharnais in 1796. A simple golden band, called “toi et moi,” it features an opposing tear-shaped blue sapphire and diamond. In 2013, the historic ring was sold at the Osenat auction house in France for $939,000, though its estimate price was $20,000! An anonymous admirer of Napoleon was happy to pay near a million dollars to own this ring!
Of course, we should not forget about craftsmanship and design. Sometimes a piece of jewelry is made of inexpensive materials but the craftsmanship is exquisite and impeccable with fine details that make the piece unique. Using inexpensive gems, Faberge created masterpieces that now cost a fortune.
Brand names are another price-forming factor. If a piece of jewelry was created by a renowned jeweler – such as Jean Schlumberger, Verdura, Cartier, etc. – it will fetch a very high price.
Demand and fashion are important as well. Of course, these criteria may change with time. For instance, today, Regency era antique jewelry is becoming popular again thanks to the Netflix show Bridgerton.
All of these factors will impact the value of jewelry.
Do you know the value of the pieces in your jewelry box? It may be worth while to get them checked. The first step is to carefully look at the jewelry. Put aside any pieces that might have value.
If there are family heirlooms you received as inheritance, it makes sense to find out what they’re worth. I would recommend taking them to a certified gemologist who appraises jewelry. Though you will pay a fee for the appraisal, it’s worth it.
The gemologist may recommend additional tests, for instance, to establish the provenance of rubies or emeralds, or whether a pearl necklace is made of natural pearls.
Whatever the case with your jewelry box, knowing what’s in it may give you an extra boost in confidence when you wear your valuable pieces. And it may be worth it when you decide to pass it on.
What does jewelry mean for you? Does any of your jewelry have an interesting origin? Do you have a piece of jewelry that is transferred as an heirloom in your family? What questions regarding jewelry would you like to ask?