Reimagined Heirlooms® – A step-by-step guide to identifying your hidden treasures
Grandma’s jewelry from another era or a tangled knot of broken chains? Did you ditch the hubby but keep the diamonds? Would you like to reimagine these treasures into a custom-designed piece of jewelry that you would actually love wearing?
First things first…
Figure out what you have. Some pieces are worth using and some are not. It’s easier than you might think. The most sentimental pieces are a great starting point for your Reimagined Heirlooms®. Jewelry with little meaning, and pieces you no longer wear, might still contain metal that’s worth recycling for credit towards your new piece.
Set aside the costume jewelry…
Even if these pieces have sentimental value, costume jewelry is not suitable for this type of custom redesign. To identify costume vs fine jewelry, look for clues like: discoloration of the metal, glued in stones or most earrings with big plastic backers. These pieces are likely costume jewelry, and not usable for your Reimagined Heirloom®.
Is it real or fake?
Generally, real gold, silver or platinum will feel heavier than their fake counterparts, like brass, pewter or plated metals. This is especially true when you are considering chains and bangles. Imagine two chains of similar size. They should feel equal in weight, but, if one feels significantly lighter, it’s most likely hollow, or fake. Also, when solid gold, platinum or silver pieces wear through, they maintain a consistent color.
Separate the silver from the gold and platinum…
First, separate the metals by color, and then grab a magnifying glass to look for tiny stampings or markings on the metal. They are located in different places, depending on the piece:
- Necklaces and bracelets: on or near the clasp
- Earrings: on the back or on or near the post
- Rings: inside the band that goes around your finger
- Pins/Brooches: on the back
What do stampings mean?
Often, you’ll find more than one stamp on your fine jewelry. There are stamps that disclose metal content and purity and other stamps that identify a manufacturer. If you’re not sure about a stamp, just ask me! I’m happy to help!
Some stamps to look for in gold are 14k, 18k, or 22k, indicating, respectively, 58.5%, 75.0%, or 91.6% purity. In platinum, for example, 850 or 950 mean 85.0% or 95,0% purity. You may see numbers such as 585, 750 or 916 stamped in your gold. These indicate the piece was made in Europe and are the equivalents of 14k, 18k or 22k. In silver, similarly, 800 or 925 represent 80.0% or 92.5% purity (sterling silver). However, silver-plated (with no stamp) and sterling silver can look virtually identical to the untrained eye.
Many older pieces of fine jewelry do not have any markings and would need to be tested to determine the purity of the metal. Luckily, you can take advantage of my expertise to find out exactly what you have.
There may also be additional stampings, such as maker's marks or trademarks. These identify the manufacturer, designer or country of origin and often indicate a luxury, or more valuable piece of jewelry.
In a nutshell, there are too many hallmarks to list, but the fact that your jewelry has any at all, is usually a good sign, indicating it is fine jewelry.
What about the stones?
First and foremost, if your stones mean something to you, they are perfect for Reimagined Heirlooms®
- Most stones can be taken out of their settings and used in your Reimagined Heirlooms®.
- Often, the highest value stones are faceted with good transparency.
- It’s ideal if the stones are without scratches or chips. However, I know talented stonecutters who can re-cut stones or get rid of chips and scratches, if needed.
- Gemstones that have been glued in place may indicate costume jewelry, but I’m happy to check for you.
If you don’t know what the stones are, or if you don’t think you have any usable ones, I’ve got you covered. As a graduate gemologist, and a jewelry designer with over 15-years of experience, I will help you identify your gemstones, or source new ones as needed.
Now the fun part…
So much more than just a piece of jewelry, designing your Reimagined Heirloom® is truly a unique experience. Once we discover what’s hiding in your jewelry box,
- We’ll schedule your private consultation.
- If you have gold or platinum to sell, I'll weigh it and let you know the approximate value. This will be used as credit towards your new piece of jewelry.
- I’ll also examine and test diamonds, measure and inspect stones, all with the goal of determining what you want included in your Reimagined Heirloom®.
- We’ll chat about ideas, lifestyle, likes and dislikes to reimagine your old treasures into something new that you’ll love to wear and that still holds all your memories close!
Are you ready?
Take a peek inside your jewelry box, and contact me today to get started on your Reimagined Heirloom®.