If you’re in charge of cleaning out an attic or basement, you might literally strike gold as you’re maneuvering through piles of history! It’s not uncommon to unearth old jewelry or valuable heirlooms that have been buried amongst clutter and storage. Grandma’s old jewelry box or a small envelope with a necklace in it could turn out to be a long-lost valuable…
…or you could find yourself holding an elaborate fake. This is the flipside of what might at first be an exciting scenario—that jewelry box full of valuables you found was actually crammed with costume jewelry or worthless imitations. It can be disheartening to say the least, especially if you’re standing in the middle of a pawn shop when you get the news.
Luckily, you can avoid heartbreak and embarrassment by checking to see if your jewelry find is real before coming into a pawn shop in Olathe, KS. There are a couple of ways to do this, depending on the pieces you find:
- Run a magnet over your gold jewelry and see if it attracts. Real gold isn’t magnetic, so it shouldn’t move—if it does, you’re likely dealing with a thin gold plating or colored stainless steel.
- Look for a stamp anywhere on the piece that designates the karat weight—it’s usually 10k, 14k, 18k or 24k.
- Give it a little nibble! Gold is actually a very soft metal, and if you bite it, you should be able to see very small indentations. This is particularly useful for old gold coins and medallions.
- Ever noticed that mirrors get foggy when you get too close and breathe on them? A fake diamond made of glass or zirconia will do the same. Breathe on it and see if it fogs—if it doesn’t, there’s a chance it might be real.
- Check if it’s mounted in real gold or sterling silver. No one is going to mount a real diamond in fake metal! If your metal is the real deal, your diamond might be, too.
- For loose diamonds, drop one into a glass of water. If it floats or only sinks partway, you’ve got yourself a fake. Real diamonds are dense and will always sink.
- Look for a hallmark or brand anywhere on the jewelry. If you see the numbers 800, 925, 958 or 999 in a circle, there’s a good chance you have real sterling silver on your hands.
- Look for any signs of green or yellow discoloration. This is indicative of rhodium or nickel plating, which suggests your silver is fake.
- Silver is a very strong conductor. Put a piece of silver jewelry into icy water for one minute, then hold it in the palm of your hand. If it remains cold for an extended period of time, it could be real silver.
The best way to test if your jewelry is the real deal is to visit a jeweler or pawn shop in Olathe, KS. Not only can a professional tell you if your find is real, they can also tell you its value. When you’re ready to get a verdict on your jewelry—and maybe walk out with cash in hand—come see the experts at Harrison Street Pawn.