Selling guides

How Much is My Jewellery Worth?

antique and vintage jewellery
This article covers:

When you have a jewellery box or bedside drawer that’s filled with all kinds of jewellery, it’s easy to be dismissive of the pieces in your collection. Whether they’re broken, or unloved, you’re unsure of their origin or you have a box filled with costume jewellery and precious stones, don’t allow yourself to be convinced that they’re of no value - especially if you’re thinking about getting rid of them.

What Makes Jewellery Valuable?

Whether you have treasured possessions or long-forgotten trinkets you no longer wear sitting at the bottom of a drawer, the value of your jewellery is dependent on multiple factors. And it's combination of these factors that will ultimately contribute to the overall value of the pieces in your collection. Below we’ve outlined what some of these factors are:

The Precious Metals Used

Jewellery made of precious metals like gold, silver and platinum will always be worth something. How much also depends on the carat of the metal (9, 18, 24 etc) - the higher the karat, the more valuable the piece will be.

The Gemstones Used

Gemstones that can make your jewellery valuable include diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds. The rarity and quality of these gemstones will also have an impact on their current value. Other characteristics of precious stones include:

  • Clarity: When gemstones have minimal blemishes or inclusions the higher their value will be.

  • Cut: The cut of a gemstone, will impact its ability to reflect light and its brilliance. Therefore the better the cut of the stones, the higher the value of your jewellery.

  • Colour: If your gemstones are of a brilliant and pure colour then you can expect your jewellery to be valued at a great price.

The Craftsmanship

Whether you have an old engagement ring you want rid of or a box filled with vintage pieces and costume jewellery, the craftsmanship of each piece will also play a part in helping you determine its value.

  • Workmanship: The working and engineering of a precious metal to achieve its desired shape and style, as well as the setting of the stones and its overall look, contribute significantly to the piece's value.

  • Design: Intricate or rare designs are often valued highly

The Brand

Many of us are familiar with the names of highly valued jewellery brands that will certainly give any piece of jewellery a higher valuation. Some of the most well-known include:

  • Cartier

  • Tiffany & Co

  • Harry Winston

  • Bvlgari

Historical Value or Significance

If you have individual items, dating back to Victorian times, antique pieces, something from the art nouveau era or something of cultural significance, then this can certainly impact the value of your jewellery. 

The Condition

When asking yourself how much is my jewellery worth, don't be put off by its condition. Of course, jewellery that is in great condition will always have a positive impact on its value but jewellery in any state whether it's tarnished or broken will still have monetary value.

What Else May Impact the Value of My Jewellery Collection?

All types of jewellery are worth something. While it's natural to look for heavy necklaces, rings and glittering gemstones, remember that even if you have a jewellery box stuffed with costume jewellery, even these pretty pieces can be worth something - there are just different features and characteristics that make them valuable.

While fashion jewellery is often made of lower-value materials, and you're more likely to find it on the high street than a jeweller's shop window, there are plenty of other features that can impact its value:

  • Aesthetics and Design: From an intricately designed necklace to something unique, this kind of jewellery can still hold value, especially if it is similar to high-end jewellery.

  • Materials: The materials used in any piece of jewellery are key to unlocking its value. While precious stones and metals aren't typically used, pieces that are made from high-quality materials are certainly of worth

  • Limited Edition Pieces or Vintage Items: Pieces from a particular era could be considered rare and may be highly sought after by collectors. Therefore you could find your jewellery is worth more than you think.

  • Versatility/Wearability: Classic designs will always be more appealing and make your jewellery worth selling as there is a wider market for them.

The Value of Fine Jewellery 

There will always be a market for fine jewellery, and knowing what to look for within your collection means you won't have to waste time and energy selling items that are not worth much. Take a look out for these features:

  • Hallmarks/Stamps: If your jewellery is made of precious metals such as gold, silver or platinum then it should have a stamp or a hallmark. These stamps will tell you about the purity of the metal and its authenticity

  • Quality of the Metals: Finer jewellery should have minimal scratches or surface damage. Precious metals are expected to stand the test of time and maintain their appearance

  • Weight: The weight of your jewellery will impact its value highly. The heavier the weight, the higher the valuation. Jewellery is weighed in grams or carats

  • Jewellers Marks: Marks and/or engravings from the jewellers who crafted your piece can also give your pieces a higher value

Top Tips for Finding Valuable Jewellery in Your Collection

There are multiple ways you can identify the type of metal you have in your jewellery box at home. Here are some top tips for testing the pieces in your collection:

  • Purity Hallmarks

The hallmarks in your jewellery indicate the purity of the metal and therefore its potential value. This is depicted as a percentage - for example, sterling silver jewellery is marked with "925" as sterling silver is considered to be 92.5% pure silver. And the hallmark 999 on a gold item would indicate it is 99% pure gold.

  • Search for a Maker's Mark

In general terms, pieces of jewellery where you can easily see a maker's mark are more valuable than unmarked pieces, all else being equal. These marks are often depicted as symbols or shapes and are stamped into the metal. There are dozens of different types of maker's marks and you can find a detailed description of these online.

  • Magnets

If you're unsure if your collection contains precious metals or not, then get your jewellery close to a magnet. Most precious metals are not magnetic, so this is a simple test you can conduct without using a registered valuer.

Is My Costume Jewellery Worth Anything?

Simply put: Yes! While costume jewellery isn't valued the same and might not share the same intrinsic value as traditional fine jewellery, fashion pieces can still be sold for a cash injection. This could mean that any art nouveau, vintage rhinestone, art deco pieces or rare glass items you have at home could be worth something!

Real vs. Costume Jewellery: How to Tell the Difference

Once you know what you're looking for, telling real and costume jewellery apart is quite straightforward. All you need to consider are the factors we've mentioned above. Generally, you'll find that costume pieces are much lighter than finer jewellery and often have imitation gemstones or stones of a lower value. In contrast, finer jewellery is much heavier and will usually carry hallmarks that indicate its purity. 

Despite these stark differences, it's helpful to remember that all jewellery has value and if you're looking to get rid of unwanted things or simply enjoy a cash boost, then it's worth selling your old and unwanted jewellery. 

Final Thoughts

No matter what kind of jewellery you have, whether it's some finer pieces simply sitting in a drawer, long-forgotten rings in your jewellery box or you've inherited some costume pieces from a relative, it makes sense to declutter, sell your items online and enjoy a quick cash boost in the process - remember, nearly all jewellery is worth something!

Share article

Ask us anything, and we'll reply as soon as possible

Our friendly online customer support team will answer your questions seven days a week.

* Asterisk means this is a required field
Get your FREE postage pack