How do I Know if my Old Costume Jewelry is Valuable?


As some items age, they are worth less. This applies to anything from television sets to cars. Jewelry is different though. You probably already know that diamond rings and Rolex watches don't lose their value over the years. In fact, many pieces of jewelry become more valuable over time instead of less so. This is because they are fine jewelry. What about costume jewelry, though? Does it become more valuable or less valuable? Let's get to work answering these questions right now, as well as how you can know what your jewelry is worth.

 What is Costume Jewelry?  

Costume jewelry is also known as fashion jewelry or sometimes statement jewelry. Understanding the difference between this costume jewelry and fine jewelry can be quite simple: it all comes down to the materials that the piece is made with. Fine jewelry is used to describe jewelry made of solid gold, sterling silver, platinum, and other precious metals. This kind of jewelry also often uses genuine precious gemstones like diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires. Figuring out the quality of the metals and the gemstones are all it takes to determine whether a piece of jewelry is considered fashion jewelry or fine jewelry. 

Costume jewelry is usually made with base metals and simulated stones. These pieces are often made with brass, copper, or aluminum. Jewelry made entirely out of textiles or leather, base metal alloys, and even metals plated with precious metals like gold or silver also fall under this category. Simulated stones include plastic stones, cubic zirconia, and Swarovski crystals.

Another big difference between costume jewelry and fine jewelry is whether it is able to be repaired. If your wedding ring's diamond is wiggling, you take it to a jeweler to fix it. Because costume jewelry is made of materials that do not allow for these types of repairs, they are most often unable to be repaired once they have broken. This is because the level of heat that would be required to solder the brass or copper pieces back together would simply leave the gold or silver plating blackened. Thankfully, costume jewelry is available at a much lower price than fine jewelry, so a broken piece is easily replaced entirely instead.

How do I Know if my Old Costume Jewelry is Valuable?

Do not think that just because your costume jewelry does not fit into the category of fine jewelry that it is worthless. This is often not the case! One of the most effective ways for you to tell whether costume jewelry is worth anything or not is by inspecting the prongs on the jewelry. Some costume jewelry uses the same prongs as the ones used in fine jewelry, and these high-quality pieces of costume jewelry are worth something. It is safe to say that high-quality, prong-set costume jewelry would be valuable.

Another trick is to "look for green"- green tarnish that is. If it has a green residue or the finish is delaminating, its value is probably low. Hold the piece up and look for clear detail. Inspect the back of the jewelry carefully, paying special attention to the design details. If it's sloppy or running together, it most likely is cheap. On the other hand, if it’s clean and it has clear detail to it, then the quality may be higher. This brings us to our next point, who made the piece? Most high-end costume jewelry will have the company name or stamp. Costume jewelry made from a sought-after designer brand can be just as valuable as fine jewelry.

Costume jewelry is remarkably affordable for how fancy it looks, and some high-quality pieces are made well and will last for some time. This describes the pieces we have here at Heidi Daus! Our rings, necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and pins are all top-quality. They are made with high-end materials, like white opal and clear crystals- just to name a few.