The Vintage Jewelry Collector

A blog for people who love jewelry, vintage, and handcrafted items.

How to Determine Quality of Unmarked Jewelry

Posted by thejewelryshop on February 3, 2009

There are many different levels of costume jewelry and many pieces are unmarked. If you are collecting jewelry based on appearance rather than designer name, you may wonder how to tell if a piece is well made. While it takes time to learn how to judge unmarked pieces, these are some basic tips that may help you in your search:

  • Weight. The weight of a piece can often indicate the quality. Light pieces that are made with thin metals are often, though not always, of lower quality. Heavy pieces with thick metals that are attractive are often of higher quality. Many factories made designer signed pieces as well as unsigned pieces of the same quality. If you find a piece that looks like the same quality as a designer piece, it probably is.
  • Stones. When collecting rhinestone jewelry, you will run into many pieces with bright, vibrant stones that appear to have depth. This is generally a sign of a higher quality piece. The setting of the stones is another indicator. If the stones are prong set, are the prongs well made & secure?
  • Metals. While the weight of the metal is one consideration, the general appearance is another. Many quality pieces use attractive metals that retain their appearance over time. While a piece of any quality can be destroyed by lack of proper care and storage, higher quality pieces that are well cared for are recognizable in their beauty.
  • Clasps. Higher quality pieces generally have well made, secure clasps.

While these are just some basic tips and will take some practice to implement, with time you should be able to judge the quality of most unmarked pieces quickly and easily.


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