A lot of people have old costume jewelry laying around, especially our mothers and grandmothers. While this particular type of jewelry isn’t made out of fine metals like gold, silver and platinum or precious gemstones such as diamonds and pearls, it isn’t all worthless. In fact, some vintage and antique pieces of costume jewelry have accrued in value over the years. Could any of your old pieces of value jewelry be worth more than you think?
Who designed it?
Just because something isn’t constructed out of luxurious materials doesn’t mean it holds no value. Check the maker’s mark of any old pieces you have in your jewelry box and look them up! For example Trifari was a popular maker of costume jewelry that was founded in 1910, and produced accessories for many decades. They’ve produced clip-on earrings in a variety of styles as well as necklaces, bracelets and brooches. The value of Trifari costume jewelry varies, but some pieces can fetch you hundreds of dollars.
Another popular costume jewelry brand is Weiss. This brand, a lot like Trifari, produced a ton of pieces made out of nonprecious metals for a few decades. Now, a Weiss brooch can go anywhere from $50 to $400!
How old is it?
Generally, the older something is, the more interesting and hard to find it is — especially if it’s in good, wearable condition. When it comes to very old costume jewelry, you could have a piece that’s worth a couple of dollars or something that is worth hundreds — and maybe thousands — of dollars. This Antiques Roadshow clip shows that a piece of costume jewelry from 1945 can be worth over $1k.
Things to consider
If you think you might have a hidden fortune in your jewelry box, there are things to consider when looking for value. Broken pieces of jewelry that are missing links in the chains or gemstones from the settings are clearly not going to be worth as much as pieces that are in flawless condition. The same can be said about jewelry that has been restored by a professional versus costume jewelry that has been kept in its original condition and properly cared-for and stored. With a little practice, research and attention-to-detail, you can identify whether or not you have costume jewelry that is worth selling or holding-onto for the values to accrue. However, it is always wise to have it examined by a professional who has experience in appraising antique and vintage costume jewelry.