“It belonged to my grandma.” Is it good or is it junk jewelry?

“It belonged to my grandma”.  How many times have you said this when receiving a compliment on a piece of jewelry or other item in your home.  For you it may have sentimental value. But guess what!  Grandma’s costume jewelry may have $$$ cash value! Just because it is costume or in some cases called “junk” jewelry does not mean you should sell it in the next garage sale.  But if you do, some smart collector may get a great buy. 

Look closely at your mother’s or grandmother’s jewelry.  Is there a name on the back? Collectible jewelry includes Boucher, Kramer-New York, Eisenberg, Hattie Carnegie, Miriam Haskell, Jerry, old Sarah Coventry, Coro, Weiss and old Trifari.  Other names you may find are Jomaz, Dior, Givenchy, Ciner, and Policini.  Jewelry made prior to 1950 is considered antique by most collectors.  Many of the fine crystals and stones used in this jewelry were imported from Europe.  

Figurals, animals especially butterflys, bracelets, brooches and necklaces are often the most popular items for collectors. A matching set comprising earrings, necklace, brooch and bracelet is called a parure. 

Hair jewelry is also very collectible and expensive.  This is a tradition dating to the Victorian era when ladies wove hair into jewelry such as bracelets, pins and earrings.  Jewelers fitted the completed pieces with clasps and in some cases compartments for photographs.  Keeping a lock of a loved one’s hair in a special compartment in the back of a brooch, a locket, a ring or a watch fob was very popular and kept your loved one close to you.

There are many good reference books on costume jewelry and costume jewelry marks.  Marks are used to date the piece as well as identify the maker.

About askbeverly

Who am I? I am an individual who values the contents of people's homes for a variety of reasons. I'm called a "personal property appraiser" and certified by the International Society of Appraisers which requires educational courses, examinations, keeping up with current tax laws and every two years taking a course called the Uniform Standards of Personal Property Appraisals. Every five years, I am required to keep up my ISA certification by proving I have a minimum of 100 personal property development credits - that's course hours and actual research time spend on appraisal work. As a long time collector I have turned a hobby into a profession and for the last 22 years worked as an independent appraiser. My specialties include china, pottery, sterling silver, crystal and glassware, costume jewelry, Carnival Glass, Belleek Irish porcelain, collectibles and furniture. Why do you need an appraisal? The purpose of an appraisal may be for obtaining insurance, probate of an estate, equitable division of an estate or divorce, or a damage claim. I also give lectures on several different topics to antique clubs, provide consultations in person, by phone and through email. No my service is not free! But I will also advise you if I believe it is in your best interest to do research on your own if you just want an idea of what something is worth rather than pay for an appraisal.

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