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How Can You Tell if it is Real?

When clients ask me if a piece of jewelry is real or not, they are usually asking to see if the metal and gemstones are natural and not costume jewelry. After being in the jewelry industry for 26 years, there are a few things I have learned to look for. Some of it comes from the experience of knowing what a diamond looks like or how gold feels, for instance, but even I have been wrong which is why I still rely on certain things. Here are some of the things I look for when examining jewelry.

1. Metal Stamp: According to the FCC, any jewelry sold in the United States has to have a metal stamp indicating what the metal is. I look for the stamp which can be depicted as a karat, like 14kt, or as a percentage, like 585. 14kt gold has 58.5% gold content which is why 585 is the same as 14kt.

2. Heft: Gold and platinum both have a certain weight about them. When I pick up a large piece and it feels light, it is a good indication it is costume jewelry. Chains can also be hollow making them super lightweight, and so I refer to the metal stamp.

3. Metal Color or Texture: A costume piece that has been plated with a yellow or white color will often show the plating coming off in worn areas with the brass underneath. That is a clear costume jewelry call!

4. Foil Back: Some costume jewelry has an imitation foil backed gemstone, which means it is glass that has been backed by a thin metal coating in order to reflect more light. Foiling is actually an ancient technique that was used on natural gemstones because they did not have the cutting abilities we have today. That practice has not been used on natural gemstones since the early part of the 20th century.

5. CZ vs Diamond: Cubic Zirconias and diamonds have very different properties. Since diamond is one of the hardest minerals, the facets are very crisp and sharp, even on an old diamond. A Cubic Zirconia is much more soft and has rounded facets which are usually easy to spot.

6. Gemologist Tools: Gemologists use varying tools to make a definitive call on a piece and/or gemstone. There are metal testers, diamond testers, 10x microscope and/or loupe, and Refractometer which measure the refractive index of a gemstone, just to name a few!

I always encourage my clients to bring their pieces in for me to check if they are unsure. I would rather you come in to check and have it be costume rather than assume it is costume and give it away when it is valuable. If you have jewelry you’d like to check, I would love to help you with it. My by-appointment approach means:

  • One-on-one appointments (personal attention and no crowds!)

  • Discretion and privacy (surprises remain surprises!)

  • Expert help from a Graduate Gemologist with 26 years of experience (yep, that’s me!)

Book your FREE appointment with me today!

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