Skip to main content
Cash Express - Pawn Shop

Call Today: (215) 922-1560

our twitterour facebook page pintrest instagram


Thursday, March 04 2021
How to Spot Unique & Valuable Estate Jewelry

Most people know that pawn shops are excellent places to find all sorts of jewelry. On occasion, you can find some truly special and valuable pieces if you peruse a couple of pawn shops.

If you enjoy jewelry, and you’re looking for especially unique and valuable pieces at pawn shops, you have to know how to spot them.

With that in mind, here are some tips for identifying unique and possibly valuable estate jewelry.

But first, a quick definition of estate jewelry.

What is Estate Jewelry?

Estate jewelry is really any jewelry that is used or previously owned, but primarily older pre-owned pieces. The word “estate” comes into play because someone owned it at some point. Since jewelry is valuable, it was likely part of their estate, thus the name.

What to Look For

The Patina

As people wear a piece of jewelry through the years, it builds up to wear over time. This is called a patina on estate jewelry.

The patina can be made of skin oils, dirt, and polish. If the metal reacts with the air in some way — such as if it's silver — that adds to the patina.

Contrary to what you might think, patina adds value rather than subtracting from it. It adds character to the piece, but it also proves that the jewelry truly is an older piece.

So if you spot jewelry with a patina at the pawn shop, don’t shy away from the piece. It may be quite old and valuable.

Jeweler’s Mark

The law requires jewelers to inscribe their marking on their jewelry. That said, plenty of jewelers have been doing this for longer than it was legally mandated.

A jeweler’s mark is a useful tool if you already know a piece is old. If an old piece has a jewelers mark — and it was made before the mark was required — then it’s probably of high quality.

Additionally, the mark can help establish where and when the jewelry was created — another important factor in determining its value.

For Gold: Quality Marks

If the estate jewelry is made of gold, there’s likely a mark indicating its purity.

The marking you’re more familiar with in the US is the two-digit marking followed by a “k”, such as 22k (22 karat gold). The other type of marking is a three-digit number — your jewelry may have this instead if it was made in Europe.

In both labeling systems, higher numbers indicate a higher purity of gold.

With that in mind, these markings can help you identify the value of a gold jewelry piece, especially if the patina makes it hard to tell.

At Cash Express in Philadelphia, we have plenty of beautiful pieces of jewelry for sale. We’re also happy to look at any pieces you have and get you a fair price fast. Come on in today, and bring your jewelry if you’d like to pawn it.

Posted by: AT 10:24 am   |  Permalink   |  Email

Cash Express  • Philadelphia Pawn Shop

731 Chestnut St. Philadelphia, PA 19106 -  (215) 922-1560