Antique jewelry is not always easy to identify. To be really sure that what is being sold is actually genuine you need the eyes of an appraiser. These people know what to look for in antique rings, brooches and other pieces from a particular period.

While it is true that it takes years to develop the necessary skills and expertise of an appraiser, you can start learning the art now. Over time and with practice you will be able to identify the telltale signs of antique jewelry from various periods. If you love period pieces, whether you do it just for your own enjoyment or for pay, being able to evaluate antique jewelry is a worthwhile skill.

Tips for Evaluating Antique Jewelry

Some of the things an appraiser needs to do when examining antique jewelry are:

* Check the clasp of brooches and pins to determine if there is any device for securing it so that there is little chance of it opening. Most classic pieces are made so as to minimize the risk of the clasp opening, causing the piece to be lost while being worn.

* Check to see what type of material diamonds and pearls are set in. Genuine pearls are normally set in sterling silver, while diamonds are not.

* Look for signs of repairs or alterations which are most often visible on the back of pieces. This can indicate whether the piece is as valuable as you think and help determine the price.

* Look for the karat mark on the backs of the items and even on the shaft of the pins for brooches.

* Antique rings with cameos vary in design from period to period. For example, those made before 1906 would not have the karat indicating the weight of the silver or gold stamped on them.

While sometimes they are close to the real deal, photographs are not the best things to base an appraisal on. With photographs it is hard to determine the full value of any piece of antique jewelry. In addition, it is extremely hard to distinguish genuine items from copies.

Why Antique Jewelry Needs to be Appraised

There are many reasons why someone may need to have their antique rings or other antique jewelry appraised. The most common reasons are:

* To get the value so that the piece can be insured. Some period pieces are highly valuable and as such it makes sense to insure them in the event of loss or damage.

* Sometimes it is necessary to get a piece appraised for tax purposes.

* The owners of these pieces may decide for various reasons to sell them. An appraisal is necessary to ensure that they get the true value for the item.

* A prospective buyer usually needs to know the value of the piece before committing.

* The owner may simply be curious to know how much a treasured piece would fetch if sold.

Since professional appraisals are expensive, sometimes it does not make sense to get one done unless it is absolutely necessary. By learning some of the rules of evaluating these pieces it is possible to get an idea of the value without spending too much.

There are many ways to learn how to evaluate and appraise antique jewelry. One of the most widely used methods is an apprenticeship under an experienced appraiser.

Working for stores that specialize in this type of work is also a good way to learn this skill. Others may choose to buy books dealing with the subject to get started.

Apart from the technical aspects involved, learning to be your own antique jewelry appraiser can be great fun. You can know whether what you are looking at or considering buying is worth the money. What is better than doing something you love and possibly making money from it?