When you have fine jewelry that you have had for a long time or inherited from a relative, you may want to know what it is worth. To research the value of this jewelry, start by examining it closely. Research similar jewelry on the internet or in fine jewelry reference books for comparison.

This examination and research is a good way to begin to find the value of your fine jewelry before you have it professionally appraised. Once you know the official appraisal value of your jewelry, you can decide if you wish to keep it or sell it. Here are some things you can do to examine your jewelry.

Diamond Jewelry

The value of diamond jewelry depends on the quality of the diamonds in the piece. Diamonds are judged by the four C’s of diamond valuation: cut, color, clarity, and carat weight. With a magnifying glass, examine your diamonds for the following qualities.


Look closely at the facets of a diamond on the top as well as underneath where the facets meet at a sharp point. Are the diamond facets straight and even? Are there any chips or scratches on the surface of the diamond?


Diamonds come in many colors and can range from colorless to lightly colored. To examine a diamond’s color, take it outside in the natural sunlight and look at it carefully. What color or colors do you see that flash from the interior of the diamond? Are these flashes pure crystal white? Does the diamond have any yellow, brown, or blue flashes within the stone?


Look in the interior of the diamond. Look for a crystal clear diamond without any cloudy areas or visible inclusions in the stone. If you find any flaws, make a note of them for your appraiser.

Carat Weight

Diamonds are weighed in metric carats. To weigh a diamond, you need a gemstone scale. If you do not have a scale, you can measure the size of your diamond with a metric ruler and make a note of the size for your appraiser.

Precious Metal Jewelry

Look at the back and underside of each piece of metal jewelry to find the markings stamped on the metal. These markings will indicate the kind of metal in the piece, the purity of the metal, the artist or company that created the piece, and sometimes the country where it was made.

Gold Jewelry

The purity of gold jewelry is indicated by a standard karat mark that denotes the percentage of gold in the piece: 9K (37.5% gold), 10K (41.7% gold), 14K (58.5% gold), 18K (75% gold), 22K (91.6% gold), and 24K (99.9% gold). Additional karat markings are also used on jewelry made in other countries.

Silver Jewelry

The purity of silver jewelry is indicated by a standard numerical mark that denotes the percentage of silver in the piece:  a .999 mark (pure silver) indicates the piece is 99% pure silver; a .975 mark (sterling silver) indicates the piece is 75% silver.

Copper Jewelry

The purity of copper jewelry is indicated by a combination number and letter mark that denotes the percentage of copper in the piece: a 4N mark indicates the piece is 99.99% copper; a 7N mark indicates the piece is 99.99999% copper.

Once you have examined and researched your jewelry, you can take it to an appraiser to have a professional appraisal made of each piece. In this way, you will know exactly what your jewelry is worth and you can decide if you would like to keep it or sell it.

For an expert identification and appraisal of your jewelry, contact Chicago Art House Gallery. Our experts can determine the value of your jewelry, advise you of current market rates, and even offer you a fair and equitable price for your fine jewelry if you wish to sell it.