If you’ve never bought a piece of pre-owned jewellery before, our novice’s guide will tell you everything you need to know.
The most important thing when buying a pre-owned piece is to make sure that you are confident in both the seller and the item itself. If anything “doesn’t quite fit” or you want clarity on the information provided, do not hesitate to ask the seller for more information – a good jeweller/pawnbrokers (such as ourselves) will be happy to provide further information wherever possible. We are certain that what we tell you is as truthful and as accurate as it can possibly be.
The reason pre-owned and vintage pieces are so popular is due to the unique charm an older item has. Unlike more modern pieces, pre-owned jewellery comes in a variety of cuts, shapes and finishes which have long since been phased out. However, it is important to get an in-depth look at the piece. Do not be afraid to ask for a loupe! It’s good practice to check that the claws are still prominent, there are no obvious fractures in the metal or stones and that there is nothing else significantly damning about the piece. Again, any good jeweller will be happy to advise you through this process.
It’s easy to get lost among the various metal types and carats out there. There are 4 main types of metal commonly seen in jewellery: gold, white gold, silver and platinum. There are other versions such as rose gold and palladium but these are seen less in pre-owned jewellery. These metal types are also broken down into purity levels (i.e. how much pure gold or silver is used), called Fineness, and as a result vary in price. For instance, a 9ct yellow gold piece which is 37.5% pure is likely to cost less than a similar piece of 18ct yellow gold which is 75% pure. It’s good to find out what metal and fineness you are purchasing as it can affect upkeep.
As with metal type, it is easy to get caught up in all the hundreds of stones in the world. With stones and gemstones, the best way to approach them is with caution. It is easy to assume what a stone is purely on colour but this can lead to complications. For example, a purple stone could be amethyst but it could also be a lovely tanzanite, garnet or quartz. And a blue stone isn’t always a sapphire. The price of a piece will always reflect the type of gemstone so it is best to check before you commit to purchase.
The ultimate piece of mind you can have is with an independent valuation or certificate that states the piece to be as sold. However, this is not always essential and don’t let it deter you from buying that ideal piece. When buying a pre-owned piece, your trust lies with those who are selling it to you. A reputable jeweller or pawnbroker can provide you all the answers in much the same way a valuation can. And bear in mind, pre-owned retailers have a legal obligation to be as honest and as truthful about the pieces they are selling.