How to Sort Your Jewelry Box

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 31,676
    Wendy Adeler Hall owner Adeler Jewelers in Great Falls, Virginia discusses how to sort your jewelry box for cleanliness, wearability and safety.

    Wendy Adeler

    Wendy is a third generation jeweler and is a Diamonds graduate of GIA, The Gemological Institute of America. She is the daughter of renowned Jewelry designer, Jorge Adeler and his wife of 42 years, Graciela Adeler. Together with her sister Valentina Adeler Armour (Graduate Gemologist from GIA) and her father they run Adeler Jewelers in Great Falls, Virginia. She has honed her skills in the industry from a very young age and has worked with her family, in the jewelry industry, full time for over 20 years. She is frequently consulted by local media as an expert in her field and writes a jewelry column in two magazines in Washington DC, Elan Magazine and Washington's Finest.

    Hi. Im Wendy Adeler Hall and my family owns Adeler Jewelers in Great Falls, Virginia right outside of Washington DC. Weve been custom designers of fine jewelry since 1975 and today, Im here to talk to you about how to take an annual inventory or stock of your jewelry box for cleanliness, wearability and safety.

    Were going to begin today by sorting our jewelry boxes. The purpose of this exercise and why it should be done annually is so that you can assess the wearability, the security and the cleanliness of all your pieces. This way you can adequately store the ones that youve decided are precious and the ones that are costume you might find another location for them if they dont all fit comfortably in your jewelry box. The tools that you might find useful today are a jewelry mat of some sort. If you dont have a mat you may use a towel or something that will simply keep you from impacting your jewelry on hard surface like a table. You may also need some sort of magnifying glass. In the jewelry industry, we use a 10 power loop. This is a handy device. A lot of people tend to have them but if you dont, you might find you have just the run of the mill loop or you may find if you are into collecting stamps or looking at photographs closely that you have something of this nature. If youre into collecting coins, you may find you have something like this which is a lit and also very useful for this purpose.

    So, Im going to keep my loop out here. One of the ways that youre going to determine whether a piece of jewelry is precious or costume is by looking for a stamp inside the piece. Jewelers are savvy in the sense that they dont want to tarnish the design of the piece, so they are always going to try and place their stamps in inconspicuous areas. So, some of the stamps that youre going to looking for, 18k, that stands for 18 carat and is most commonly used here in the United States. You may also find 750 stamped inside or on the part of the class which is also another indicator of 18 carat and that is a European marking for 18 carat. So, in this case were going to check here in the clast and well notice that although this is white gold and most people attribute 18 carat as being very yellow. This is actually an 18 carat piece of jewelry. This is also an 18 carat piece of jewelry and that is stamped on the inside of the shank of the ring. Another marking youre going to find is 14 carat. That will be marked by a 14k or by 585 which is the European equivalent. These two pieces here are 14 carat and again they are marked on the interior of the shank. You may also find that there is a trade mark of some sort which will indicate which jeweler made that piece. Dont let that confuse you; youre looking for 14k, 18k.

    Most commonly, 10 carat, you will find, is used for class rings. So, if youve got a ring that looked something like this or you know is your class ring, youll find 10k stamped on the inside. That is also considered a precious metal. So, that is an indicator of 10 carat. You then go to another metal which is sterling silver. Youll find that those are stamped with a 925 or the word Silver. You may also find 900 or Plata which are other indicators that this is sterling silver. 900 is not exactly sterling but its got a little bit more alloy than is 925. But that is sterling silver right there. Youll find gem stones sometimes also set in sterling silver and youll find that this one is stamped over here on the class.

    Some costume jewelry, this is a pin and what would indicate easily that this is a costume jewelry piece is that these seeming gemstones are actually not mounted with prongs but glued into this piece. Theyre also not stamped on the back with any indicator of a precious metal. Here are two chains. This chain has soldered links which means that the links are actually soldered together on the end and its also stamped 14 carat. This is stamped GF for gold filled. It also does not have soldered links at the end. These links could actually be pulled open by using your nails or tweezers and so sometimes thats an indicator that the piece is gold filled and not a precious metal. You can check if the end links are soldered. So, this is a piece of costume jewelry here.

    Dont be confused that sometimes costume jewelry is combined a non-precious metal with a genuine gemstone as is the case with this bracelet. This is jade mounted in gold filled. Youll notice the discoloration of the metal and youll also notice that none of the links are soldered. But, you may want to start a third category for these pieces which are genuine gemstones and non-precious metals. This piece here is the same; it is a gold filled piece. It is stamped on the reverse of the pin, but it actually does have a natural stone. Once you have sorted your pieces in your jewelry box, youll want to keep your precious jewelry inside of zip lock bags or pouches that sometimes are given to you at the jeweler. This will make sure that they dont get scratched and none of the gemstones get nicked against each other. In the case of beads, youll find that beads that are made out of glass or plastic tend to be warmer to the touch than beads that are actual minerals as is the case here with this strand and if you have the opportunity to compare the two, you will easily notice the difference in temperature, so that will be one way of indicating which ones are genuine stones and which ones are costume jewelry. I hope this is useful in sorting your jewelry box and finding what to do with your pieces.