Repurpose your family heirlooms

April 25, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Do you have old family heirlooms? Discover how you can create new treasures from old outdated jewelry.

Helpful guidelines on putting your "old gold" to better use:
From Greg Stopka, owner of JewelSmiths

It is helpful to ask around and get references for jewelers that can evaluate your collection of old jewelry. Usually a small shop jeweler can be of help because they have the necessary equipment to determine what is real and what is not; what multiple uses your collection can have that might be of interest to you. Create a list of jewelers that can be of help to you and call them to see if you can make an appointment to come in and sit down to evaluate your collection. Although most small shop jewelers do not charge for their time it some might and it would be appropriate to pay them a small fee for their time. Have a prepared list of all items and bring a pen and paper to take notes next to each item. Try to be as efficient as possible before you walk into the store and be prepared so that the jeweler can immediately start quoting values, prices and possible ideas for other uses.

It is important to determine what you would like to accomplish while you are face to face with the jeweler. You might want to know more than just what the value is of your items are. You might want to repair or redesign (repurpose) some of your collection to wear again or you might just want to cash out and sell it for some fast money. It is important to separate your collection into categories so that you can determine what is best for you. Your collection falls basically under four (4) categories:

1. Fashion costume jewelry - mostly manufactured base metal gold filled, plated, washed or vermeil (gold plate over silver). It usually has manufactured gemstones such as white or colored rhinestones or foil backs. This jewelry has a great look that usually doesn't hold up over time. Jewelry that falls under this category usually does not have resale value and can be donated, gifted, stored or thrown away.

2. Broken or worn jewelry for scrap or melt - precious metal such as gold, platinum, palladium and silver. This collection usually has precious or semi precious gemstones and or diamonds. This category needs to be determined by you to be of no sentimental value or not worth repairing, refurbishing or repurposing. Once this is determined it can be considered scrap or melt and can be evaluated by its weight. The two weights that are used in jewelry manufacturing are gram weight and pennyweight. There are 31.1 grams in one oz and 20 pennyweights to an oz and both can be used in calculating value. Price is determined by precious metal content (gold, platinum...) and karat percentage (8k to 24k). Prices can vary from $8 - $12 (and higher) per grams and $12 - $19 per pennyweights. Gemstones usually do not have resale value, however diamonds are and can be sold by carat weight or size. Usually they command a negotiated price of $100 - $200 and up per carat for smaller diamonds and $200 or better for larger stones.

3. Broken, worn or inherited jewelry for repair - precious metal such as gold, platinum, palladium and silver. This collection usually has precious or semi precious gemstones and or diamonds. This category has sentimental value and can be repaired or restored. The bulk of jewelry that comes into a shop jewelry store is usually for this purpose. Most jewelry that needs repair can be brought back to a very nice luster and polish redeeming itself so that it can be worn once again.

4. Broken, worn or inherited jewelry for redesign or repurposing - precious metal such as gold, platinum, palladium and silver. This collection in most cases has precious or semi precious gemstones and or diamonds. This category is very high on the sentimental list and is usually broken apart and reprocessed to be transformed into a new design creation that fits the personality of the wearer. Redesigning or repurposing is a unique way to recreate something that includes a lifetime of sentiment and memories. It can be very sophisticated design to a very simplistic one that captures what the wearer what to communicate. Whatever the occasion is the design can be created to be anything the wearer what it to be.

JewelSmiths locations:

1600 #B Contra Costa Blvd
Pleasant Hill, CA. 94523 d
925-685-2943

181 Market Placed
San Ramon, CA. 94523d
925-830-9130

For more information, visit: www.jewelsmiths.com


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