How do I know if my costume jewelry is valuable?

How do I know if my costume jewelry is valuable?

If the world didn’t run on perceived value, costume jewelry would be worth next to nothing.

And as it turns out, in some cases it is worth that little. If it’s an item from the past 1-2 decades, you do not have a good chance of selling it well, unless you can document that it was worn by a celebrity.

On the other hand, some sells for a good money. If you have an antique piece at home, it might in fact be worth quite something even if it doesn’t have real diamonds in it.

Uncovering the Value of Your Costume Jewelry: What to Look For

The art of collecting costume jewelry dates back to the Victorian era and has a long history of adornment and adoration. Costume jewelry is an affordable way to express style, sophistication, and flair. It is often associated with Hollywood glamour and providing elegant accents to special occasions.

Unlike fine jewelry made with real gems and precious metals, costume jewelry is made from a variety of materials and can range in price from a few dollars to thousands. Knowing how to evaluate the quality and value of your antique or vintage costume jewelry can help you build an impressive collection of pieces that will be appreciated for years to come.

When it comes time to assess the value of your costume jewelry, there are several factors to consider. Look for pieces that have the following features:

  • Unique design: Look for interesting shapes or designs like geometric forms, floral motifs or unusual stones.
  • Quality craftsmanship: Look for evidence of careful construction and attention to detail.
  • Hallmarks: Check the back of the piece for a hallmark, which can indicate the maker and also signify higher quality.
  • Good condition: Check for any damage or missing stones. Pieces in good condition will often have a higher value than damaged items.

You should also research the history of the piece or of its aesthetic to understand its place in time and how it fits into the current market.

You will need to look into reference books, online resources or book an expert to gain an understanding of the value of your costume jewelry, but let’s just look at one style of antique jewelry that sells quite fast on jewelry marketplaces these days.

Art deco is usually a good bet

Art Deco jewelry is a type of costume jewelry characterized by bold geometric designs and bright, vibrant colors. It was popular in the 1920s and 1930s, but has had a resurgence in recent years as more people become aware of its beauty and style. Art deco jewelry is recognizable by its distinctive angular lines, symmetrical patterns, and vibrant colors.

The materials used to make art deco jewelry are often rare and valuable ones such as silver, gold, and ivory, but the stones are usually only semi-rare gems. Very often, the gold on art deco pieces might be just plating.

Bakelite jewelry (yes, the plastic) was also a hot choice in the days of art deco - plastics were a new invention then and very trendy.


On the other hand, the craftsmanship in early 20th century was still decent enough to leave the antique pieces in great condition. Also, the stones used in the designs often feature attractive, vibrant colors like blue sapphires and emeralds, as well as black onyx and other semi-precious gems.

All this contributes to the relatively good valuation for art deco pieces, even though objectively the materials used are not always so deserving of a hefty price tag.

People often go for antique jewelry rather than for the replica because in general, a vintage piece promises a better craftsmanship.

That assumption is not always justified, lots of modern day indie vendors put a lot of dedication into their craft, but either way, the assumption is there: Antique jewelry is more trusted, and therefore sells at higher prices.

50s vintage earrings at LuluVintageLovelies on Etsy

Collectible costume jewelry can be a fun and rewarding hobby that brings you joy and possibility of financial return as well. With some due diligence, you can build a valuable collection that will stand the test of time.