How to tell if Your Jewelry is Real or Costume


Jewelry is one of those costly indulgences whether it is quality metal and stones or costume. That is why it is so important to take care of your jewelry, but how you take care of it is different from piece to piece depending on the materials and methods it is made of. So here are a few tips to help you sort through your jewelry box distinguishing which of your pieces are real and which are costume pieces.

What to Look for when determining if it’s real or costume.

61 With so many different types of jewelry on the market today from cheap junk to high end costume to real metals and stones it can be difficult to tell what is what. Some things to look for when attempting to sort your jewelry into classifications for cleaning and storage purposes are:

  • Check the claps and insides of rings for the carat stamp. If your jewelry is genuine alloy (i.e. gold, silver, platinum, etc.) there will be a stamp that indicates the amount of metal alloys contained. You may need a magnifying glass in order to read the stamp clearly. Typically you will see either 10K, 14K, or 18K as U.S. indicators or 585, 750, 900 or 925 as European markings that indicate the same thing. Note that if the stamp says GF that stands for “gold filled” and is not considered real jewelry.
  • Stones will not have these markings, but for items such as beads you can tell the difference between glass or plastic beads versus true gem stones by the feel. Glass and plastic beads will feel warmer to the touch in comparison to gem stones. This is especially the case with items like jade or mother of pearl.
  • 62 Look at the setting. Real stones will not be glued into place they will have prongs. Just don’t assume that if it has prongs it is a real stone though, as some costume jewelry does use cheaply made prongs for fast assembly line production pieces.
  • Create a third category of jewelry for your combined pieces; those pieces that the setting or chain are costume, but the stone is genuine. These will be easy to tell as the settings will typically look dull and chafed over time, but the stone will still retain its sheen and appearance.
  • When looking at chains also look at the clasp, genuine metals will generally have soldered links especially at the clasp, while costume or platted chains will be easy to pull apart ring type links.

How to Store your Jewelry

63 It is ideal to keep each piece in its own small Zip Lock or jewelry store pouch in order to keep your pieces from rubbing against each other while in transit or being stored. Once you have sorted your jewelry into their proper categories, try placing each category in its own compartment of your jewelry box. This will make it easier when you are searching for a specific type of jewelry or piece. Place silicon pounces in your jewelry drawers to help keep moisture out and jewelry from tarnishing.

64Jewelry is a fun way to accentuate your wardrobe while adding a little sparkle to your mood and appearance. However taking care of your investment doesn’t have to be time consuming or frustrating when you know what type of jewelry you have. Follow the instructions above and you will not only know what type of jewelry you own, but also the proper way to handle and maintain each of your pieces.