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Gold Jewelry, Watches and Accessories

The word ‘karat’ used for denoting metal purity and the word ‘carat’ as a unit of weight for gemstones have the same origin although today they have entirely different meanings. Carob beans (seeds) were used by merchants as a unit of weight for small articles since they were observed to have remarkable consistency in size and weight. At approximately 4 grains a ‘carat’ was the equivalent of the Roman ‘siliqua’ or one-twenty fourth of a gold ‘solidus’ coin from the era of Constantine I. This concept of a proportion of 24ths evolved into the ‘karat’ gold purity designation by the 16th century. For example 18 karat gold is eighteen-twenty fourths pure gold or 75% pure (18/24). This gold content is what is determined by our detailed testing and establish the valuation base for our offer to buy. Since even broken or damaged karat gold jewelry contain the same percentages of gold it can be refined and the gold reclaimed.

There are various forms of purity marks allowed by the U.S. Stamping Act.

There are also other variations found on jewelry manufactured for sale outside the United States. (International Hallmarking) Some common stamps and marks are listed in the tables below.

8 Karat*

9 Karat*

10 Karat

14 Karat

18 Karat

22 Karat

24 Karat








* Below United States standards

Gold jewelry manufactured for interstate commerce in the United States is required to be stamped with the manufacturer’s registered trademark and the metal purity. Unless the article is very worn (obliterating the markings) or is a handmade item the stamp should be visible under magnification. If no markings are visible the item my still be karat gold. Include it in your shipment and our experts can test and evaluate any unmarked items.

If the jewelry article is not made entirely of karat gold then other marking systems can be used to indicate the gold content however small. Some examples are:

Gold filled – a heavy layer of gold is bonded to a base metal layer prior to manufacturing the item. Marks can include: ‘Gold Filled’, ‘1/20th 12K gold filled’, ‘Rolled gold plate’, ‘1/10 14K gold filled’. We can determine the gold content of gold filled items just as easily as solid gold which means we can pay you for your gold filled jewelry as well.

Gold Plated – a thin layer of gold is applied to a base metal article through an electrolyte solution. Marks can include ‘18K H.G.E.’(Heavy Gold Electroplate), ‘gold plated’, ‘20 micron’, 14k G.P. or no markings at all.

Vermeil – basically a heavy gold electroplate over sterling silver, usually stamped .925, 925 or Vermeil. This is purchased at Sterling Silver Value

This does not mean that everything stamped with ‘14K’ for example is genuine. Many counterfeits exist and we have certainly seen our share of 14K brass and nickel. These items are usually easy to spot due to tarnish, discoloration or exposed base metal.

Silver Jewelry, Flatware, Silver Service and Coins

Silver is traded at a price that is much less per ounce than that of gold, however is usually in a form that consists of substantial weight such as sets of silver flatware, service such as trays, teapots, bowls candlesticks, etc. Silver bullion can be in the form of rounds, bars or coins. United States silver coins pre-1964 are 90% silver.

Common Silver Markings






Platinum jewelry brings a very nice return as the platinum contains a higher percentage of precious metal.

Common Platinum Markings

90/10 Plat/Irid






Estimating The Value

Executive Bullion uses the Troy system of weight to determine total metal content. If you don’t have access to a Troy ounce/pennyweight scale you can use these useful conversions to use for another weight system.

We are available to answer your questions between 9:30am and 5:30pm EST.

Weight Conversions

1 pennyweight (dwt.)

= 1.5552 grams

1 troy ounce

= 1.1 oz avoir.

20 pennyweight

= 1 troy ounce


Diamond Jewelry is governed by the “Four C’s”. Cut, Carat Weight, Clarity and Color.

Cut and Carat Weight are the major components of a diamond’s value. The round brilliant cut is the most popular and returns the most light to the eye. It is followed in popularity by the Princess, Radiant, Oval, Pear, Emerald, Marquise and Heart shape cuts, then by the patented and proprietary cuts.

Carat weight is governed by the “magic sizes”. There are price increases with a diamond goes over the ¼ carat, ½ carat, ¾ carat, 1 carat, 1½ carat, 2 carat, 3 carat, 5 carat and 10 carat sizes.

Clarity and Color affect the value of a diamond equally. The further away from flawless a diamond is, the lower is its value. The further away from colorless a diamond is, the lower is its value.

Cut: How a diamond handles light
Much more than just the shape of the stone, the cut derermines how a gem will hold and reflect the light. A stone cut to perfect proportions will reflect light from one facet to another and then disperse it through the top of the stone

Color: The purity of your diamond
As far as most diamonds are concerned, the best color is no color. A totally colorless diamond allows white light to pass effortlessly through it and be dispersed as a rainbow of colors

Clarity: The difference is clear
Most gems contain very natural imperfections known as inclusions. The fewer and smaller these inclusions are, the less likely they will interfere with light passing through the stone.


Spare change in your pocket, purse or dresser could be very valuable. Prior to and including 1964; dimes, quarters, half dollars and dollars were all 90% silver and the Kennedy half dollars from 1965 to 1969 are 40% silver. Due to the increase in price of silver these coins are worth many times their face value.

Even the nickels and pennies can be worth more than their face value. If you have Lincoln cents from 1909 to 1958, the so called “wheat cents” because of the wheat sheaves on the back or reverse of the cent they can be many times their face value. The Indian cents from the 1850’s through 1909 can be worth 25¢ to hundreds of dollars. The Buffalo nickels even in heavily worn condition can be worth 7¢ each and up.

If in doubt bring it to the experts. Coin grading can be subjective, however there are guidelines.

For example:

Poor – 1
The coin type is recognizable and the date and mintmark are barely readable. Heavily worn and disfigured with numerous blemishes.
Fair – 2
Design, lettering and date are worn smooth. Rims are flat or missing. May have serious nicks, dents and defects.
AG – 3
About Good. Very heavily worn with the date, lettering and legends barely readable.
G – 4-6
Good. Heavily worn. Major features visible in outline form center details are gone.
VG – 8-10
Very Good. Well worn. Head of liberty and other major features are visible in outline form, centers are not.
F – 12-15
Fine. Moderate to considerable even wear. All lettering is visible, some only partially.
VF – 20-35
Very Fine. Light signs of wear, major features are strong and clear.
EF – 40-45
Extremely Fine. Slight wear. Excellent overall sharpness in details.
AU – 50-58
About uncirculated. Small trace of wear, attractive eye appeal. Luster diminished in 50, nearly full luster in 58.
MS – 60-70
Mint State. 60 – dull or washed out mint luster, some contact marks. 70 – The perfect coin. No contact marks, hairlines, scuff marks or defects.
PR – 60-70
Proof Coins. Regular issue dies are polished to remove surface marks. Proofs are fully brilliant.

  • 60 – Little if any mirror characteristics, may have heavy marks.
  • 70 – The perfect coin. Very attractive, eye appeal outstanding.

Estate Jewelry

Estate jewelry has been thought of as antique jewelry, but to be called antique it must be at least 100 years old. Most of this jewelry will fall into one of the three categories: Heirloom, Collectible or Old Junk. In other words, just because the jewelry is old does not mean it is all very valuable.

Estate jewelry can be grouped into several style periods:

Approximately 1714 – 1830. Almost all made by hand with intricate wirework. Gemstones were beginning to be faceted during this time and were incorporated into the designs.
Approximately 1835 – 1890. Designs were mainly stars, crosses, leaves and branches. Garnets were extensively used. In the late Victorian period, black stones were used. Also popular were stickpins, bar brooches, narrow bangles and star shaped settings for stones.
Approximately 1890 – 1915. The lavalier (a small delicately styled pendant necklace) was popular. Lighter color, pastel gemstones and pearls were in style.
Art Nouveau:
Approximately 1890 – 1910. Characterized by sinuous lines and the use of natural themes, maidens with long flowing hair, insects, lizards, snakes, sunbursts and crescent moons.
Arts and Crafts:
Approximately 1890 – 1910. Handmade silver jewelry with cabochon and bezel set gemstones. The craftspersons who embodied this movement were of the principle that all jewelry should be made by hand.
Art Deco:
Approximately 1915 – 1935. Geometric style themes with straight, clean lines, filigree being very popular. Common motifs were airplanes, cars, trains and ocean liners.
Approximately 1940 – 1945. Styles are bold and oversized, with a three dimensional cubist look. Rose gold was extensively used. Aquamarines, citrines and rubies were frequently used.
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