Gold has long been used as both jewellery and a form of currency. According to the National Mining Association, gold was already being used as "fashion decorative objects" as early as 4000 B.C. (see References). Today, it is still used for jewellery and is gaining more value as the years go on. Many people have quite a bit of gold jewellery laying around their houses or gathering dust in an old jewellery box. Selling such gold could mean money in your pocket, but first you must find out how old it is and how much it is worth.
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Ask the person who gave you the gold jewellery. If you received the gold jewellery from a relative as an heirloom, he or she may have more insight as to how old it really is. Many family heirlooms have been handed down for many generations and can easily more over 100 years old. Finding out who was the original owner of the piece will let you know when it was purchased.
Look closely at any hallmarks (markings) on the gold jewellery. These are little numbers or tiny pictures that will tell you if the gold is genuine and provide a rough date for when it was made. Beginning in the 1830s, for example, a small eagle's head was imprinted on French jewellery signifying that it is 18-carat gold. A ram's head was stamped on gold in France only from 1819 to 1838. These small hallmarks, printed on every genuine piece of jewellery, will allow you to estimate when it was made.
Note the artist's hallmark. Artists/designers will stamp their name, initials, or some other decal on a piece of jewellery to signify that it is their work. One of the most famous artist stamps belongs to "Tiffany & Co." It is stamped on every single piece of their jewellery. Knowing that your piece is genuine Tiffany indicates that it could have been made as early as 1853, when Charles Tiffany took control of the company.
Once you know who made your piece, you can then contact the company for more information. Their skilled jewellers will be able to tell you exactly when and where the piece was made and possibly provide an estimate of how much it is worth.
Take the gold jewellery to a certified jeweller. If you're having trouble identifying the hallmarks stamped onto your pieces, a jeweller will be able to help you out. A trained and certified jeweller will be able to identify the hallmarks, who made it and approximately when it was made.
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