Authored by Daniel Sanders from Four Sales Ltd - May 17, 2012
It can be challenging to quickly differentiate white gold and silver quickly while shopping at an estate sale, but there are some tips that can help you make the right choice and pay the right price for the treasure that you are looking to buy! There are many factors and selling points that play into the value of silver and gold, however gold is more desirable overall and is therefore more expensive. Higher demand means higher price; it does not mean that the metal is any less desirable according to quality. Furthermore, gold is a very popular liquid asset and is often considered a luxury item. It is always a good idea when hunting for these valuable pieces to keep everything every aspect in mind.
1. Gold is almost always labeled by its karat weight on the inner rim of the ring, like 10K, 14K, 18K etc. Some Victorian gold jewelry is not marked. Alternatively, European gold may be marked 585 or 750 which are 14K and 18K respectively. Silver is typically marked either “Sterling” or 925.
2. Gold has a brighter shine, as silver is more grey and less lustrous depending on how recently it was cleaned. Be aware that in some jewelry silver is used as the base metal and is subsequently gold plated.
3. If you are wearing base makeup, rubbing the gold piece on your face should make a black streak.
4. Gold doesn’t rust so if there is rust on a particular item that appears to be gold. It is probably not real.
5. Silver tarnishes visibly within 5-20 years, while gold doesn’t lose its shine after 100 years or more. Just another factor that could help you find the difference between the two!
It is strongly recommended that if you are going to an estate sale with the intention of buying gold or silver items that you bring a loupe with you to better inspect items offered for sale. Items are always marked to the best of our ability, but at the end of the day the decision is yours since all sales are as is, where is and final. Feel free to consult with someone from the Four Sales team about the items being sold. Our staff will always help as much as possible but only a few of our team members are specialized in jewelry. Remember – estate sale finds are not old or new, they are simply new to you!
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