Beaded Necklaces, Bracelets, or Earrings
Make sure you look closely at necklaces, bracelets, and earrings with beads on them. These beads can be made from plastic or any type of metal. Don’t pass them up without a closer inspection. The chains or metal making up the jewelry piece can be made from a precious metal.
Take a look at the chain pictured below. Notice the beads are a blue plastic or glass. This makes a person think the piece is costume jewelry. However, take a look at the next picture with the red arrow. The red arrow is pointing to an altered clasp hoop on the chain. Some crafty/creative person cut the chain’s soldered hoop end, put the beads on, and then put a crimp hoop end back on the chain. The purity tag behind the clasp is marked 925. Yep, it is a sterling silver box chain that beads were added to. People alter jewelry all the time to please themselves.
However, creative crafters aren’t always the culprits. The pieces can be manufactured with beads on them. While these beads aren’t necessarily marked with a purity mark, look at the metal they are attached to or strung through, like the actual chain. This metal chain, or dangle part of an earring, might be made from a precious metal. If so, there should be a mark on that part of the piece, so look for it.
The initial response to one of these pieces is costume jewelry, but if you are smart you will look for a purity mark for identification. Get in the habit of picking up jewelry and looking for marks.
That is exactly how I added this piece to my stash. I thought it was costume jewelry when I picked it up. However, when I read the mark I was surprised that it was a sterling silver chain. It cost me a whole fifty cents. Gosh, I just love that price – two whole quarters. Remember this tip, since it is a good way to add to your growing precious metal collection.
Good Luck and Happy Hunting,
Author of Cheap Gold and Silver