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Fine Jewelry

What We Buy

At National Rarities, we buy a variety of jewelry. We consider the type of metal, stones, designer, condition and quality. We begin by asking a few questions about the pieces while we look them over. We ask questions such as: Why are you selling this item? Who owned the piece?

What We Do

Our estate specialists look for hallmarks specifying the metal's type and purity and sort them accordingly. After the items are sorted, the buyer will examine the stones to determine their carat, cut, clarity and color. Then they weigh the items to calculate the value of precious metals. 

How We Determine a Price

Current market trends are considered when determining the price of everything we purchase. Sometimes, this requires extra time if the buyer needs to check our records or get a second opinion. We take this extra step to ensure we offer the best possible price. 

How We Make an Offer

After the buyer has collected the necessary information, they will verbally communicate their offer and write it down. They will continue to evaluate and price items until everything has been assessed. The estate specialists are happy to answer questions or explain how we determined a specific offer. Sometimes, we have a coworker take another look. 

Going the Extra Mile

Recently, a vintage gold charm bracelet was brought to one of our events. The charms ranged from gold-plated to 18-Karat gold. They were soldered onto the bracelet, so removing and weighing them without damaging the piece was impossible. All of the charms were counted and tallied by their purity level. An initial price was determined, but to ensure accuracy, another estate specialist re-examined the piece. Both buyers generated the same number, so the offer was conveyed and accepted by the client. However, they wanted to keep one of the charms. Our estate specialist removed the charm, deducted the value of that piece from the offer and completed the sale.

Scrap and Broken Jewelry

All of our items are assessed for resale, but we buy scrap or broken jewelry too. One memorable purchase was a delicate 14-Karat gold hoop a pet had chewed on. The piece was beyond recognition or repair. However, it was a quick transaction to determine the current market value of the gold and make an offer. 

If you need clarification on the type of metal or stone in your pieces, bring them to us! Our estate specialists are happy to sort through items and let you know which ones we will purchase.

Colored Gemstones

Most color gemstones do not have much resale value because they are often treated. Because of this, we require a prominent lab certification such as GIA or AGS. This certifies the authenticity of the gems and discloses if the stone has had any treatments or simulations done to enhance the color or clarity. Many think that because their item is older it is not enhanced. However, synthetic gemstones have actually been around since the 1800’s! 


What We Buy

We purchase gold in necklaces, bracelets, rings, etc. in all kinds of karats and purity. We also buy white and rose gold and dental gold.

Types of Gold

Gold is on a 24-karat scale with 24-karat being .999 pure gold. The most common types of gold that we see are 10k (41.7% purity), 14k (58.5% purity), 18k (75% purity). 

White gold is an alloy of gold mixed with other alloy metals that have a silvery-white color, such as palladium, nickel and silver. Rose Gold is an alloy of gold mixed with copper. Most commonly 75% gold and 25% copper. Dental gold is always in yellow form and typically used for crowns and fillings (smaller items).The general purity of dental gold is 14k-18k. 

Identifying Gold

Gold, just like silver, will have markings on the item indicating what purity it is. These “hallmarks” are usually located on the inside of the band of items like watches, rings, necklaces, etc. For example, there may be a marking on the inside of your ring that says “18k”, which indicates that it is 18-karat gold. 

Scrap Gold

Not all gold we purchase needs to be jewelry and is in sellable condition. We buy broken gold chains, dental gold, class rings, mismatched earrings and more. These pieces still hold precious metal value which really does add up to a surprising amount of value!


What We Buy

The most common type of silver that we buy is Sterling Silver. These are marked somewhere on the item with “Sterling” or “925”. While more rare, we do buy coin silver. Coin silver is strictly made in the United States and is usually marked with “COIN” or “PURE COIN”. Although commonly mistaken as Sterling Silver, we do not buy Silver Plated items. Silver Plated items have an outside layer of Sterling Silver, but have nickel or base metal underneath that layer. To tell whether the item you have is plated, check for the Sterling Silver markings known as hallmarks (often STERLING or .925 . 835 etc). Silver Plated is hard and will not bend like Sterling or Coin silver. 

Flatware and Serving Pieces 

We also buy Sterling Silver flatware and serving pieces. Sterling flatware and servings pieces will have the same markings as other Sterling items, with the word “Sterling” stamped into the flatware. This is usually visible on the back of forks and spoons, or the handle of knives. For serving pieces this mark is usually on the base or back of the item. Some common makers of Sterling Silver flatware sets and serving pieces are Gorham, Reed & Barton, Wallace, Towle, Georg Jensen and Tiffany & Co. If the word “STERLING” is not on the flatware, it is most likely silver plated, which has no monetary value and can be donated or given away. 

Native American Jewelry

Most Native American jewelry pieces are made of sterling silver and will have the hallmarks shown above. Common pieces we see are squash blossom necklaces, turquoise and red coral rings, concho belts and cuff bracelets. Highly desirable pieces like this will also have the artist’s stamp which usually consists of their initials. Jewelry of this category sells best with its original patina and wear – do not polish these items!


What We Buy

We purchase natural diamonds of any cut, color, clarity and carat weight. Diamonds can be loose or mounted stones. We have graduate gemologists and accredited jewelry professionals on staff who will grade and identify your stone. We are equipped with the proper tools necessary for testing a diamond's authenticity, measurements and characteristics. The four characteristics of diamonds we examine are the cut, color, clarity and carat weight


When you hear the term “cut” when referring to a diamond, most people are thinking of the shape. However, cut actually refers to the symmetry and polish of a diamond. These factors have to do with how the facets interact with light to give it that sparkle!  There are five cut grades: Excellent (EX), Very Good (VG), Good (G), Fair (F) and Poor (P).


The color scale goes from D-Z. D meaning completely colorless which is the rarest and most valuable while Z is typically not something that would be used in jewelry. Deciphering color is a trained skill that cannot be determined by the untrained eye. 


Clarity measures the transparency of the stone. Things that factor into this are inclusions and imperfections. There are 6 categories for grading clarity; Flawless (FL), Internally Flawless (IF), Very Very Slightly Included (VVS1 & VVS2), Very Slightly Included (VS1 & VS2), Slightly Included (SI1 & SI2) and Included (I1, I2 & I3).

Carat Weight

Carat is a unit of weight, rather than size. 1 carat weighs roughly the same as a single paperclip. More carats doesn’t mean a better diamond, simply because you have to take into account the other four characteristics. 

Noteworthy Past Purchase

One of our estate specialists, Brandon, had a customer at MJ Christensen Diamonds with a 7 carat round brilliant cut diamond. The diamond was set in a brooch that had belonged to her aunt. When her aunt passed away, our customer inherited this brooch and assumed the diamond was fake. Brandon noticed the brooch hidden in a bag of costume jewelry. After evaluating the gemstone, Brandon was able to properly grade the diamond and offer the customer an amount of money that almost made her fall over! 


What We Buy

We purchase all sorts of brand name and upscale watches, such as Rolex, Tissot, Elgin, etc. While we purchase an array of watches, there are three specific movements that we are looking for. These are manual mechanical, automatic mechanical and quartz battery operated watches. 

Manual Mechanical

These watches are wound by hand or by key to set the time. The watch has mechanical movements, which are caused by the springs and gears on the inside of the watch. This type of watch was seen as revolutionary at the time of its creation, but now, they are seen as cheap watches. 

Automatic Mechanical

Automatic Mechanical watches wind as the hand moves. Just like the Manual Mechanical watch, it has a mechanical movement that is powered by springs and gears. Today, Automatic Mechanical watches are viewed as a luxury item. 

Quartz Battery Operated

The Quartz Battery Operated watches are extremely accurate. While they can be made very cheaply, they were once the height of watch technology. These types of watches can encompass all modern technology such as GPS, a radio clock and more. 

Noteworthy Past Purchase

One of our estate specialists, Chrissy, purchased a WWII Liftwaffe Pilot’s Flieger Chronograph wristwatch at Ketterman’s Jewelers. During the War, Hanhart supplied pilots and naval officers with their flagship flyback chronograph watch, which was made to withstand the harshest military conditions. The large case and nipple pushers with radium numbers were designed for ease of use. That way the watch could be read in the dark and operated while using gloves. This watch specifically is not branded anywhere and not recognizable to most people. The customer had inherited this watch from her grandfather and didn’t know much about it. We were able to give her some history on the piece. She was happy we were able to purchase the watch, restore the piece to working condition and then sell it to an appreciative collector. She was so enthusiastic that she came back to the event with more items. Plus, she brought photos of her grandfather wearing the watch in front of his fighter plane during his time in Germany.


What We Buy

We purchase a wide variety of coins, such as old United States currency, some foreign currency and numismatic and bullion coins. While we accept most coins, we most often see dimes, quarters and half dollars from the mid 1900s. 

What Are My Coins Worth?

The two ways that we determine the worth of the coin is by its scarcity and condition. While most coins we see do not have much scarcity, customers can often get the value of what the coin is made up of, whether that be silver, non-silver, or gold. 


When talking about scarcity, we ask: How many of this coin were minted? And: Are they still around today? 


When looking at the condition of coins, we use the Sheldon grading scale. This grading scale gives us a better understanding of how much wear a given coin has. The scale goes from 1 to 70. The scale is as followed: Base (1), Fair (2), Very Fair (3), Good (4-6), Very Good (7,8,10), Fine (12,15), Very Fine (20, 30), Extremely Fine (40), About Uncirculated (50) and Mint State (60-70).

Noteworthy Past Purchase

A 1895 proof cameo Morgan silver dollar valued at $45,000! The 1895 Morgan dollar from the Philadelphia Mint may be the most famous U.S. silver dollar in the world. Only the 1804 silver dollar has a greater reputation. That's because, even though the records show that a tiny 12,000 Morgan dollars were struck in 1895, no one has ever seen one.The only 1895 Morgan dollars that are known to have actually been released are 880 proof versions. It is estimated that roughly half of these coins still exist. This means there are approximately 400 coins that every Morgan dollar collector must compete for, if they desire a complete date set.


What We Buy

We buy an array of rarities, including pipes, toys, sports memorabilia, military memorabilia, old autographs, photographs/tintypes, etc. We look for rarity, condition, quality and demand when purchasing antiques. These characteristics help us to determine the current market value of each item. 

What We Do

Our estate specialists will begin by examining the piece, asking a few questions and doing necessary research. The specialists will look for hallmarks, name brands, signatures, dates and anything that can give us information. If it is a functional piece, like a wind-up toy, our estate specialist will need to know if it works. They are also assessing the condition, seeing if it is scratched, damaged or in need of repair. The current state of the piece may affect price or desirability. Additionally, the ability to transport the piece to our office has an impact. 

If your item is heavy or awkward, leave it in the car and let us help you bring it in. Our estate specialists are prepared to assist in sorting things and answering questions as they work.

How We Determine a Price

Our specialists may need a few minutes to research to offer the best price. They will check records to see how a comparable piece recently did on the market. If your item has accompanying paperwork, please bring it with you. The estate specialist may need to take photos and send them to another associate for authentication or additional information. 

After they have completed these steps, they will convey a price for the piece.

Fine Art & Luxury Goods

What We Buy

We purchase a wide variety of luxury goods and fine art pieces including designer handbags, original artwork by known artists, pens and more. 

Prints vs. Original Artwork

We do not typically purchase artist prints. A print is a reproduction of an original work of art. Some prints are numbered meaning the artist has indicated on the art that this piece is X numbered print out of a total of X prints created in that particular edition, making it a limited edition.The easiest way to tell if your artwork is an original is through using a magnifying glass. In many cases prints are made up of tiny colored dots that are arranged in a repeating pattern throughout the painting. 

Designer Handbags

Some designer handbags can hold value to resell depending on brand and condition. Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Gucci, Fendi Chanel and Prada are brands we are interested in purchasing. A rule of thumb for what we purchase is that the purse needs to have a retail value of $1,000 or more. We have experts on staff who can authenticate these items and we also have access to the latest software programs used to identify them. 

Fountain and Designer Pens

Vintage fountain pens and some designer pens can be quite valuable. Our estate specialists will identify the brand, model and condition when determining the value. Most common vintage fountain pens use gold nibs which increases the value. Montblanc, Meontegrappa, Parker, Waterman, Cartier and Sheaffer are some of the most sought after brands of fountain pens.