Tools of the Trade – Jewelry

Tools to help you evaluate jewelry

When evaluating jewelry you need to be prepared with the proper tools. Thousands of tools exist for evaluating different types of jewelry. We will go over a few of the most common ones.

First, the most important is a jewelers loupe. This is basically a magnifying glass that is used to closely examine watches, diamonds, gold and any other items that are a bit hard to read with the naked eye. A loupe can easily be transported in your pocket or briefcase. The magnification that is used most often by jewelers is 10x. Depending on your environment, a lighted loupe may be a good idea.

If you are a professional in the jewelry industry you might want to get a microscope. This is only true if you examine diamonds and colored stones on a regular basis. Loose diamonds should be looked at under a high powered microscope.

Another very important item that is a necessity to anyone evaluating precious metals (gold and silver) is a scale. A basic digital scale is very small and can fit into a small briefcase or even your pocket. You need to be sure the scale measures in grams (g), pennyweights (dwt) and troy ounces (toz). These are the units of measure used to weigh gold and silver.

A diamond tester is important to have because the fake stones are getting very good. If you plan on buying a diamond tester be sure it tests for moissonite.

A diamond gauge is used to get an estimate of the size of the diamond. It is not exact, but it does measure the diameter of the stone. It is good to use when you can’t take the diamond out of the setting.

If you are testing a lot of gold, sometimes people use a magnet. If the items are magnetic, most of the time they are not gold.

When you work with gold often enough, you might need to test it. Sometimes jewelry is not marked. Also, jewelry can be marked gold, and actually be gold plated. Marks are easily faked. In order to test gold, you need buy an acid test kit. However, this should usually be left to professionals. The acid tests can be very dangerous. You also should use special gloves because acid may burn you.