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What To Look Out For When Buying Second Hand Jewellery

Purchasing second-hand jewellery can be a tricky task if you don’t know what you are looking for

When you buy new jewellery, you can be certain that it is valued appropriately, that there should be no faults in the piece you have chosen and if there are issues, it will be covered under a warranty.

However, there are many benefits to purchasing second-hand jewellery that simply can’t be missed out on.

We are experts in antique jewellery, and have put together this guide to help you choose second-hand jewellery pieces without worry.

The four C’s

To begin with, let’s establish one of the basic features of jewellery – the four c’s.

Most of us will know carat and cut, but we must also consider clarity and colour.

When choosing second-hand jewellery featuring gemstones, pay attention to the four c’s to work out whether you’re getting a good deal or not.

Take this Art Deco diamond engagement ring from our collection of 1920s jewellery, for instance – we state clearly the colour of the diamond, the oval-shaped cut, the clarity as VS2, and that it is 0.75 carats.

Any reputable jeweller will reference the four c’s in a clear fashion, and this should give you confidence in your purchase.


One of the most important things to assess when buying second-hand jewellery is knowing the piece you are purchasing is exactly what the seller says.

Hallmarks are a stamp on jewellery, and they are assured by the UK Goldsmith Assay company.

These hallmarks tell us the composition and metal purity; for example, all 9ct jewellery will have the purity mark 375.

They can also tell us about the origin of the piece, with makers or brand marks as well as the year of production to show when it was made.

In line with the 1973 Hallmarking Act, all pieces above the legal threshold are hallmarked or sent for assessment and remarked accordingly.

However, it is important to note that most pieces created before 1973, such as 1950s jewellery, will not feature a hallmark, as this process was not standardised until this year. With this in mind, here at Gatsby Jewellery we use a Niton metal analyser, which tests the materials of the jewellery to ensure that the metals are exactly what they are supposed to be.

Second hand designer jewellery

As we’ve just mentioned, all fine jewellery is hallmarked to indicate its origin, and this includes brand marks.

Designer jewellery brands like Tiffany and Cartier have very distinct maker marks.

For example, Cartier jewellery will have a C next to the purity mark – in the instance of this ring, the whole brand name is etched into the back of the ring.

Second hand jewellery can also come with other supporting materials, like authentication certificates and original packaging.

What condition should second hand jewellery be in?

All second-hand jewellery sold by us is like new, cleaned and refurbished to ensure the highest quality.

We are proud members of The National Association of Jewellers amongst many other organisations, proving our expertise and providing you with confidence in the jewellery we sell.