First, consider the metal. 10k gold is common for bargain jewelry sold at chain stores like Wal-Mart or Target, while jewelry sold at fine jewelry stores like Zales is more likely to be 14k gold. Seized auctions may also include pieces made from even purer gold, as purer gold is more commonly used overseas. This gold will be more valuable, but it will also be softer and more prone to damage. Gold is quite valuable right now, so if you can purchase a piece at a seized auction for less than the gold itself is worth, you know you are getting a good deal. To calculate the worth of the gold, you can look up today’s gold price and multiply by the weight of the jewelry. 10k gold is less than half pure gold by weight, so divide by two to get the worth of the gold in a 10k piece.
Next, consider the precious stones in the piece. The auction listing should state what kind of stones there are, as well as their quality, condition, and weight. You can use this information to get an idea of the value. This is easiest with diamonds because there is a very clear color and clarity scale that is used across the industry to determine value. When evaluating softer stones like opals, be sure that they are described as in excellent condition because these stones are prone to scratching.
When you buy at an overstock auction, you will also often be given the country of origin, but this is not as common with a seized auction. This information can be important, because certain countries tend to export gems that have been treated with heat, chemicals, or fillers to improve their color. These stones are naturally less valuable than untreated ones. The auction listing should clearly state whether the gem is lab-created, treated, or natural.
Remember, shopping for jewelry at a seized auction can be a great way to get fantastic prices, but only if you do your homework! Before you bid, make sure you trust the seller and have learned as much as possible about the jewelry you want to purchase. Happy bidding!