GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Are your family stones and precious jewels really worth something? No one wants to think their family diamonds are really cubic zirconias, but it's better you have the information now, so you don't get surprised later.
You've probably seen it happen before. Someone thinks they're sitting on treasure when it's not worth a thing or just the opposite, what they thought was trash is really treasure.
Terry Kahn and Karen Lester are independent credentialed gemologists from the Jewelry Appraisers of North Carolina. They joined WFMY News 2's Tracey McCain Tuesday on the Good Morning Show to help you determine how to tell what's valuable and what's not.
Please be sure to watch the video included in this web story to see their full demonstrations.
Kahn offered these tips that most people can do at home.
1. If you have some type of magnification, such as a magnifying glass, examine whether the clasps are marked 14K or Sterling Silver
2. If you have a magnet, place it over the jewelry in question. Pieces that are gold or silver will not be attracted to the magnet.
And when it comes to pearls, Khan offers this advice.
"Some people are confused about pearls and fake pearls. Fake pearls are typically made of plastic and so they're very smooth so if you rub them together you'll feel the smoothness, whereas genuine pearls or cultured pearls have a little grit to them, they're like sandpaper, you can feel it," said Kahn.
Often, spotting the fake is a hard and costly mistake.
At one point, Tracey couldn't tell the difference between $10,000 diamond earrings and a $500 pair of cubic zirconias.
"As graduate gemologists we can't afford to guess," said Kahn. "So we have additional equipment that we use to test and verify and of course if you have a diamond and you're not sure what it is, you can get it appraised and get it insured or at least mark it in your inventory so you know what you have in your possession."
When it comes to safeguarding your jewelry Kahn says to take inventory. That includes these steps:
1. Photograph it
2. Describe it
3. Price it
4, Designate it (or determine what you want to do with it)
Keep that information in a safe place and let a trusted family member know where you keep it.
Also, keep in mind that having a detailed record of your pieces and knowing their value is important for insurance claims, but it will also help police recover your items.
Greensboro Police recommend you:
1. Save receipts or other proofs of purchase for your items
2. Keep and regularly update a list of your jewelry
3. Photograph each item