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Trinket Or Treasure?

Do you know a fake when you see one? When it comes to jewelry, a careful look could be worth thousands of dollars. And keep an eye out for those flea-market finds; even the most ordinary looking pieces can be valuable.

Is it a diamond or a rhinestone? The most coveted gemstone in the world is also the most imitated. To determine if a piece contains a diamond, look at the setting. If the area behind the stone is closed off with metal, it is probably glass.

Find out about other collectibles described by The Saturday Early Show's Tony Hyman in the Collectibles Archive or visit Tony Hyman's Web site.

If you think you have a collectible worth a lot of cash, send an email to with "What's It Worth?" in the subject line. Or write to "What's It Worth?" The Saturday Early Show, 514 West 57th St., 6th floor, New York, N.Y. 10019.

If the setting is open, hold it up to the light. Cut glass will let the light shine through, while a diamond should block out most of the light. This same test can be used for emeralds, rubies, and other colored gems.

Also, real stones have flaws or occlusion in them. Glass knockoffs are completely clear and may have small gas bubbles inside.

Pearls are another kind of valuable often faked. To test, put it up to your teeth. If it slides smoothly across the enamel of your teeth it is probably glass or plastic. If it feels gritty, it is a pearl.

Fake stones are not necessarily worthless. If put in the right setting, they can be worth $1,000 or more. Costume jewelry created by noted designers can be very valuable. Names like Carnegie, Coro, Haskell, Trifari, Eisenberg, Hobe, Monet, Schreiner, Weiss, and Whiting & Davis, raise the interest of jewelry collectors.

Information for this segment was provided by jewelry expert Jeanenne Bell. She is known worldwide as an author, appraiser, speaker and consultant in the world of jewelry and watches. Her currently available books include How To Be a Jewelry
, Answers to Questions about Old Jewelry: 1840-1950 and Collector's Encyclopedia of Hairwork Jewelry

Bell can be reached by e-mail at:, or through her Web site at

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