Here are some basic tools that are helpful for collecting and / or buying and selling vintage and antique jewellery. All of these things can be found on Amazon. I find these, along with information readily available on the Internet and in books, is usually sufficient for most situations. I haven’t found it necessary to purchase specialist hallmark books because I’ve found all the information available online; however, you may decide to invest in some appropriate to the country you buy your jewellery from.
1. Gem dealer’s loupe. I would recommend x20 or x30 amplification. They are good for hallmarks, inspecting for damage, looking for inclusions in gemstones and for examining materials.
2. Diamond tester. A precious stone analyzer is a must-have tool if you want to collect and / or buy and sell precious stones. They can be expensive but are worth the investment.
3. UV torch light. This can be used for identifying glass and some gemstones which glow under UV light.
4. Unglazed white tile. This is a good base to rest jewels on and can also be used for testing certain materials (i.e. jet).
5. Digital Scales. It’s essential to have some digital scales. I would suggest ones that can weigh from 0.01 grams to 500 grams.
6. Jewellery Caliper. These are generally made from brass and measure up to 80 mm. They are very helpful to measure jewellery and get ring sizes etc (I don’t find a ring measure is necessary if you have this and a ring size conversation chart, available online).
7. Electronic gold tester. Very useful if you’re dealing in non-hallmarked gold. Tri-Electronics make a variety of good gold testers. I know a lot of people like the acid tests but I prefer not to deal with chemicals when I can help it. Note: If you have gold tested something yourself please be certain to let anyone buying the piece from you know this. Fire assay is the only 100% accurate gold test.
8. A small magnet. One of these is useful to have if you visit markets / small shops and you want to quickly eliminate non-gold
9. Chemical silver testing kit. This is helpful if you want to identify the carat of unmarked silver.
10. Simichrome polish. This is useful if you want to identify Bakelite.
11. Silver dip. This is useful if you’re handling larger silver pieces i.e. myrtle crowns.
Please also see: https://beautifulantiquetreasures.com/2017/08/31/antique-jewelry-care/