A Golden Opportunity

A few of you may have read in a previous post about my opportunity to evaluate and buy some jewelry from nuns. The jewelry included some of their personal pieces, but mostly things that were used in a ministry that helped homeless women get jobs. The jewelry was used to “spiff up” interview outfits. Cool, right?

It took me about three hours to go through everything and sort it into four groups:

  • Junk jewelry (the biggest category)
  • 14k gold pieces (the smallest group)
  • heirloom pieces that may have belonged to the Polish nun’s family including the amber
  • stuff I wanted to buy (signed costume pins, sterling silver bits, crosses)
Crosses I bought: Mexican sterling silver with enameling, mother of pearl cross from Jerusalem and an Ethiopian style metal cross

The other day I paid for what I wanted, but it was decided that I could buy the motherlode of amber jewelry too, if I wanted. Yes, please! 


What a bounty! I wasn’t prepared to pay for all this on the spot because I want to give due diligence in setting fair prices for them and me! And truth be told, I know zip about amber, but it’s a wonderful opportunity to learn.

Here’s the most basic info:

  • Natural Baltic amber – uneven in color and shape, typically not cut to a regular shape
  • Pressed amber – real amber bits melted and pressed to form beads, etc., larger pieces tend to have a lot of “sun spangles”
  • Copal – immature, recent resin, not really amber
  • Ambroid – small pieces of real amber embedded in plastic
  • Imitation amber – glass or plastic

There are a number of tests I can do to have figure out if this is all natural amber…which I think most of it is like this nugget necklace.

Natural Baltic amber nugget necklace

But I’m thinking this piece could be pressed amber or imitation by the way it’s been shaped and all the “spangles.”

Pressed amber?

Of course, once I figure out what’s what, I have to figure out a value for it all! And that’s going to be challenging as sold prices vary so widely, as do prices for current items for sale. But it’s a good challenge…a golden opportunity. 🙂

How about you?  Have any golden opportunities recently?


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