Random jewelry

I wasn’t very lucky finding precious metals this summer, but since August (or so) I’ve been finding bits (and chunks, more on that later) of gold & silver pretty regularly. I doubt it has anything to do with the pandemic, it’s just another example of how random and unpredictable garbage can be.

Rich kids seem to be a good source of garbage gold. I imagine they often get jewelry as gifts, and since jewelry is a personal taste thing a lot of these gifts probably aren’t appreciated. Or, they just grow out of that style over time. Either way, these kids might not understand the value of the gifts they receive, and being rich they have no particular motivation to figure it out (unless it’s something really spectacular where the value is emphasized). So, when the kid, or the grown-up adult has to clean out their bedroom because their parents are moving, or turning it into a pool room, some of these gifts – which may also have achieved “old junk” status over time – end up on the curb. That’s my theory, but I think it’s a good one.

Anyways, I stopped at this spot because it was across the street from another house I was keeping an eye on. There were several bags on the curb – definitely some kid’s old stuff, most of which was actual junk. But at the bottom of one bag was a golden surprise.

I picked out a 14k bracelet feat. dog charms and a 10k locket feat. a small diamond. The bracelet had a bit of weight to it, I forget how much exactly but I remember the total scrap value being in the 350-400$ range. That kind of haul definitely makes my day, and helps offset any less lucky days I might have.

Rarely do I find my jewelry out in the open, but this small collection was in a box for anyone to find (though you’d have had to move some junk around to see it). If this was in the Plateau, someone else probably would have found it before me, but because it was a Westmount apartment I was probably the only one to take a peek.

Here’s the best of the bunch. The ring in the middle seems to be unmarked 14k gold based on my tests. The bar brooch is also 14k, if I remember right. I found one old silver napkin ring by Asprey, a luxury goods company based in London (England, not Ontario) whose Art Deco era catalogue I found and sold for 400$ back in 2015. Another notable silver piece was that bracelet on the left, which was French silver and maybe real tortoiseshell. Otherwise, the big dangle earrings are signed Chantal Thomass, and people seem to like her stuff – I listed them at 150$ on eBay (now reduced to 125$). The other bracelet at top left has a brutalist look to it, there’s a couple little makers marks on there but I can’t make them out.

Sometimes people pillage their old jewelry boxes and toss out the “dregs.” Fortunately, those dregs are sometimes pretty good.

In this box, I found a gold & pearl necklace, a gold Star of David, a silver Greek key bracelet, a Mickey Mouse watch, and an interesting (and probably antique) silver & Wedgwood jasperware brooch. There were a few other “junky” pieces, but most of these dregs were decent.

I passed by this house again last week, a few months after this little haul. There was a dumpster out front and it looked pretty empty, so I guess they moved (though I never saw a “for sale” sign).

Here’s a few things from a one-off in Cote St-Luc. There’s one 14k gold chain in there, and the rest is silver. If I remember right the little rock in the silver necklace on the bottom is a diamond.

More recently I scrounged together a whole bunch of jewelry – again, kid stuff – from some bags on the curb not too far from Vendome metro. All in all I saved nearly five pounds of jewelry. Probably 95% of this collection was unspectacular costume stuff or broken (which ends up going to crafty folks), but as is most often the case I was able to pick out a few treasures.

(Also, I rescued the electronic scale elsewhere around a month back. I found a bunch of old, never used makeup in the bags, as well as a laser printer, so I’m guessing someone just gave up on their side hustle makeup business. Either way, it’s pretty useful to have at my garage!).

Anyways, for gold we have a ring marked 750 (18k, though according to my acid test it’s probably closer to 14k), as well as some earrings with real dark stones. Otherwise, I saved a Birks pendant (the heart-shaped one), a set of silver & green enamel leaf earrings/pendant (hallmarked 950, which probably means they’re fairly vintage as 925 / sterling is now the ubiquitous silver standard), a silver cat brooch from Ecuador, a silver & amber pendant, a couple silver bracelets, and a sterling 1938 Stratford Music Festival pendant.

I found this collection after deciding to try one of my less regular routes. I haven’t seen anything else in front of this house in the weeks since, so I guess my timing was pretty good here! Also, the week after, when I did this route again to see if these guys would toss out more stuff, I ended up finding a bit of gold & silver in front of a different house. I think that adds to the theory that I’m just a bit lucky right now.

And this is just the beginning really. Lots more to come, hopefully soon. I’ve haven’t been able to get my head into blogging lately, though the words are coming out pretty quickly tonight.


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12 thoughts on “Random jewelry”

  1. Once again the best thing on WP. I’m local and can’t get out to search curbs (though I have found a few good things curbside, including my gorgeous 50s kitchen chairs)…I’ve been really lucky in used/theist stores here over the years. We’ve got it covered 🙂

  2. I have never been one to appreciate charm bracelets but I LOVE that doggie one. Oh well, scrap metal it is. Haha. Glad you saved all of this stuff and the scale will be so useful. I use mine all the time for eBay sales. That looks like a good one. Great finds all! Thanks for sharing. Hang in there, Martin. We here in California are about to go back into Lockdown and this time I hope to actually accomplish more and get my house cleaned out. For me that means selling and giving away, but for others that surely means MORE TRASH and more finds.

  3. The heart diamond locket is late Victorian or Edwardian. You might be able to get it for more than scrap value on etsy.

    1. I don’t think it’s that old, definitely made in that style though. I brought it to the auction house, there’s not much in weight so it’s definitely worth more as a piece, especially with the little diamond.

  4. Holy cow! Zowie! And gadzooks too! (I’m dating myself here, hahaha.)
    The smallest finds sometimes reap the biggest rewards.
    That Wedgwood jasperware brooch is a beauty. And the a silver & amber pendant is sweet.
    I also like the Frida Kahlo jigsaw puzzle (which sells for $18 on Amazon).
    And BRAVO on the scale! Now you have a backup. 🙂

  5. Wonderful finds, Martin! The jewelry blogs are my favourite ones. I haven’t been able to get to the yard sales this past fall because of limiting traveling around due to covid. But reading the blog is great and I enjoy daily wearing jewelry and using household items from your endeavours! Looking forward to the day when I can once again shop your finds in person.

  6. HI Martin – Great finds and blog. Your blog about finding gold and jewelry gives me a vicarious thrill as I love nothing more than a treasure hunt. I think the earrings with the dark stone are onyx. Much of this haul is Etsy worthy, even the clear marble in the cage. The vintage turquoise ring and bracelet are very in vogue. I am in agreement with your other reader that the charm bracelet pieces were fab. I usually give items I am on the fence about a try on ebay to see if there is a good response. I think $100 for each dog and $150 for the spaniel would have been doable. It is my experience that 14k lobster clasps and fancy 14k pearl strand clasps and other items that can be reused are worth the effort of online sale. This year I tried something new. Before Thanksgiving/Christmas I started selling flatware. I found a vintage Dansk and Boda Nova set at Thrift. I made $1200. Most major brand names sell well. If you have sets you need help identifying let me know. Basically, I go to Replacements Ltd. and type in the brand name under silverware and scroll down to find the pattern. I am dying for the next post….

    1. These days I’m scrapping more gold than I used to. A big part of that is because gold prices are high, but also with experience I find that “unexceptional” pieces, ie: stuff with no known designer, not vintage, no stones, etc are hard to sell on eBay for much more than scrap (especially with the current price of gold). If I’m not getting much more than scrap anyways, I’d rather just sell it as scrap because it’s easy & stress-free income.

      These days I’ve been giving stuff to people I know to sell for me on commission. I don’t have enough time to keep up with it all. So a lot of the Etsy worthy silver stuff is someone else’s problem now, lol.

  7. Thanks for sharing bro. Always interesting stuff. I’ve got a few gold trinkets I need to get $$$ for– just sitting around in backpack – I think 🙂

  8. Gold price are great right now so I’d say go for it. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the price of gold go up maybe 10% in the coming months, but nobody knows for sure and cash in hand is always good.

  9. awww I’m always so happy for you when you find gold jewelry! I hope you took the old, never used makeup. It sells like crazy on Ebay! People always want that one discontinued item that they can’t get anymore. My friend is a landlord and she had a hoarder tenant move out. She let me go through what was left behind and I ended up taking a bunch of what I assume was also abandoned side-hustle vintage, sealed makeup. The brand was “beauticontrol” and it sold great!

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