Frequently Asked Questions

Braunschweiger Jewelers is a full service jewelry store that not only has a large selection of well-known designers but also offers many services including; appraisals, jewelry repair, redesigning and gold buying.


The price of a typed appraisal starts at $125.00. One of our managers will give you a price based on the number and complexity of the items being appraised.

It’s always best to call ahead of time, so we can be prepared to appraise your jewelry while you wait or you can be prepared to leave the piece(s) for pick up at a later date.

An Insurance Appraisal is done at Replacement Value. This is the amount you would pay to replace the item with a brand new version if the original is lost, stolen or destroyed.

An Estate Appraisal is done at Fair Market Value. This is often significantly less than replacement value, since it is the value of the item in its current age and condition. It is meant as a fair way to put a value on assets being divided up, and can be an important factor in deciding whether pieces are held or sold.

Cash Value is usually similar or the same as an Offer to Buy. It can be the value when selling to a private buyer, or to someone who has to resell it. This usually is the lowest value, but it is often the most realistic value and the quickest way to get money out of an unwanted item without having to find a buyer yourself.

Yes, Braunschweiger Jewelers does buy old gold, silver and platinum items.  You can bring in unwanted and broken jewelry and we will be more than happy to give you an offer to buy.  When you bring in item to sell, we pay you the current market value for the weight and precious metal content in the pieces.

When you bring your repair into Braunschweiger Jewelers, a sales associate will be able to help you. They will evaluate your jewelry and give you a detailed receipt with an estimated cost and time of completion. Most of our jewelry repairs are done by our jewelers in the Morristown store. In some cases we may determine that an item needs to be sent back to the designer or manufacturer for service. Under those circumstances, there may be an interim “estimate & approval” process and an extended timeframe for completion.

Newer rings should be checked at least once a year, while older rings are more prone to damage and should be checked every four to six months.

Use a soft bristle brush (old toothbrush) to brush a mixture of water with a dash of ammonia over the diamond.  Rinse with water and dry using a lint-free cloth.  For a deeper cleaning, bring it in for a complimentary ultrasonic and steam cleaning by our professionals. Never use toothpaste or bleach on your jewelry. Toothpaste is an abrasive which scratches all precious metals and gets stuck under prongs and in the design. Bleach is extremely corrosive on many alloys used with gold, making the jewelry porous over time and prone to breaking.

Both silver and gold jewelry should be inspected regularly to make sure prongs are tight, clasps work correctly and no cracks or pulls have formed.  Bring your jewelry into a jeweler every four to six months for a professional inspection; this could prevent a loss of a gemstone.  Always polish your jewelry with a lint-free cloth after wearing to remove all oils and lotions that may have come in contact with your jewelry.  Sterling Silver should be kept in a sealed plastic bag to prevent tarnishing. Never use toothpaste or bleach to clean your jewelry. Toothpaste is an abrasive which scratches all precious metals and gets stuck under prongs and in the design. Bleach is extremely corrosive on many metals, making the jewelry porous over time and prone to breaking.

There are special silver cleaning solutions for removing tarnish from sterling silver.  Follow the directions carefully on the jar.  Check the printed product information, or ask a professional before using silver cleaner on sterling pieces set with ornamental or semi-precious stones.

Carat is the term used to measure the weight of a diamond.  Karat is the unit of measurement used to express the purity of gold.

Although the terms are often used interchangeably, any gem called “synthetic” is supposed to have the same physical and chemical properties as the genuine stone.  So a “synthetic sapphire” would have the same readings in various gem lab tests as a genuine sapphire, and there are very subtle differences a gemologist has to look for to separate the natural stone from the synthetic.  An “imitation stone” only imitates the real one; it basically looks like the genuine stone, but its hardness, chemical structure, weight, etc. are different.  In general, a true “synthetic” will cost more than a simple “imitation.”  For example, synthetic blue sapphire will cost more than blue glass.

Not only are diamonds more secure in a white metal (because its alloys make it stronger) but because diamonds reflect the color of metals around it, a diamond could look yellow in a yellow gold head.

Many earrings are just too heavy for the average ear lobe.  There are several possible solutions a jeweler can recommend, usually involving different types of earring backs and stabilizers available.

Older pins (and some inexpensive ones) have only a simple hook clasp.  Jewelers have small, inexpensive attachments that can make them safer to wear.  Stop in and drop off your brooch for us to add a safety clasp.

Most jewelry is not made in gold’s pure form, 24K, because it is too soft.  Alloys are added to gold to add strength and/ or color.  14K has approximately 58% gold content; 18K has 75% gold content.

Platinum and palladium are related white metals used in jewelry that are part of the “platinum family”. Both retain their white color over time, both are dense and extremely durable. Platinum is a bit more dense, so it will be heavier than palladium. White gold is an alloy of gold and some white metals such as silver and palladium. White gold can be produced at various karat levels; 14K and 18K are the most common. White gold is usually rhodium plated to give it a true “silver” color, but rhodium plating will wear over time, and then the white gold will take on a warmer tone. In many cases we can restore the rhodium finish on your jewelry if you prefer the cooler white look.

When gold comes out of the ground it is yellow.  In order to get white gold or rose gold, alloys are added to change the color.  You can be allergic to one color gold over another because of the different alloys used to make different colors.

Gold filled (sometimes called “gold overlay”) is a layer of gold bonded to a base metal. Because it is an actual sheet of metal on top, gold filled jewelry can often last several years before the gold wears through to the base metal. Gold plate is much less expensive to make, and has only a “wash” of metal over a base. Some platings are heavier than others, but under moderate use, the gold can wear off easily with regular use. Almost all costume jewelry is gold plated.

You are probably familiar with the “karat” system to denote metal purity. A different way to indicate metal type could be "925" "750" or "585". 18kt is considered 75% pure, which can also be written as “750”.  14kt gold is noted as “585”, about 58.3% pure and sterling silver is often labeled “925” because it is 92.5% pure silver.

This is usually called “gold filled”, even though the gold is on the outside. Sometimes it is called “gold overlay”. Either term means it has a bonded layer of gold on the outside and some sort of base metal on the inside. In the case of our example “1/20 12kt GF”, 1/20 (1 part of 20 total) of the jewelry piece is made of 12kt gold, and 19/20 is some other metal.

Although platinum is extremely durable, its surface does change over time. The durability of platinum is actually due to its density, meaning the molecules are tightly compacted. Over time, the surface will acquire fine scratches which can make it look almost like a “matte” finish, but platinum jewelry will not easily break or wear down. This makes platinum a premier metal for engagement ring mountings and prongs. Actually, many people prefer the softer “patina” that platinum gets over time, as it visually identifies this most distinctive of precious metals. If a brighter finish is desired, polishing will restore platinum’s shine.

There is a popular misconception that gold smudge indicates poor quality or low karat jewelry, but actually the opposite is true.  Often the higher the precious metal content, the more discoloration produced.  Pure 24kt gold is the softest, and readily smudges, whereas 14kt gold (58.5% pure gold) has been mixed with other alloys, which make it more durable.

To avoid gold smudge, remove rings and other jewelry while applying cosmetics, and clean all areas touching jewelry before putting it back on.  Avoid exposing hands to salty foods, or remove rings and thoroughly wash hands and rings after exposure.  Gold smudge stains on clothing can be removed with soap and water, or by dry cleaning if necessary for the type of fabric involved.

A natural pearl is formed when a microscopic foreign object finds its way into a mollusk. The mollusk secretes a calcium carbonate substance called nacre. The secretion process is repeated many times over, thus producing a pearl. Round natural pearls are extremely rare.

Cultured pearls are formed when a round bead is inserted into the mollusk. The mollusk goes through the same secretion process as a natural pearl, but since the bead is usually much larger, it takes a shorter amount of time to create a finished pearl. Good cultured pearls are usually left to deposit nacre for at least 2 years, while lower quality pearls are harvested in shorter time periods. The longer a pearl is left inside the mollusk, the longer the finish will last.

Faux pearls are imitations, or costume pearls, usually made with plastic or glass beads coated with a pearl-like substance which will wear off or peel off over time.

Pearls can be cleaned with a mixture of mild soap and water or a prepared “delicate” jewelry cleaner. After cleaning, lay pearls on a clean towel to dry in order to avoid stretching the cord. Never clean your pearls with solutions that contain ammonia or harsh detergents and remember never to put pearl jewelry in an ultrasonic cleaner. Also, don’t use abrasive cleaners or rub pearls with an abrasive cloth. Both can wear away the nacre coating, leaving you with a plain looking bead.

Keep pearls away from other jewelry, particularly metal items that can scratch the soft surface of the pearls.  Keep your pearls in a cloth or plastic baggie in your jewelry box at home or when you travel.  Never sleep in your pearl strand or bracelet.  Sleeping puts a great deal of strain on the silk cord and will stretch or break it much faster than usual.  Also check them often to make sure they do not need to be restrung.  If the pearls can move at all between the knots, your strand needs to be restrung.  This can be as often as once a year or every several years depending on pearl size, the length of the strand and how often they are worn. In addition, always apply your makeup, perfume, lotion and hairspray before putting on your pearls.  Chemicals in those products can eventually ruin the luster of your pearls.

Although it is possible for someone to change their own watch battery, it is best to leave it up to the professionals. There are extremely fragile parts inside a watch and without the proper tools an inexperienced person can permanently damage the mechanism. Also, each watch can take a different battery, most of which we have on hand and can change in just a few minutes.

Watches that are highly water resistant have lock down crowns and screw-on backs with gaskets to seal the watch. Many watches say they are “water resistant” to a certain depth, but normal wear and tear can loosen the seals quickly, so they are not really recommended in water unless they have the features mentioned above. We can advise whether your watch should be worn in or exposed to water or not.

A Quartz movement in either a clock or watch uses a battery and applies it to a quartz crystal which in turn resonates at a precise frequency and keeps accurate time. Simply put: It is a specific type of movement that requires battery powered electricity to run. Other types of movements include automatic and kinetic.

Automatic watches are automatically wound with the movement and motion of your wrist. When you put it down and it is not moving for a few days, the watch will run down and stop. It will re-start when you put it back on your wrist or when it is in motion again. Automatic watches can also be wound a few turns to give them a “jump start” if they have stopped after being idle.

Usually, a battery can last between 1 and 4 years. How long a battery lasts depends on the movement in the watch. If a watch has many extra features like a stopwatch or a light, the battery life can be drastically reduced.