For those who want to take their flea market shopping to the next level, there are some tools that every shopper should keep at hand. Having them quickly accessible allows for easy inspection. Here's my must-have toolkit for successful shopping:
Simichrome Cream: This is one of the tests you can use to detect real Bakelite from faux when buying costume jewelry. It turns from pink to yellow when applied to real Bakelite – except Simichrome will not work on black or lacquered Bakelite.
Jewelers Loupe (10x): A good jewelers loupe can help you see the chips and flaws in stones and the minor details needed to determine price. Sometimes better light sources are needed when using higher magnification. Loupes will also help you find maker marks and precious metal markings.
UV Light: UV light helps detect repairs and previous restoration, as well as fluorescence in diamonds.
Flashlight: A flashlight spotlights the minor details such as the glaze on enamels, cracks in pottery, ring settings, and special markings that average sunlight might not expose. It’s also good to have if you’ve taken my tip about being an early bird – it will help you inspect the dealers’ wares before the sun rises.
Silver Polishing Cloth: Sometimes pieces are too tarnished to see any markings. This cloth helps you quickly clean a piece to detect markings.