High quality costume jewellery is made to be very convincing. Do you know how to spot a fake? Before calling an appraiser here are 5 tips to help you save some time and money.
Can you spot a fake?
A few years back I took it upon myself to go jewelery shopping on eBay to see what vendors were really selling. I ordered 10 rings from 10 different vendors from around the world. All the rings were advertised as gold, silver with genuine gemstones. I was shocked! 9 out of 10 were fake. Not one of the rings was sold as advertised. Only 1 was "real" but did not pass the test because the stone in the ring was lab created and that was not properly disclosed.
Obviously most reputable jewelers are not to blame and the point of this article is not to point fingers or make anyone out to be gullible. As a gemologist with years of experience I have learned that some of the fakes today are really well done. That is why I trust my equipment and don't guess. Not even and educated guess!
Running tests takes time and the equipment needed is very specialized and expensive. It also take understanding, experience, research and continuing education to be able to clearly identify and estimate value of fine jewellery. It is to be expected that there is an approprate fee for this service. Most appraisers will charge you per item tested regardelss of it real/ fake status. That being said here are 5 Tips to help you sort thought what jewelry may be REAL and what may be FAKE
No. 1 - Is It Magnetic?
Real gold, silver and platinum are NOT MAGNETIC! Take a strong neodymium magnet and pass it over your jewelery, if the metal sticks to the magnetic then it's FAKE.
No.2 - Is It Plated?
Most silver and gold plated jewelery is non magnetic and it can be very hard to tell. Legally manufactured are suposed to identify plated items with a "P" before the metal purity stamp.
sterling silver should be identified with a stamp that says .925 somwhere on the peice. A silver plated piece should say P925. It is the same for gold P10K, P14K, P18K all mean gold plated. Plating is usually done over a copper base or copper blend base metal that is non magnetic.
No.3 - Gemstones
High quality gemstones are almost always set in fine metals such as silver, gold and platinum. One exception is stainless steel. Some people can only wear stainless steel and some jewelers will set fine gems in this type of setting but it is the exception and not very common at all.
Lab created gemstones such as Spinel and Cubic Zirconium can look very convincing and technically they are real gemstones. They are mass produced and readily availible so they hold no value. It is not worth spending the money on an authentifcation if you can avoid it. These gemstones are what you will typically find in costume fashion jewelery.
No. 4 - Stamps
Just like in plated jewellery, manufactures of fine jewellery are supposed to identify the metal using a stamp. Here are a list of stamps to look for and what they mean:
.925 = Sterling Silver.
10K or 417 = 10 Karat Gold
14K or 585 = 14 Karat Gold
18K or 750 = 18 Karat Gold
No.5 - Tarnish Is Good!
Cleaning your silver and gold is not only satifying but tarnish can be a good indicator that the jewellery is real. Sterling silver will tarnish black and can be cleaned off using a soft cloth and a little jewellery cleaner. Once cleaned the silver should become shiny again. Gold can develop a dull almost waxy sheen to it. Running it under warm water and gently brushing it with some dish soap on a tooth brush should remove the build up of dirt and oils leaving the piece shining again. Costume jewellery will usually stay shiny except in areas where the finish has chipped or scratched. In these areas it will turm black, green or rusty. Cleaning will not remove the oxidization completely. Green is typical of copper based jewelery that has been plated. Black staining and pitting is tyical of alloys that contain zinc, pewter and aluminum. Orangy rust is typical of iron based metals.
Hopefully these 5 tips are useful to you and save you some speculation. These tips are not 100% conclusive but they should be a very good indicator of what is FAKE. The real advatage of hiring a non biased appraiser rather than just going to a local jeweler or pawn shop is that you can count on us to tell you what your REAL diamonds, gems, gold and silver are worth without under or over valuing for our own gain. We can also help you with expert advice about insurance replacement, or different selling venues and theie advantages and disadvantages. We provide detailed documentation for your records that can even be used in legal procedings if need be.
My favorite clients are the ones who are pleasently surprised. It happens more often than you would think. A few years back a couple brought in emerald earrings they had bought in Columbia many years ago for a few hundred dollars only to find out that they were now worth about $3000. I had another client who has inherited some old silver jewellery from mexico that had been bought while her aunt was on vacation in the early 70's. She had probably spent less than $100 for it at the time because silver was so cheap and the artist was unknown. The peice is now a very sought after collectors item worth well over $8000. As appraisers another part of our job is to research the history of the item, the maker, the country of origin and time period and rarety and current market value or replacement cost depending on the type of report you need. All of these details can real determin true value.
What is in your jewellery box? It could be a REAL treasure.
Book an appointment today! PrestigeEvaluation.com