Many of us are thankful that today’s fashion jewelry has the look and finish of fine jewelry, at least when the pieces are new. When fake is the latest fashion, telling the difference between costume jewelry pieces and fine jewelry is almost impossible for the general shopper. As a result, scammers are actively advertising faux jewelry sets as luxury pieces for high prices. These are confusing times for all jewelry shoppers and collectors. They are looking for effective ways to find authentic fine jewelry amidst the chaos.
Here are a few things you must always ensure before buying fine jewelry –
Double check all documents
The first step to ensure the authenticity of your jewelry is to check the paperwork. Not all jewelry pieces that websites and online retailers are selling are authentic. Real jewelry brands are not likely to sell something with the price tag of fine jewelry unless they are genuine. However, you should always ask for the documentation. There have been cases when the vendor has refused to offer a certificate of authenticity and documented backgrounds of the gemstones he or she was selling, and the gem turned out to be lab-made or fake. Sadly, these instances have become far too familiar in the world of e-commerce. You have every right to be highly skeptic about any fine or luxury jewelry that does not come with the right documents. When you shop Opulent Jewelers, you get a complete set of certificates that guarantee the authenticity of the items you are paying for!
Get your return period offer
Any legitimate jewelry vendor is always likely to offer you a stipulated period for the return of the item. It is a sign of confidence from the side of the seller. It shows that he or she is confident about the quality of the gemstone and jewelry that you have bought. Any jeweler, who does not offer a period of return is not very sure about the authenticity of the product he or she is selling. Apart from the certification and other documents, you should ensure that your jewelry store gives you a guarantee card or return memo during your purchase.
Look for the hallmarks
Whenever you are at a store to buy jewelry, check the hallmarks. Each piece usually comes with several stamps. One tells you the metal content of the jewelry, and the other should tell you the designer, manufacturer or the country of its origin. You should be able to find these stamps on the inside of a ring or bracelet and the clasp of a neckpiece. In no way do hallmarks interfere with the aesthetics of original fine jewelry design.
Only authentic vintage jewelry or heirloom pieces that are over 100 years old are devoid of hallmarks. Unless your jewelry has experienced significant wear and tear, it should have prominent stamps indicating its authenticity. The most common hallmarks you must have noticed on authentic pieces include the gold content – 10k, 14k, 18k, 375, 585, and 750 and so on. Similarly, platinum hallmarks include – PLATINUM, PLAT and 950. Even silver jewelry has hallmarks that include Silver, 800, Sterling and 925.
Some luxury jewelry hallmarks contain the name of the designer and seller including Cartier, Tacori and Tiffany & Co. while they are common, you should always take them to an expert at the store for appraisal. That tells us that if a piece of jewelry is new, but has no hallmark, it is possibly costume. If your jewelry looks vintage but has no stamps, always take them to an authentic jeweler for evaluation.
Check the jewelry’s weight
It is imperative to weigh any fine jewelry before you pay for it at the store. It is slightly tricky when you are shopping online. Once you have your hands on the jewelry piece, make sure you weigh it. The costume jewelry pieces are pewter or brass. These materials are significantly lighter than gold and silver. Therefore, if your new “gold” bracelet is much lighter than an old bracelet of similar design and length, then the new one is most likely hollow gold or just a gold plating.
Solid gold and platinum jewelry pieces should be dense and smooth in color. Fake gold and platinum jewelry are likely to have color variations throughout. These variegations become more prominent with each passing day as you expose the piece to water, sweat, and sunlight. A plated gold chain is definitely not worth the same as a solid gold neckpiece. Always get the gold or platinum piece you have purchased online to a renowned and trustworthy jeweler for evaluation immediately after shipment.
Take a close look at the prongs
When buying jewelry from an old-school jewelry shop, you have the chance to inspect the prongs that hold the gemstones in place. In the case of costume jewelry, the prongs are mostly weak and subsidiary. Their manufacturers use jewelry adhesive to stick the stones to their positions. It is easy to tell if the prongs are holding the gemstone in place or the jewelry has glue upon close inspection.
Some high-grade quality costume jewelry items do have good quality prongs that are similar to fine jewelry, but even then they are likely to use glue to hold the gemstones in place. Unless your fine jewelry piece has sturdy prongs that bear the weight of the stones, you should be skeptical about the authenticity of the item. Each piece of fine jewelry is usually hand-crafted, and hence they have intricate bezels and prong settings. In most cases, the prong setting and design add value to fine jewelry.
Today, most people prefer buying their fine jewelry online. Apart from the brand websites that offer authentic items only, several third-party sellers offer massive discounts. As a buyer, you should be very careful while buying fine jewelry from new e-commerce stores that do not have recognition or authentication. Only invest in luxury jewelry and fine jewelry when you completely trust the seller. Do not forget to ask for your certificate of authentication and documents of the gemstones before you pay for the priceless piece!