Don't get hoodwinked when you buy jewelry. These telltale signs will help you spot fake jewelry and keep from overpaying.
Even if a beautiful necklace or pair of earrings is super-shiny and looks authentic, there are plenty of retailers who sell fake jewelry to unsuspecting consumers.
Don't get swindled by this faux jewelry. If you know what to look for, it's easy to spot the telltale signs of unauthentic jewelry so you don't waste your money.
Read on for a list of nine ways you can tell if something isn't real, so you can make a smart decision with your next jewelry purchase.
1. The Price is Way Too Low
Of course, everyone wants to save extra cash on their major jewelry purchases. But if a seller's price is too good to be true, that might be because it is.
Real jewelry is made of pure materials like gold, silver, and precious stones. The retailer may mark the price down, but they'd never want to sell it at a price that they'd take a loss. If the jewelry you're interested in seems too cheap for what you're getting, it might be fake.
2. Missing Hallmarks or Unusual Hallmarks
Every real piece of jewelry has some kind of hallmark or stamp. If the jewelry you're eyeing has no hallmark, that's definitely a red flag.
Look at the pieces of jewelry carefully and try to spot the hallmarks that indicate the material is real. If you don't see one, don't buy it.
Make sure you research what the various hallmarks mean, such as a .925 stamp to indicate real silver. Find out what various hallmarks look like so you can spot them on the jewelry you want to buy.
3. It's Magnetic
If you want to spot fake jewelry, bring a strong magnet with you. Anything that is fake is often made from an alloy or a material that contains high amounts of iron. When you take a magnet to fake jewelry, it should "stick" to it.
Real gold, silver, and other precious metals are not magnetic. This is one of the fastest and easiest ways you can tell if something is not pure and is "coated" with a gold or silver coloring.
When you take a magnet to fake jewelry, it should stick to the material right away. Real gold, silver, and other precious metals are not magnetic. This is one of the fastest and easiest ways you can tell if something is not pure and is simply "coated" with a gold or silver coloring.
4. The Coloring Seems Off
It can be difficult to tell the difference between certain metals such as silver or platinum against a fake material. Fake silver pieces often have a touch of black in them, and both fake silver and platinum will feel flexible when you try to bend them.
For gold, it should leave a faint trace of the golden color on materials like unglazed ceramic or porcelain. A fake gold piece of jewelry will leave a strange gray or black mark behind. Ask the jeweler upfront if they can test the jewelry in front of you for authenticity.
5. Pearls That Don't Creak Are Likely Fake
This tip may sound strange, but it's an easy way to tell the difference between real and fake pearls. When you gently bite down on a real pearl, it should make a creaky sound.
Pearls are a natural material, so when you apply pressure to them they should emit a faint creaking sound almost like walking on sand. Fake pearls are typically made of a polymer or some other synthetic material. When you bite on fake pearls, they should be extremely tough and should not creak.
6. Be Wary of Knock-Off Brands
Major jewelry designers will always include their brand name somewhere on the piece. This tends to be prevalent with brands like Rolex. You can find out more about how to spot fake ones here.
Get to know the brands you're interested in and learn what their official logos look like. If the sizing or font seems wrong, it's probably a piece of fake jewelry. A quality brand or designer will always use a consistent logo in each piece they sell.
7. It Could be Fake Jewelry if Poor Quality is Apparent
Since jewelry is quite expensive, you want to be your own quality control before you make a purchase. Look for a few red flags such as loose or uneven mountings or settings of stones.
When it comes to bracelets and necklaces, they should be smooth and shiny and all links should appear solid. Anything that has pinched links or off-kilter lines are probably not high quality. You can also take a magnifying glass to your jewelry and look for bubbles or other strange markings in stones, which usually means they're fake.
8. There's No Certificate of Authenticity
All real jewelry comes with some sort of proof that it's authentic. This is especially true with anything that contains diamonds and other precious stones.
You should receive a certification from the GIA, IGI, or EGL to prove your stones are real. If the jeweler doesn't include it, don't be afraid to ask for it. Make sure the certificate is spelled correctly and appears to be of high quality.
9. The Seller Isn't Knowledgeable
Any reputable reseller of real jewelry knows the business inside and out. Come up with a list of questions and ask them to see how the retailer responds.
If you walk into a jewelry store and the salesperson cannot answer your basic questions, it could be time to try a new one. Pay close attention to their answers and if they don't know simple things, they may not sell the real thing.
Know Your Knock-Offs
Once you know the signs of fake jewelry, it's much easier to make a smart purchase. Pay attention to things like hallmarks, strange coloring, and resellers who don't seem to know the details of authentic metals and stones.
With a little practice, you can easily spot jewelry that isn't real, so you don't get swindled.
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