1. Check your Hallmark
Check your jewellery for a stamp or hallmark. 9 Carat Gold, 14 Carat Gold, 18 Carat Gold, 22 Carat Gold, 950 Platinum, 950 Silver. There are only 4 assay offices in the UK. These are London, Birmingham, Sheffield and Edinburgh. Always check for these hallmarks.
Examples of hallmarks for precious metals
2. Check Your sources
Is the item being sold online on an auction site like ebay, or Shpock? Does the seller have an original image, or has it been stolen from a reputable company? If you can’t see the jewellery item in the photograph, it’s not clear, our advice is – Don’t buy it. Check with the seller if it has a certificiate of authenticity or a Diamond Certification such as IGI or EGL for instance.
3. Check your returns Policy/Warranty
Does the item come with a return policy or warranty? You should have at least 14 days to bring the jewellery product back as standard. This can give you peace of mind that you can get it checked out by a third party for insurance purposes.
4.Check the item quality
The links on any good quality bracelet or necklace are NOT pinched together, they should be soldered together and really smooth. Good Diamonds will chip but not generally scratch easily. So check the quality of the stones.
5. Brand Marks and Logo’s
Top brands such as Tiffany will stamp each jewellery item with the Tiffany & Co hallmark. (e.g. Tiffany & Co. 925, or T & Co. 925) Look out for these types of stamps when purchasing your jewellery items. Look out for any known differences with fake brands such as mispellings or font changes.
6. Platinum or Rhodium Plated?
Many fakers will use Rhodium to plate metals to look like silver or white gold. Rhodium gives fake jewellery it’s whitish appearance. Tips to help you identify the fakes:
- Under a bright light look at the underside of the ring. If the ring is rhodium-plated, the yellow gold can show through slightly due wear.
- You can check the underside of a ring for a stamp such as “14k” or “10k” This will signify what type of gold the ring is made of. If you see this stamp, and the ring is silver-coloured, it’s rhodium-plated.
7. Diamond Certification
Real diamond rings come with a certificate, normally from the GIA, IGI, EGL for instance. If your new diamond jewellery item does not come with a certificate, ask for it.
8. Check your documentation
Check the cards, or other paper work that comes with your jewellery item. They should be of good quality and the writing will be sharp not blurry. Look out for spelling errors, poor english or bad grammer. These can be good indicators that something is wrong. A high quality merchant will care abour their print marketing .
9. Test your metal!
How to test if the gold is real.
- The magnet test. Gold it not magnetic. If your gold sticks to a magnet, its not gold.
- The byte test. Gold is a soft metal. You should be able to make a slight indent on gold with your teeth.
- Check for the stamp: karat (10K, 14K, 18K, 22K or 24K).
- The ceramic plate test: Press your jewellery item across the surface of a ceramic flat plate. A black streak means it’s fake, a gold streak will show you it’s the real deal.
- If in doubt take it to a local jeweller who can do further tests to see if the item is real.
- Use your common sense and don’t jump to conclusions. The tests above are guide only.
10. Costume Jewellery
Costume jewellery will generally fake glass, plastic gemstones and cheap base metal alloys, such as polished brass. Look out for corrosion which then leads onto itchy skin, discolouration or inflammation. . They can look great and extravagent but the build quality will be poor. Use your judgement here and look at the item thouroughly for imperfections, glued in stones, tarnishing or damage.
11. Buy Cheap buy Twice!
Does the price seem too good to be true? Chances are it’s a fake. Do you research. Jewellery doesn’t have the profit margins it once had so discounts of 50% are rare. Diamond Jewellery will generally offer 10-15% discounts at certain periods. Watches however can still offer great reductions at holiday times. Buy froma reputable high street store or well know local Jeweller to gurantee quality.
12. Use your common sense
Certainly the best tool you have. Judge your intincts. If it’s too good to be true, too cheap or someone is pressuring you into making a quick decision, walk away and think about it. Do your research, check online for similar products to compare prices and ensure you are buying the correct product. Jewellery and Watches are gennerally emotional purchases and a good salesman or offer are designed to invoke a sense of urgency.