Fake jewelry—it’s been around since the beginning of civilized society, literally.
And that unfortunate trend continues today. Luckily, there are ways to spot fake jewelry and make sure that you don’t get burned.
With the right research and attentiveness, you can buy jewelry confidently without fear of being scammed.
It’s all about educating yourself, taking your time to be diligent, and checking the reputability of the retailer in which you intend to buy from.
So without further adieu, let’s get into it. Check out these five useful tips that will help you to spot fake jewelry from a mile away (or, at least, from within a few inches).
1. Inspect For Markings
The easiest and most common way to inspect potentially fake jewelry is to check for any markings on the piece of jewelry.
Different types of metals will likely look the same to an untrained eye. To combat fraud, the industry will put markings on pieces that indicate the metal type and its purity.
Depending on the piece of jewelry, these markings will appear in different places.
For example, a gold ring would have a marking directly engraved on the inner portion of the ring. On earrings, you could find the marker on the back. And with necklaces and bracelets, you’ll most likely discover them directly on the clasp or near the clasp on a tag.
Some of the most commonly forged metals are sterling silver and gold. Here’s what you should be looking for on each.
For sterling silver:
- the word “sterling” stamped on the metal
- “.925” as a stamp
- “925” as a stamp (both indicate that the piece is 92.5% silver)
- number (e.g., 10) followed by the letter “k” (to indicate karat count)
- “.417” stamp can affirm 10k gold
- “.585” stamp can affirm 14k gold
- “.750” can affirm 18k gold
For pieces that possess both sterling silver and gold plating, the piece will be marked as “Vermeil.” Reputable manufacturers might also place their stamp on each item, as well, but this doesn’t have to be the case for the jewelry to be authentic.
2. Self-performed TestsTest
Missing your school days where you did cool science experiments?
Now you can conduct one and get something better than an “A”— assurance that the piece of jewelry you are considering buying is real. Try these simple tests:
Perform this test to gauge whether or not the gold is as pure as advertised using a magnet.
When an item is plated with gold, there is no mystery metal underneath. If an item is pure gold, it will not stick to the metal.
If the gold is not pure, it will stick to the magnet, thus proving that it’s fake.
Be wary of this test, however, as more thorough foragers might use a metal that doesn’t stick to magnets.
Should you still be suspicious of fake gold after the magnet test, you could take your investigation a step further to perform the ceramic test.
First, you’ll need an unglazed ceramic plate. From there, you can drag the piece of gold across the ceramic.
A real piece of gold will not leave a black mark. Instead, real gold will leave—naturally—a gold streak.
The fog test is used for diamonds. All you have to do is breathe hot air on to the stone, and see how it reacts.
If the diamond is real, it won’t retain heat; therefore, it will not fog up.
A fake diamond, on the other hand, is prone to retaining heat, thus fogging up with the application of your hot breath.
While this test takes much longer to conduct than the first three, the skin test is likely the most commonly performed action to spot fake jewelry.
If your skin turns a greenish color while wearing the piece of jewelry, it’s not pure gold or sterling silver. Genuine forms of these metals won’t react to the skin.
Should you start feeling any sort of irritation or the greenish color on your skin appears, the piece is fake! So be sure to hold on to your receipts.
3. Seller Investigation
One of the most sure-fire ways to know that your jewelry is real is to purchase it from a reputable seller.
You should always keep a healthy awareness around buying jewelry on auction sites like eBay or Facebook Marketplace—there is just so much that can go wrong.
First off, if the deal looks too good to be true, it is too good to be true. Don’t take a chance.
A reputable seller will likely also have reviews from real people who are satisfied with the products available on the site.
A general perusal of the website is also beneficial. Is the site clean, original, and professional?
Or is the site using stock images, generic descriptions, and lacking a centralized brand?
Unmoderated sites are a breeding ground for foragers to try and take advantage of unsuspecting jewelry buyers.
Generally speaking, it’s best to buy from a reputable site like us at David Von, who has a longstanding tradition of providing top-quality, luxury jewelry at a cost that makes sense for you.
It’s our mission, after all, to provide you with a product that is not only real but the best quality of real at a fraction of the cost of other retailers.
4. Proper Certifications
Purchasing a piece that contains a diamond?
If so, it should arrive with a certificate to prove its authenticity. These can be issued by The Gemological Institute of America (GIA), The International Gemological Institute (IGI), or The EGL USA Gemological Institute. If any of these stamps of approval come with your purchase, you can be sure that your diamond is real.
While these documents can be forged, of course, there are usually giveaways that will reveal malintent. Is the quality of the printing good? Is there proper grammar and spelling? If any of these things are amiss, you might be the target of a scam.
With most reputable purchases, you’ll also likely receive manufacturer details, cleaning instructions, and care tips.
Didn’t receive a certification with your jewelry? Ask for it! A reputable site will be happy to provide you with the proper documentation.
5. Check the Stones
Interestingly enough, real gemstones are not perfect.
Real gemstones actually contain naturally formed flecks within the stone, proving their natural occurrence.
A gemstone that is “too perfect” can be a giveaway that the piece of jewelry is fake.
Replicas and forgings of precious gemstones are usually concocted with a mixture of glass and plastic, which will assert an overly smooth surface.
While you’d love to believe that you have discovered the world's first perfect naturally-formed gemstone on Craigslist, it’s just not reality. Don’t fall for the lies of plastic and glass!
Though all these tips are certainly helpful in spotting fake jewelry, the best way to avoid any problems is to buy from a reputable retailer who takes pride in the pieces they produce.
At David Von, our founder is honoring his grandfather's legacy by providing outstanding customer service, true value, and hard work to ensure that his customers are always satisfied.
Whether you’re looking for
David Von has you covered with authentic, modern pieces that are locally sourced in beautiful Los Angeles, California.
Don’t get burned by taking a chance with a non-reputable jewelry dealer. Go with a trusted, family-owned company that wants to provide you with the most beautiful pieces of real jewelry available on the market!