Approximately 150,000 fake gold jewelry is put up for sale in Russia every year, and 9% of Google searches for “fake jewelry” come from Russia alone. But how can an inexperienced eye determine whether your jewelry is fake or not?
Now that more and more people are buying their jewelry online, there is a risk that you could be easily tricked into buying something much less valuable than what you paid for, this can happen if you buy jewelry through a non-authoritative website,” warns Ivan Pavlov, a specialist in public relations and social issues. digital marketing manager at the jewelry online store myjewels.ru.
“We want to raise awareness among Russian buyers so that consumers know what they are getting into when they buy new items for their jewelry collections,” adds Ivan.
How to spot fake jewelry
Explore the price range and understand what to expect
A very obvious sign of fake jewelry is the price. If the price of your gold or silver jewelry seems very low and profitable, then it is probably not real gold jewelry. Any piece of jewelry that sells as genuine gold or sterling silver for less than 2,000 rubles per gram of gold or 60 rubles per gram of silver sells for less than the cost of the piece – too good to be true!
Most likely, it will be just gilding or a fake. To avoid being scammed, whether buying jewelry online or in real life, I would recommend researching the price range for the type of jewelry you want to buy so you know what to expect. Try to find the weight of the item to calculate the price per gram.
Watch the hallmarks (and know what the marks look like)
A hallmark is a hallmark that is applied to precious metals (such as gold, silver, platinum, or palladium) by an assay office (precious metals authority) to certify that the item meets statutory purity standards.
By law, all silver and gold items must be hallmarked.
Products made from gold alloys below 375, as well as silver products below 800, platinum products below 585, palladium products below 500 are not jewelry (41-FZ) products.
Although these stamps indicate the purity of the metal, they are not hallmarks and should not be taken as a guarantee of fineness. Beware of fake brands that seem legitimate.
To avoid falling for fake hallmarks, first, find out what genuine assay office hallmarks look like, and second, carefully inspect the stamp for spelling errors and any font or detail that doesn’t match the aesthetic of the brand you’re buying from.
Be aware of the weight of a real piece of jewelry compared to a fake one.
Real gold or silver jewelry is heavier than imitation gold or silver jewelry. Imitation or gilding appears to be lighter as the precious metal content is lower and the proportion of non-precious metals (which are much lighter than precious metals) is higher.
use a magnet
Real gold and silver are not magnetic, so real gold or silver jewelry will never stick to a magnet. If your jewelry sticks to a magnet, this is a clear sign that it is an imitation of precious metal. However, in some cases where the piece of jewelry is heavily plated, this test may not work because the thick gold or silver plating may prevent the magnet from detecting the metal underneath.
Buy from famous jewelers
In Russia, all jewelry stores must be licensed by the Assay Office, which is a certificate held by all reputable jewelry retailers that meet the hallmarking standards of the Russian Federation. Buying from such a seller ensures that buyers get what they think they are buying.
Do your due diligence with specialized jewelry
With high-end jewelry such as Rolex watches and Cartier bracelets, markets are becoming increasingly saturated with sophisticated imitations. My best advice when buying specialized or iconic jewelry is to buy directly from the brand itself.
This gives you lifetime confidence that you get what you want for your money. If you are buying vintage or used jewelry, always research your dealer, be well aware of the signs of a fake, and insist on a guarantee and a quality certificate.
What to do if you suspect the jewelry is fake
If you have doubts about the authenticity of your jewelry, it will be useful for you to get the opinion of an expert. Assay office-certified jewelers or jewelry pawnshops can inspect your jewelry and tell you more about its composition.
Carefully inspect the hallmarks on your jewelry with a jeweler’s magnifying glass. If you often buy gold or silver jewelry, I would advise you to buy your own jewelry magnifier, it will cost you from 250 to 1000 rubles. Set the magnification to 10x/20x and view your jewelry in a place with bright natural light.
Remember that real gold does not tarnish over time. If your jewelry is showing signs of tarnishing or discoloration, or if your jewelry is turning green on the surrounding skin, it is most likely a sign that it is made of fake gold or plated with gold. Real gold is hypoallergenic and therefore will never irritate your skin.