Fake it till you make it, they say. Unfortunately, no matter how hard you try to turn your fake jewelry into real, it’s not going to happen.
Precious stones and metals are things most of us admire, but for many it’s hard to even tell what’s real and what’s not. And with more jeweler options than your typical Kay or Jared nowadays, it’s more likely to get caught wearing something less than brilliant.
So, how can you ensure that you’re getting the best of the best? Here are some questions to ask before buying:
How is the quality?
When it comes to jewelry, a lot of the time, you can judge a book by its cover. If the stones are cloudy or have minimal brilliance (brightness) to them, there’s a possibility they’re not real. Also, check the links and prongs. If the links in a bracelet or necklace are pinching and the prongs don’t seem to be flush to what they’re holding, you may be out of luck. This should only be your first assessment though, as some fake jewelry could fool a trained eye at first glance.
No, we’re not looking for your run-of-the-mill card store. Instead, we’re looking for something much more precious – precious metals, to be exact.
The United States may not have an official hallmarking system, but if you’re buying from other countries or antiques, a hallmark is an official mark stamped onto a piece of platinum, gold, silver or sometimes palladium. This is to show that it is in fact legitimate.
In the States though, you will find a mark of the precious metal percentage – 14k (58.3% gold), 18k (75% gold), PT950 (95% platinum), 925 (sterling silver). This can be replicated in fakes, and is sometimes stamped onto gold plated jewelry, so don’t let it be your deciding factor.
Is it magnetic?
This is another super simple test to start you in the right direction when on the hunt for real silver or gold. Neither are magnetic, so if you hold a magnet and it reacts, it’s not what you’re looking for. However, this is just the first step, as not all fake jewelry is made with magnetic material.
Are there any flaws?
Believe it not, you’re wanting to find a few flaws in your jewelry. These “flaws”, known as inclusions to gemologists and jewelers, are little irregularities within a stone and are typically caused by environmental factors.
But don’t worry – inclusions don’t ruin your stone. Inclusions can add personality and intrigue to what is already a completely unique piece. In fact, stones with inclusions in them are sometimes valued higher.
Take amber – a resin that sometimes traps insects – for example. Overall, if you’re looking at a piece of jewelry that is seemingly flawless, you may want to take a closer look.
Does it pass the bite test?
So, you’ve gone away on a cruise, and a nice gentleman in Cozumel wants to sell you some pearls. Different from gemstones, you have less to go on when getting an idea of a pearl’s quality. The quickest and easiest way to know if a pearl is authentic is to bite it. Yes, bite it.
All you need to do is hold it with the tips of your fingers and run it across your teeth. A real pearl will be a little gritty.
What does a gemologist say?
It’s as easy as running to the mall and asking someone to take a closer look.
Make sure you’re asking a certified gemologist for their input, as many sales associates at even the largest jewelry chains have little real knowledge of gems and jewelry.
There’s been one too many times that I’ve been misinformed by a jewelry store sales associate. Typically written appraisals cost $100-$200, but most gemologists are happy to give you their verbal acknowledgements for free, and many of them will go on for hours happily about gems.
Photos from @thejewelprincess on Instagram!