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The key is knowing what to look for. Below are some tips to help you determine what is real. This simple guide will save you time and money in the long run.
1. Look at the photo. Is it stolen from the Tiffany & Co. website? If so, you really do not know what you are buying. Make sure the photos are clear and close-up enough to show adequate detail or any flaws. You can be the judge in determining how minor or small the flaw is.
2. Read the entire description. Some sellers are claiming thier item is "Auth." This means absolutely nothing. It does not mean Authentic. Unless the auction specifically states the item is Authentic Tiffany & Co. jewelry it may not be.
3. Look at the sellers feedback and feedback score. Beware of sellers with private feedback. They may be hiding comments made regarding fake items they sold. Also, beware of new sellers (less than 1 week) who have lots of Tiffany jewelry for sale at cheap prices. These sellers may have had a previous eBay account suspended for selling fake items and have opened another account.
4. Look at the price. Although the auction may have started out at 99p, this does not necessarily mean the item is fake. Many sellers do this to keep down eBay fees. The final cost should be, at least, half of the retail value of the item(s). Steer clear of high retail priced items with a Buy It Now price of less than 1/3 the retail value. Example: £250 Return to Tiffany Oval Tag Necklace with a Buy It Now Price of £50.
5. Ask the seller questions. Honest sellers do not mind answering questions regarding authenticity. Sellers should be prompt to answer e-mails, no longer than 2 days. If you have asked the seller if the item is authentic and you do not get a response from the seller, the item is probably fake. Honest sellers are not afraid to answer questions to give additionsl photos if requested.
6. Reciepts are not a guarentee of authenticity. It is very easy to make a fake receipt. There are computer programs and fake receipt makers out there to help the crook along. In addition, many sellers who provide the receipt with the purchase are only providing a copy of the reciept as to avoid identity theft.
7. Read the Return Policy! If you do not agree with the return policy do not bid on that auction.
8. Compare the item with the Tiffany & Co. website. Although the Tiffany & Co. website only show in-stock items, it is a valuable resource. Tiffany & Co. will not authenticate items bought on eBay. They have sued eBay several times for allowing counterfiets to be sold on thier site.
9. Tiffany & Co. does not have sales! eBay is one of the few places to buy authentic items at a discounted price.
EVERYTHING about the authentic Tiffany item is high quality! From the care card to the box to the bag it comes in as well as the pouch to store the item and of course the item itself. Tiffany has been around for quite a while and they perfect every last detail of all items that have their name on it! Just because a seller claims to offer a receipt, doesn't mean it is authentic.
MORE DETAILED ANALYSIS:
The links on any tiffany bracelet or necklace are NOT pinched together, they are soldered together and totally smooth. You can't tell where the link begins or ends
The lobster clasp on a Tiffany bracelet or necklace will show EXCELLENT workmanship, if it looks like it's a cheapie, it's not Tiffany. In fact, the entire piece should be heavy and feel SOLID in your hand. Also, here's a little secret, the lobster clasp will ALSO be stamped 925, at the base of the clasp.
EVERY Tiffany piece is stamped with the Tiffany & Co. mark and the metal mark (e.g. Tiffany & Co. 925, or T & Co. 925) Many pieces are stamped with the date the piece was trademarked, the Tiffany logo, and the metal content, in that order (e.g. 2001 Tiffany & Co. 925). The pieces by artists such as Elsa Peretti, Paloma Picasso, Frank Gehry etc, will be signed as well as stamped. When buying a piece that has a chain and pendant (e.g. the Tiffany bar pendant) BOTH the pendant AND the chain will be marked Tiffany & Co 925. If the chain is marked but not the pendant, it's most likely that the pendant isn't Tiffany.
Tiffany tag bracelets and necklaces are made of .925 sterling silver, and are heavy, if your jewelry feels light in comparison to it's size, beware. Also, Tiffany sterling jewelry will photograph dark silver and even gold colored sometimes, not pure silver or silver-white. There are alot of people out there selling fake Tiffany that's been coated with Rhodium, which gives it a whitish appearance.
The tiffany toggle necklace is 16 inches long. The dog tag necklace and the heart tag necklace are both 15.5 inches long, they both fasten in the front and they ARE engraved with "please return to tiffany."
The tiffany round charm bracelet with the "please return to tiffany" is 7.5 inches long, and fastens next to the charm with a lobster clasp. The clasp, when fastened, should have the opening mechanism next to your skin. When laid flat, the clasp opening should face down.
The heart charm on the toggle necklaces is NEVER engraved with "return to tiffany", Tiffany doesn't make an engraved charm toggle necklace. Only the "lifesaver" part of the necklace is engraved with "tiffany & co". If the charm on your toggle necklace says "please return to tiffany" IT'S NOT TIFFANY AND THEY WON'T WANT IT BACK!!
The engraving on your return to tiffany bracelet should be completely and totally sharp and clear to read. If it's unclear or looks sub-par, (ALL TOGETHER NOW). IT'S NOT TIFFANY!!
There are many items engraved with "please return to tiffany", and you will need to go to the tiffany website to check what you see on ebay against the real deal. Go to "collections" at the top of the page and click on "return to tiffany."
In regards to the "double heart" necklaces I've seen floating out there, be aware that the hearts should NOT BE CURVED in any way, but should be shaped JUST like the hearts on Tiffany's tag necklace and bracelet. ONLY THE LARGER, BOTTOM HEART IS ENGRAVED with Tiffany & Co. The top heart is BLANK! Also, the hearts hang at an angle from the chain, if you're looking at the necklace, the chain should go through the LEFT side of the heart. The fake one's have the chain going through the top of the hearts. Don't fall for those necklaces that have both hearts engraved, or that
have "curved" hearts, those AREN'T TIFFANY!!
Authentic item's "care card" feels like a thick cardstock material and the two fake cards (one fake didn't have a card at all) feel very flimsy. The front of the authentic card ONLY says "Tiffany & Co." whereas the fakes say "Tiffany & Co. Care of Sterling Silver" The back of the authentic card is titled "CARE OF STERLING SILVER" and it never says "Thank you" for your purchase. The fake cards I have say "thank you for selecting this sterling silver gift from Tiffany & Co." The writing on the fake is larger and you can see a punctuation error even! The authentic card mentions not using chlorine and bleach, but the fake one does not.
Authentic item comes in a beautiful bag that is made well and the color inside is the same as outside. Some fake bag sare white on the interior. The authentic bag usually feels thicker and of more quality material. The writing on the outside feels almost deeply printed within the material and the fake feels like it was stamped on there. The authentic font looks darker and the fakes usually look faded. The color of the fake bags look darker than the bright authentic ones. If you look at the craftsmanship of the bag on interior and exterior, you can tell.
HOW TO SPOT A FAKE TIFFANY POUCH
One of the easiest things to spot is the pouch. IF THE POUCH IS FAKE it's logical to assume THE JEWELLERY IS ALSO FAKE!
There are a few things that are common to all
AUTHENTIC "Tiffany Blue" drawstring pouches no matter how old the pouch is.
Fabric - Tiffany's pouch fabric is suede cloth. The fabric is not a smooth nap. It has highs and lows that are visible in clear photos.
99% of fake pouches are made of a cheap, low pile, faux velevet. All of the faux velvet fibers are the same height so the pouch will photograph smooth. Ironic that even the velvet is fake!
The size of the AUTHENTIC bags are consistant:
The most common size is medium 4 1/2" (1 in pics)
The small size is 3 1/2"
The smallest size is 2 1/2"
The less common large sizes are 6 1/2" and 7 1/2"
These sizes may vary by no more than 1/8" due to the seam allowance.
Notice that all sizes are X and 1/2 inches. The same cannot be said for most fake Tiffany drawstring pouches.
On very rare occassions you may see an odd shaped drawstring pouch to accomodate a specialty item. All of the information pertaining to drawstring pouches will also apply to these pouches.
The medium and small AUTHENTIC pouches have approximately 1/2" margin from the top of the pouch to the top row of stitches. (2 in pics)
The AUTHENTIC larger sizes have approximately 1" margin from the top of the pouch to the top row of stitches.
The smallest AUTHENTIC pouch has a 3/8" top margin.
The fake pouches have a much narrower top margin. (see pics)
The fabric on the inside of the AUTHENTIC pouch is EXACTLY the same as the outside of the pouch.
The inside of the AUTHENTIC pouch will have a pocket made of the same suede cloth. The large and odd shaped pouches usually do not have a pocket
The seams of the AUTHENTIC pouch will be serged using a coordinating thread color. (Pouches dating back two or more decades may have a straight stitched seam rather than a serged seam but all else will be the same and you should be able to tell by the fading of the fabric and the imprint that it's an old pouch).
Note: the size of the Tiffany & Co on the front of the authentic pouch can vary. Newer pouches have smaller type than some of the older pouches
There are a few things that are common to all
AUTHENTIC Tiffany blue snap pouches no matter how old the pouch is.
Fabric - Like the drawstring bag, Tiffany's AUTHENTIC snap pouch fabric is suede cloth. The fabric is not a smooth nap. It has highs and lows that are visible in clear photos. 99% of fake snap pouches uses a similar fabric so this is difficult to determine in photos.
The size of the AUTHENTIC pouch is consistant: 2 5/8".
Both sides AND the bottom of the AUTHENTIC pouch are stitched. Most counterfeit snap pouches are not stitched across the bottom.
AUTHENTIC Snap pouches have gusseted sides and divider pocket made of the same fabric.
The stitching lines are perfectly straight and perfectly curved around the flap of the AUTHENTIC pouches.
The back of the snap nipple of the AUTHENTIC pouch has a round piece of matching fabric glued to it so it doesn't scratch the jewelry.
The brand of all AUTHENTIC Tiffany snaps is marked on the reverse side of the flap's snap. This unique brand (· ECHT · · PRYM · 2b · ) is different than the brand of snap used on any fake Tiffany pouch. If the snap does not contain these letters, it's a FAKE.
The reverse side of the AUTHENTIC snap on the flap has a "coin" edge.
The bottom line is Tiffany is a maker of FINE jewelry, and they would never let anything sub-par out of their store rooms. Don't be fooled by people from other countries saying they have a "friend" who gets them Tiffany stuff for cheap, it can't be done. Your best bet is to buy from someone who can tell you the store they bought the item at. The only way to get Tiffany jewelry is to buy it in the stores, the Tiffany website, or buy it from someone who bought it in a store. I know this is alot of information to take in, so please feel free to email me and I'll be happy to check out an auction for you and tell you what I think.
Of course, by buying it from somebody else will often mean buying a used (pre-loved) piece of Tiffany jewelry, which is fine! When you think about it, why would somebody sell a brand new, never worn piece of Tiffany jewelry for MUCH LESS than they paid for it at the store or website? The answer is, they wouldn't. If somebody has brand new Tiffany jewelry for sale, beware, it might possibly be a scam. I have purchased five pieces of Tiffany jewelry (all authentic) that were used, and they were in great shape! All it takes is a silver polishing cloth and some elbow grease to get a used piece back to it's original state.