As true as the sun rising, when the economy sputters, more people are willing to bend their ethics to get by. More pieces of fake Tiffany are showing up on eBay. We’ve all seen pieces with prices that are too good to be true. I wanted to dedicate a post to put forward some tips on avoiding the fakes.
Most counterfeits are sold from or made in China. Some sellers claiming to be in the USA leave clues in their email or paypal info that, if you’re looking, can throw up red flags that they are actually based in Asia. Of course, false and inconsistent info is another flag. While a lot of people use eBay as an extension of their real store, selling through eBay is still a business transaction. Large-scale e-commerce relies heavily on automation but when contacting a seller is one button away on eBay, we can, thankfully, utilize human-level interaction. So don’t hesitate to ask seller’s questions. Be polite though, realize that, if they’re running an honest business, the people selling items are people too. Good communication and reasonableness are the bedrock of business transactions. Suspecting a seller of selling fakes is no reason to make accusations, insinuations, or insulting offers.
Naturally, only Tiffany & Co sells their pieces new. This goes into tip 2 though, know what you’re buying. You wouldn’t buy a new car except from a dealer or a liar. You also wouldn’t pay the new price, or more, for a used car. The same applies for jewelry; if it’s new, it better be in a Tiffany’s store, if it’s used, it should look used. Also, know what it should look like and should cost; you wouldn’t spend a cent on a Shelby Cobra without knowing (or retaining a consultant who knew) how to spot a real one from a forest of kit-cars, would you? I wouldn’t; paying for an expert’s time can pay you back.
Some pieces of jewelry, like some cars, are rare. A rare piece of Tiffany (or other HIGH brand) jewelry appreciates just like a rare car; especially when copious amounts of rare and expensive materials are used. This affects pricing for cars and Tiffany.
This leads us to tip 3: counterfeiters, the kind who make 10,000 fake pieces in a “Tiffany-style” production run, usually don’t use rare or expensive materials (they make cheap stuff, right?). Similarly, complex pieces which require many man-hours of labor are also too expensive for the average factory-press counterfeiter. You’ll find a lot less gold-scroll earrings fakes than silver charms and silver Return To Tiffany tags.
Finally, for now at least, while checking feedback, check what the feedback is for. Built on cheap hats? Or fine, unusual, quality jewelry like only a collector could accomplish. Shameless plug, for an example of what to hope for in feedback from an honest seller, please check my store’s feedback.
I sincerely hope everyone finds these tips helpful and wish everyone the best in buying =)