Tiffany Heart Tag Toggle Necklace
REAL or FAKE?
Sadly, the overwhelming majority of Tiffany Heart Tag Toggle necklaces for sale on eBay are FAKE. These fakes are bringing high dollars to the unscrupulous sellers which encourages them to continue selling the fakes regardless of eBay's policy against the sale of counterfeit merchandise.
We, as buyers, need to educate ourselves to the differences between authentic and counterfeit merchandise BEFORE we spend our hard earned dollars on these scams. Fortunately there are telltale signs that can help us distinguish the differences so that we can make good buying decisions and save the frustration, disappointment and loss of money spent on these fakes.
What to look for:
ALL links should be nicely soldered closed. Looking closely at the links you may see the solder point but it will be a clean solder. (picture 1) The links should NOT be merely pinched tightly together. (picture 3) This isn't always easy to detect in photos, however, but always take a close look to see if you can detect a break in the link. This can also be difficult to see in person. Be sure to examine each link carefully under a magnifying glass if you're unsure.
The front of the heart should be BLANK or have a custom monogram. (picture 2). As of mid 2008, it may have "Return to Tiffany" on the heart. However, this engraving should be as shown in picture 3a. 925, the mark of sterling silver, should be engraved on the half-loop above the heart. It should NOT engraved on the actual heart.*(see important new information below)
3a Authentic 3b Fake
The heart should be fully rounded. (picture 2) It should NOT be a curvy, stylized heart. (picture 4)
There should be only 1 heart. There should NOT be two hearts. (picture 4)
The heart should be flat. It should NOT be puffy or dimensional or filigree and it should NOT have a designer's name on it. (picture 5)
The back of the heart should have Tiffany & Co 925 smoothly engraved at the very top of the heart. This engraving should be as close to the center indentation of the heart as possible. (picture 6)
The toggle lifesaver should have Tiffany & Company smoothly embossed. (pictures 6 & 7) You should NOT see any dots in the engraving.
The connecting link on the right side of the lifesaver should be no larger than approximately 1/8" and should be PERPENDICULAR to the disk. It should be located at the center of the "N". (pictures 7 & 8)
The lifesaver should be connected to the chain by one small and one medium link. (picture 8)
The heart should be connected to the first large link of the chain, to the right of the lifesaver. (picture 8)
The toggle bar should be approximately 1 1/8" long by 1/8" in diameter. It should be connected to the chain by one tiny link (approx 1/8") and four twisted oval links. (picture 9)
This necklace is worn with the disk on the left side and the toggle bar coming through from the right. The heart will be to the left of the disk.
The length should be 16 inches.
The weight should be approximately 72 grams. Note: scales can vary due to calibration but should be very close to the 72 gram weight.
If the piece includes a pouch, be sure the pouch is authentic. If the pouch is a fake, it stands to reason the piece is also a fake. To determine the difference between an authentic Tiffany pouch and a fake read my guide "How to Spot a Fake Tiffany Pouch". http://search.reviews.ebay.com/members/memasjoys
The following is true of ALL Tiffany jewelry:
AUTHENTIC TIFFANY ENGRAVING is done either by hand or by machine with great precision and the utmost skill. The engraving on your Tiffany jeweler will be clean and sharp, not muddy (see photos 3a and 3b). You should NOT see any dot patterns in the engraving (see photo 7). The engraving on fake pieces is copied and uses a laser technique that produces tiny dots to form the copied lettering. If you can see dots inside or along the edges of the engraving, it's FAKE! If you've purchased a piece of Tiffany jewelry and are unsure of the authenticity, be sure to look carefully at the engraving. Sloppy, off center, tilted or misspelled engraving or dot patterns is an absolute sign of a FAKE .
AUTHENTIC TIFFANY CARE CARDS have only Tiffanyd & Co. on the front of the card. There is never more than that one line. If the card says "Care of Sterling Silver" on the front it's FAKE! On the instructions side of the card, each line of the text should be centered. If the care instructions are left justified, it's FAKE! Care cards are not necessarily included with every Tiffany & Co. purchase. I've personally purchased many silver pieces from Tiffany & Co. stores around the country and have rarely received the care card so don't be put off if the card isn't included in the auction.
AUTHENTIC TIFFANY POLISHING CLOTHS are NOT routinely included with a purchase. Tiffany sells polishing cloths in their stores and they are available in two sizes. While not "routinely" included with a purchase, salespeople may give the customer a free cloth, so it does happen - just not as a matter of course. I've personally made many purchases at various T & Co. stores around the country and online and have never once received a free polishing cloth - though I've never asked for one either. It's been my experience that including a polishing cloth in an auction is a RED FLAG that the item MAY be FAKE! Note, the polishing cloth isn't a definitive sign of a fake but it is a reason to explore the auction further for other signs of a fake.
*IMPORTANT NEW INFORMATION: As of mid 2008 Tiffany has begun to carry a the Heart Tag Toggle necklace and bracelet with "Return To Tiffany" engraved on the heart. This is in response to hundreds of consumer requests for this engraving. Please note that this is a NEWER piece in the Tiffany collection. Authentic resales of these pieces should not be any older than 2008. The fake "Return to Tiffany" on the heart has been on the market long before Tiffany began carrying the piece and as of this printing (9/30/08) the fake heart is engraved differently than the authentic heart. See photos 3a and 3b above.
- A Tiffany hallmark on the jewelry is NOT a guarantee that the item is authentic. Most counterfeit merchandise has some or all of the expected trademarks engraved on the item. Some are well done and unless you have experience with the authentic merchandise and view the hallmarks under a magnifying glass, you may not detect the fake. Others are very obvious as in picture 8.
- In most cases, authentic Tiffany jewelry is heavier than it's fake. Authentic Tiffany jewelry generally has a nice weight and wonderful smooth, silky feel.
- BEWARE OF "NEW"!!! Tiffany doesn't have sales... EVER. They don't have an outlet store and they don't have outside distribution channels with access to discounted merchandise. The DO have a liberal 30 day exchange/refund policy. 99% of Tiffany items listed as "new" are FAKE.
- If the photos provided with the listing aren't clear enough or close up enough to determine if the item has all of the features of an authentic piece, email the seller and ask questions. Don't be afraid to ask for more and better photos. Honest sellers welcome questions!
- Make sure the auction has a refund policy or authenticity guarantee. If not clearly stated in the auction, email the seller and ask if they guarantee authenticity. Any answer other than "yes" is a glaring red flag!
- ALWAYS pay with PayPal. PayPal will protect you if the item is counterfeit and the seller refuses to refund your money.
- If you should receive a counterfeit piece, email the seller immediately and ask for a refund. I prefer to take the approach that it was an honest mistake... the seller didn't know she was selling fake merchandise. This usually has a better success at getting a quick refund from the seller. Being accusatory puts the seller on the defensive and reduces your chances of a speedy refund.
- If the seller refuses a refund, IMMEDIATELY file a dispute with PayPal and with eBay. The quicker you act, the better chance you have of getting your money back.
- If you believe that you've purchased a fake Tiffany item, please read my guide FAKE TIFFANY - How to get your money back.
BUYER BEWARE: This is an excerpt from an actual email I received. The sender was selling a FAKE Tiffany Heart Toggle Necklace and Bracelet set and knew it was a fake:
"If people want it, I'm sure they are adult enough to know what they are bidding on. That includes researching before they buy. That goes for every item. If they dont want it or think its fake, they dont have to bid on it." regarding auction #170170783359
Sadly, the uninformed buyer payed $270 for fake merchandise that the seller probably paid less than $50 for directly from China! She may well have bought the fakes right here on eBay. This seller continues unabashedly to sell FAKE Tiffany merchandise on eBay.
Feel free to email me if you have any questions or comments. If you're not sure about an auction, email me with the auction number. I'll be happy to take a look and give you my opinion.
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