Finding genuine Tiffany & Co jewelry online can be tricky business. I've recently taken a great deal of time researching ebayers selling Tiffany & Co jewelry and have come to discover that the vast majority of it is fake. Unless a seller is a verified buyer and seller of Tiffany jewelry, beware of sellers who are auctioning off multiple Tiffany's items, particularly 5 or more at any given time. A really helpful trick to revealing fake Tiffany's jewelry if you are initially suspicious is to watch a seller over the course of an auction period. For example, on the surface they may appear to only be selling 1 pair of "Loving Hearts" earrings so buyers think they are authentic - that the seller only has one pair to auction off, thus increasing the bidding. However, as soon as that auction closes, the seller immediately lists the same item again using the same picture. This is misleading for several reasons. 1 - because that means you are never seeing a true photo of the actual item your getting and 2 - how many sellers (again, unless they are verified dealers) are going to have more than 1 or 2 of the same authentic items? Answer: Next to none. Sellers that are continuously auctioning off a variety of Tiffany's pieces generally get their pieces from well crafted replica makers. IMPORTANT: Know that even some of the Tiffany's pieces that are stamped and signed can still be fake. I have recently come across a seller who claimed that all of the Tiffany items that they were selling were purchased by a "friend" who had a Tiffany & Co employee discount. Now honestly think about this for a moment: What person, even with a Tiffany & Co discount would buy 50 different pieces of Tiffany's jewelry, in some cases 6 or 7 of the same piece, and then auction them off for $24.95? When it comes down to it, it simply doesn't add up. Genuine Tiffany's items usually come from the independent seller, ebay consigner, or estate auctioner. There is no such thing as a "Tiffany Outlet." Tiffany does not have sales. Remember again that Tiffany & Co is one of the world's most reknowned jewelers. There's is no such things as as Tiffany's wholesale. Also keep in mind that the most replicated Tiffany jewelry is sterling silver. It's cheap and much more cost-effective to replicate. You are going to be hard pressed to find stamped 18k gold replicas. If someone is going to buy gold, they are usually going to go for the real thing to begin with. Additionally, beware of sellers that misspell Tiffany's artists names: For example: Elsa Peretti could be spelled Elsa Pereti or Elsa Pearetti. These are things that let sellers get off on technicalities. Look for the subtle details. Just because a seller promises that their Tiffany's items come with the signature pouch, box, care card and bag doesn't make them real. You will often find people selling the bags and pouches at online auctions like Ebay, many times in bulk, which is ideal for someone selling large quantities of replicas. Also helpful in spotting fakes: Many of the replicas are done with a platinum rhodium finish. Even for the high quality and luster of Tiffany's jewelry, a platinum rhodium finish has a too-good-to-be-real finish and brilliance and I've found it to be a tinge whiter than genuine sterling silver.
Signs to look for; Questions to ask:
1. Look at the seller. Note how many Tiffany & Co items they are selling at any one time and if there are multiples of the same item. Beware of a seller offering a ring in multiple sizes and asking you to specify your preference during payment. That's usually a dead giveaway.
2. Ask questions: Don't be afraid to send the seller questions like "Is this the actual picture of the item I will receive?" or "Do you have a close-up of the T&Co signature and engravement on the item that you can send me?" Be weary of sellers that use stock photos from the T&Co web site without any other supporting photos. Also keep in mind sellers that say "I don't take pictures of my actual items because I prefer not to handle them."
3. COMPARE, COMPARE, COMPARE!!! Go to the Tiffany's web site and view their picture of the item you are interested in and compare it to the one being sold.
4. Look for overly polished bright finishes that would indicate a platinum rhodium finish
5. All Tiffany's jewelry is stamped and marked somewhere on every piece. Compare the markings on the piece being sold to make sure they match the pictures on the Tiffany's web site. Or if you can't find a signature to compare it to there, call a Tiffany's retailer and ask them what the markings should look like and where they should be located. Do not be fooled by someone who says that they have an authentic "unsigned" Tiffany & Co piece of jewelry. All items will be stamped and / or signed and marked with the appropriate metal signature (i.e. 925 for sterling silver).
6. Keep in mind that you run a greater risk of purchasing a replica if you are buying sterling silver.
7. If it sounds too good to be true, then know that it probably is.