I had to go through several negative transactions (I got my money back on all of them) before I found an AUTHENTIC Tiffany piece. Here is what I know about Tiffany sterling silver charm bracelets and necklaces. For visual aids, I will actually be using some of the items listed for sale to the right of this guide! They change all the time, but it doesn't matter, fake is fake, and real is real, no matter what.
1. Tiffany NEVER goes on sale, they DON'T have an outlet store, and you can't get things "wholesale". Tiffany also DOES NOT have a factory in China, nor do they buy from China. All their jewelry is made in the US, along with some items being made in Italy, Spain and Mexico. Therefore, when you see a seller with numerous "NEW" Tiffany items, BEWARE!!
2/08/09-Following is an email I recently received from an ebayer after I reported his listing for selling fake tiffany (it was removed). He knew who I was because I also emailed him and told him I was reporting him for a fraudulent listing:
I see you were concerned about my Tiffany bracelet listing. Fact of the matter is we (30 ebayers) make purchases of 100 or more at a wholesale price straight from a distributer in Hong Kong. If you worked at Tiffany's you would know that everything they sell is jacked up to 2-3 times after it arrives to uphold their reputation and pay their employees very well. They make alot of profit. As for myself and the others, we make between $10-$20 per item.
Bull. Funny thing is, when I emailed his past buyers to let them know their items were fake, one buyer told me the seller had claimed the ring he sold her (a knockoff Tiffany Somerset heart ring) had been "specially made" for his girlfriend! He also claimed that it was the wrong size but because it was custom made, he couldn't return it! STEER CLEAR OF THIS SELLER!!
2. The links on any tiffany tag bracelet or tag necklace are NOT pinched together, they are soldered together and very smooth. You almost can't tell where the link begins or ends.
3. 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.
4. 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, sometimes along with the word ITALY on the other side of the ring clasp in the back.. If the chain is marked but not the pendant, then that pendant IS NOT Tiffany! If the seller hasn't shown the markings in their photos, either ask for additional photos or don't bid.
5. 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.
For instance, look over to the right of this guide, that's right, take a look. See the items that look overly shiny and have lettering that looks WHITE? Those are what you want to avoid. The lettering on a real piece of Tiffany will look dark.
6. THIS IS NEW - PLEASE READ! Tiffany has just come out with an engraved heart tag lifesaver necklace. For those of you who have read my guide in the past, you will know that this used to be a RED FLAG for fake tiffany, but not any more! So you're going to have to be more vigilant. First, the engraved heart tag necklaces WILL NOT have 925 at the bottom, it will be at the very top of the bail, and it will be small. The top part of these tags will have a large loop for the chain to go through. The older lifesaver tag necklaces will not be engraved. NO MATTER WHAT, IT WILL ALWAYS BE MARKED ON THE BACK. So ask for photos of the back of the tag to be sure.
7. The engraving on your return to tiffany bracelet should be completely and totally sharp and clear to read. Also, Tiffany uses a very thin font, if the font on your piece is wide, or if it's unclear or looks sub-par, (ALL TOGETHER NOW)... IT'S NOT TIFFANY!!
8. This is my best advise: If you're not certain, check the tiffany.com website, compare what the person is selling to what's on the website! Does it look the same? You will save yourself a lot of doubt, worry and money if you just take the time to go to the website. It's very easy to navigate and you can see closeups of the items.
9. Make sure the photo is of the actual item, don't be fooled by a photo lifted from the Tiffany website.
10. There are many items engraved with "please return to tiffany", and you will need to go to www. tiffany.com 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."
11. Be suspicious of any seller who states in their auction that they don't want questions about the authenticity of their item. Any decent seller who wants to make a sale will welcome questions. If their auction tells you not to ask questions, they probably have something to hide. Make sure there are closeups of the item. If not, ask for closeup photos to be sent to you.
12. ALWAYS check a sellers feedback! Don't simply check their feedback number, but look for past buyers who may have also bought Tiffany jewelry from them recently. CHECK OUT PREVIOUS LISTINGS! Today I JUST found a seller who had what looked to be an authentic Tiffany toggle necklace & bracelet set, with a fairly decent story as to why she had these items, so I checked out past items they'd sold. GUESS WHAT? They've sold at least three identical sets in the past month!! Now what are the odds of someone having THREE sets of brand new, never worn Tiffany jewelry? Right.
13. Be suspicious of someone saying they got the item but it's just not their style, the recipient already had one, it didn't fit, their girlfriend broke up with them, etc. Tiffany has a generous return policy that allows returns for items purchased within the past 30 days of the receipt. So there is really no reason for an intelligent person to be selling a new piece of Tiffany on ebay, especially in this economy!
Also, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER buy Tiffany jewlery from someone who keeps their feedback private!! That can be a HUGE red flag that they're selling fakes, or have something to hide.
14. I am personally VERY leery of people who sell necklace and bracelet sets. People who have authentic items like that will break up the set and sell them separately, to make more money. If the set or their feedback looks shady, it's HIGHLY likely that they've combined a fake set to draw more attention and bidders. In all my time of researching tiffany jewelry on ebay, I've NEVER come across an authentic set. I'm not saying it couldn't happen, just that it's very unlikely.
15. 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!!
16. If you got to this guide too late and are a victim of somebody selling fake Tiffany jewelry, go to: http://pages.ebay.com/help/contact_us/_base/index_4.html?tier0=report_listing.js&item=190134326682 and file a claim with ebay.
17. As far as those other tiffany websites out there, they are ALL FAKE. The only true Tiffany site is Tiffany.com. If the website is called ANYTHING else, it's a fake. There are absolutely NO sellers, dealers or websites that get "deals" and Tiffany does NOT sell "discontinued" merchandise to buyers or websites. Don't fall into the mindset that if they have a website, they must be real, they're not. I made the same mistake when I first started out, and I got my money back. I had to work very hard to get it back, make alot of threats and be very persistent. If you've fallen into the same trap, tell that website that you'll turn them in to Tiffany if they don't refund your money. Those little websites don't want a giant like Tiffany to sue them, and that generally works. 1/15/11 - PLEASE do not email me, asking me to check these sites out for you. It is a waste of time, yours and mine.
18. On the 1837 pendant necklaces, the markings on the back should be in the upper corner.
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 claiming they have a contact who gets them Tiffany stuff for cheap or at wholesale, it CAN'T be done. The only way to get authentic NEW Tiffany jewelry is to buy it in the stores or from the Tiffany website.
Of course, buying an authentic piece of Tiffany on ebay will always 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. I own pieces from the stores and from ebay, and I will tell you from personal experience...after a week you seriously can't tell the difference anyway! That's because the pieces scratch very easily.
That brings me to my next point. I think some fake sellers have been reading my guide, because I've come across a lot of listings lately that say the jewelry is "used, but only worn once" which is supposed to explain why the piece has no scratches. This is yet another scam to get you to lower your guard and buy the piece because it says it's used, but it looks so good! The auctions that say "used" had better have Tiffany that has scratches and LOOKS used, or it's probably fake.
So, if somebody claims to have brand new Tiffany jewelry for sale on ebay, RUN! 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. Because, seriously, would you rather have an authentic piece of pre-loved Tiffany or a nice, shiny FAKE?
7/29/09 - Ok, I know that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, but my guide seems to be getting plagarized all over the internet. If you want to use it on your blog or website, feel free - BUT YOU MUST CITE ME AS THE SOURCE! Nobody likes a cheater.
3/14/10 - I'd like to thank everyone out there who emails me simply to tell me how much they appreciate/enjoy my guide. Please know that I put a lot of work into it, so I never get tired of hearing that it's helped someone out there, that's my entire reason for doing this, so THANK YOU!!! I get a lot of emails asking me to look at an auction or a piece, and I wish I could answer to them all. Please know that if I don't respond, it's because I simply don't have the time, and I'm very sorry for that. I do try to respond whenever I get a chance, but I get about 50 requests a week and there's just no way I can answer them all. I'm sorry!!
4/08/10 - Wow, my guide made it to ABC.com, very cool! Thanks Dalia!
5/13/11 - I just got an offer from ehow. They wanted to buy my Tiffany guide, but I would have had to take it off of ebay since it would be their property. After about .019 seconds of thought, I said "no". Why? Because I worked really hard on this guide for you, the ebay buyer. No way would I have taken this guide off of ebay. But it was a nice ego boost.
I Hope this helped! If it did, please click "yes"!