Okay, here we go on Tiffany. Who doesn't love the stuff?? The question is, who knows the real from the replica? Here are some pointers to help you figure it out.
NEW INFO: NEW UPDATED GUIDE AS OF 10/24/07 BECAUSE TIFFANY WENT AND DECIDED TO HAVE BEAD BRACELETS AND NECKLACES OF DIFFERENT MM SIZE BEADS!!! THEY WILL NOW OFFER MULTIPLE CHOICES FOR YOU WITH THE SIZE BEADS YOU WANT SO THIS WILL MAKE IT EVER MORE IMPORTANT TO MAKE SURE YOU ARE PURCHASING AN AUTHENTIC TIFFANY PIECE THAT IS GENUINE 925 STERLING SILVER IF YOU ARE NOT BUYING DIRECTLY FROM TIFFANY BUT A SELLER HERE ON EBAY!!!
NEW, NEW INFO!!! UPDATED 06/29/08 IF YOU PURCHASED ANY TIFFANY PIECE HERE ON EBAY THAT THE SELLER CLAIMS TO HAVE RECENTLY PURCHASED...SEND ME A MESSAGE. THERE IS A NEW TECHNIQUE EMPLOYED BY TIFFANY'S TO TRY AND STOP COUNTERFEITERS!!! MAKE SURE YOU ASK YOUR SELLER EXACTLY WHEN THE PIECE WAS PURCHASED. THAT INFO IS CRITICAL. GOOD LUCK!!!
First, when going to bid on or buy (BIN) one of the round link bracelets and necklaces that have the Return to Tiffany hanging round or heart tag, the Return to Tiffany oval tag, or the Tiffany & Co 925 hanging heart tag round link bracelets and necklaces, ask if the links are soldered smooth or are they simply tightly closed and able to be removed to size. If they are NOT soldered smooth then it is a fake. Authentic Tiffany links are completely smooth and can only be sized by taking it to a jeweler. This brings me to another point brought to my attention by a seller who was afraid that people would pass up their jewelry thinking it was not authentic because of size...
Here is the deal; the sizes stated here are directly FROM Tiffany, using the ORIGINAL pieces purchased UNALTERED. If someone has a smaller or a larger wrist, they may decide to have their necklaces or bracelets shortened or lengthened. This should be done by Tiffany. ALL TIFFANY MARKINGS ARE THE SAME ON ALL PIECES OF LIKE STYLE. They don't vary from region to region or store to store and if you were told this or assumed this then you were misinformed.
Back to sizing. This is where it can get tricky. What if people start stating in their auctions that their items ARE authentic but have been altered and they really ARE fakes hiding behind that little catch??? See where this can get tricky?? My only suggestion on this note is if an item has all of the appearances of being authentic and the seller states that the item has been sized; then you need to have their personal guarantee and a COMPLETE REFUND POLICY where you not only get the price of the item refunded but the shipping costs as well returned to you if you take it to a Tiffany store and find out they were full of it! Use the My Messages section in My Ebay so your messages are documented on Ebay's server, which will be your proof if you end up having a dispute with the seller via Paypal. Don't try and do this via personal emails or you really have no proof that can be authenticated. ( jeeezzzzzz, to think I wrote ALL of that to pacify a seller who tried to blame me for not selling a bracelet because it had been sized!!! If it walks like a duck...) Back to the criteria.
With the RTT (return to tiffany) OVAL tag necklace, the lobster claw should be on the RIGHT side of the tag when wearing, next to the word please and the clasp connects directly to the connector to the tag. On the bracelet, the clasp is in the middle of the bracelet and does NOT connect to the tag.
On the RTT HEART tag necklace/bracelet where the tag lies flat and does not dangle; the same criteria for the oval set applies. However, with the RTT Heart tag bracelet where the tag dangles; the clasp is to the LEFT of the tag. For the PLAIN heart tag bracelet with the tiny Tiffany & Co. 925 on the back top of the heart, AND the Round Tag bracelet, the clasp is to the RIGHT of the tag. For ALL of those matching necklaces, the clasp is in the back of the necklace. (back of your neck) You can trip up some fake sellers with this info for sure!!!
Second, with the bead bracelet or the round ball bracelet as some sellers call it; the genuine Tiffany silver bead bracelet has only 17 balls. Count the beads on the bracelet you are thinking about bidding on. Now Tiffany ALSO has an 8 1/4 inch bead bracelet that has 19 beads but on both bracelets, the beads are the same size. They are 10 mm beads so make sure you examine the bracelets closely as their sizing is exact.
HERE IS THE NEW INFO!!!!!!!! Tiffany now makes bead bracelets in different diameters from 8-19mm. here is the chart of how many beads per mm size:
8mm size bead- 19 beads; 9mm size bead- 18beads; 10mm size bead- 17 beads; 11mm size bead- 16 beads; 12mm size bead- 15 beads; 13mm size bead- 14 beads; 14mm size bead- 13 beads; 15mm size bead-12 beads; 16mm size bead- 11 beads; 17mm size bead-10 beads; 18mm size bead-9 beads.
This info on bead amounts pertains to the original size bracelet, unaltered and NOT the longer bracelets which are a special order and not shown on either websites or magazines. They MUST be requested.
The original bracelet of 17 beads, 10 mm in size is 7.5 inches in length. The 14mm size bead bracelet is 8 inches in length. See??? I told you it was tricky!!! Now you need to not only be savvy in purchasing but you need to know the mm sizing and the length of bracelets. also, here is where you can ALWAYS spot the fake: the link that runs through the beads to connect the entire bracelet. The connector loop that the clasp connects to is oval in size and is soldered smooth. The loop that the clasp is connected to on the other side of the bracelet is a smaller loop, slightly thicker and also more oval than round. It is also soldered completely smooth. The links chain that runs through the beads are tiny, oval links that connect in opposites meaning one link is lying flat and the next is connected on its side and the next is connected lying flat and the next is connected on it's side etc., etc., etc. The link is called a foxtail link and was used by Native American Indians in the 30's and 40's to string beads because it is a sturdy link.The fake bracelets have a crappy, skimpy chain that runs through that does NOT look like this.
Third, the bead necklace. In the original silver bead necklace; there are 46 beads. Any more or less is a fake. In the graduated bead necklace; there are 55 beads. In this necklace, the length is 16 1/4 in. in length and the bead mm size graduates from 6-11mm. Again, any more or less is fake.
IMPORTANT CLUE: This goes for absolutely anything you are buying that may have a replica made. Make sure the photo you are looking at of the item is one taken by the seller and NOT downloaded from the say... Tiffany site!!! Duh!! Everything on that site is perfect because it IS Tiffany you know! If the photo is bogus and not an original shot, ask for one. If you get an excuse like "my camera is broken" or " I am out of town and cannot take any as the item is at home" or no answer at all...DO NOT BID.
Now, the Venetian link. This one is a tad trickier as you need to compare it to an authentic one. The replicas have larger links than the authentic. You need to look at photos of the one you are going to bid on and an authentic one from the site. Luckily for you; the picture from the Tiffany site and be enlarged to great detail so take advantage of their web designers!!!
All authentic Tiffany clasps have a tiny 925 on the clasp somewhere. Sometimes it is on the little part of the clasp that moves and sometimes it is at the bast of the clasp but make sure it is marked 925 somewhere. The problem is alot of the replicas now do that so be smart and ask all of the questions detailed here.
If in the description or title it says "Tiffany Style" or "Authentic 925 silver Tiffany" do you think it is truly authentic?? Take the first description. If it says style then it is the same as saying like. It is similar to but not the original. In the second, the answer is already in that description. It is claiming that the silver is authentic 925 sterling but it is not describing the jewelry as authentic. Be smart people!!! Read and re-read the descriptions and titles as some sellers can be very tricky!!
This is something you can only do once you have the piece in hand, or if you are shopping in some city and see little stands set up with shiny, silver pretties hanging and you feel the urge to buy! You will need a magnet. Sterling silver is comprise of 92.5 % silver; the remaining 7.5% should be copper. Sometimes there may be a small percentage of other metals but none should be ferrous (containing iron). This is why sterling pieces are stamped 925.
Now you have your magnet and your sterling silver jewelry. See if the silver sticks to the magnet. If it does, then it is NOT sterling silver. You would be surprised at how many reputable stores sell less than sterling silver and call it sterling. ( just for fun, grab a magnet and go to a few jewelry stores and ask to see some silver chains. You will be SHOCKED at what you find out and the managers will get a little hot under the collar when they realize what you just learned and what they didn't think people would find out. It is actually quite funny to see them flustered and hearing the ridiculous crap that comes out of their mouths for excuses like they coat their silver to keep it from tarnishing, blah blah blah) Tiffany & Co does not do this. REAL Tiffany jewelry does not do this.
People need to also understand that silver tarnishes when exposed to oxidation; ie skin, air, etc. It is best to use a polishing cloth to remove the tarnish, but you need to store it wrapped in cloth in a plastic bag to avoid any air getting to it. Ever wonder why your grandma's sterling silver cutlery was so coppery looking and tarnished?? It was exposed to air for along time and not stored properly so it would have needed to be polished, carefully packed and then stored to avoid that! The best silver tarnishes so know this!!!
Whiew...., I digress. Back to the magnet test. If the piece is attracted to the magnet it is NOT sterling and just may be plated to appear to be sterling. If it simply falls away from the magnet with no attraction whatsoever; it is sterling silver. This little test is your final test if the "Tiffany" piece has passed all other hoping-to-be-genuine tests.
Let's talk about receipts. Do you realize how easy it is to scan a receipt, change the info, text, etc and then use it on an auction to make it seem legit?? Look at the receipts carefully. I love it when sellers say they "blacked out" some info but if you look really carefully, you can actually detect the letters and then figure out what it is. There are some sellers who post receipts to items not even listed in their auctions but with the high dollar amount, people don't question it and simply bid! It is absurd how naive one can be when they think they are getting a bargain. DON'T BE ONE OF THEM.
My best advice is to then ask for the personal guarantee of the seller that the item is authentic and that if you take the item into Tiffany; they will confirm authenticity. This way, if they tell you it is and it isn't; you will have that proof to go back to Paypal and dispute the purchase and ask for your refund. NEVER PAY FOR ANYTHING WITH WESTERN UNION. HELLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, can you say FAKE?!?!If the seller does not answer you, DO NOT BID. Simple enough.
NEW UPDATED 7/20/08: Apparantly some Tiffany stores are refusing to authenticate items. More than likely, they are sick of people bringing in replicas they bought on ebay hoping to be real. My advice?? GET THE REAL TIFFANY!!! Simple enough.
ONE MORE IMPORTANT NOTE: Check the seller's feedback for their recent transactions and see just how much Tiffany stuff they have sold. If they have sold an unusually large amount of Tiffany, like more than someone who may really like silver jewelry, ought some pieces and all of a sudden decided to boycott silver in favor of gold and their loss is now your gain, blah blah blah...be wary. You see, Tiffany doesn't have any "retailers, re-sellers or distributors" other than their online store, and their actual stores. There is NO WAY ON THIS EARTH someone can "be able to purchase in volume at a discount" and re-sell on Ebay to give you a better price. It's just not happening so don't fall for it if someone tells you that. TIFFANY DOES NOT DISCOUNT. (if you have alot of money and your mom is the mayor they may open up at night just for you and your soon to be fiance like in Sweet Home Alabama but ya never know...it could happen!)
Now, please...scroll down just a little bit and click YES that you found this guide helpful. If you don't really care about Tiffany, then please click YES so my highschool English teacher will know that all of his hard work in making sure I could string thoughts together on paper paid off! Please. Vote. YES!!!