It’s happened to all of us before. You’ve found the perfect piece of jewelry at a seemingly reasonable price, but it’s an online retailer that you’ve never heard of, and you’re worried the piece might end up being fake. The vast capacity of the internet, unfortunately, makes it very easy for fake companies to pop up in nearly every industry—clothing, electronics, and jewelry. It can be difficult to tell which companies are legit and which are merely going to take your money and send you a low-quality product.
Luckily, there are steps you can take to identify whether or not a business is respectable and if the products they send you are actually real. Follow these tips to prevent fake jewelry purchases and identify real gold chains and diamonds.
Precautions to Take Before Buying Jewelry
Read Customer Reviews
If you’re buying from any kind of online store that you’ve never purchase from before, reading the customer reviews is key. This is where you’re going to find invaluable information on both product quality and customer service experiences. Even if customers claim that the products are real, they may have had trouble speaking with customer service representatives, which is a red flag for a few reasons.
First, when companies make it difficult or even impossible to reach a support specialist, this may be because they have something to hide. Even if you are able to contact the company, if other customers have had negative experiences, this could be problematic for you in case you run into any problems with your order.
Take the time to sift through the reviews and determine whether or not this seems like a smart company to buy from. You may also want to search for reviews off the website itself, as some scam companies may add false reviews to their site, but it’s usually fairly easy to tell if reviews sound ingenuine.
You’ll want to look for specific information on products, rather than blanket statements talking about how great the experience was. However, there will also be a handful of negative reviews for even the best companies. Don’t home in on these reviews if the majority seem to be positive and reliable.
Check the Return Policy
A business’s return policy can reveal a lot about the company itself. If you find no mention of a return policy, this is a major problem. Every reputable company has, at the very least, a disclaimer about returns. Most of the time, if a company does not allow any returns on items, particularly expensive items like gold chains or diamond jewelry, they may be trying to scam you. A company that is selling fake products does not want customers to have the option to return an item once they’ve received it and realize that it is fake or of very low quality.
Get Recommendations from Friends
Word of mouth recommendations are one of the most trusted and popular types of marketing. People tend to have more confidence in suggestions given by people they know because friends and family members rarely have a personal interest in the company. This is a great way to find a reliable gold chain or jewelry retailer. Ask around to see if anyone you know has recently made an expensive jewelry purchase before doing more research into the company. You can also ask to see the jewelry piece that your friends bought before making your own purchase. This will allow you to examine and even test the jewelry to see if it passes authenticity tests.
Ask if the Jewelry Comes with a Certificate of Authenticity
Any reputable jewelry retailer will include a certificate of authenticity with a jewelry purchase that includes real gold or gemstones. Carefully look at the website and product pages to find any mention of certifications, as this will give you a big clue whether or not the products are legitimate.
If you don’t see anything mentioned, you can try reaching out to a customer service rep to ask about authenticity certifications. If you can’t contact the company or they seem to avoid the questions, you should look at other retailers who are open about their authenticity policies.
How to Tell if Jewelry Is Fake
The Magnet Test
This is one of the quickest and easiest ways to identify fake gold jewelry. Gold and silver, as well as some other precious metals, are not magnetic, which means they should never stick to a magnet. When you conduct the magnet test, you hold a magnet up to your new jewelry piece. If it sticks, it’s a sure sign of a fake. However, this test can be tricky because many counterfeit producers are aware of this trick and will try to add nonmagnetic materials to create the illusion of real gold’s presence. It’s always best to try several methods for accuracy.
The Skin Test
This test takes a bit more time, as you need to wear the jewelry for several days in order to recognize whether or not it’s real. Fake gold and silver will often turn your skin green. Try wearing your new piece against your skin for a few days and notice whether or not you see any green coloring or if the jewelry is causing irritation to your skin.
Check the Hallmarks
All genuine jewelry features specific hallmarks indicting the jewelry’s purity, weight, and, sometimes, manufacturer. Inspect your new piece to identify whether or not it has one of these hallmarks. If it does, it’s likely real, as these hallmarks are required by law. If you still doubt the piece’s authenticity, you can always bring it to a jewelry appraiser for closer inspection.
Buy from a Brand That You Trust
Testing your new jewelry piece is always a good idea after purchasing it, but to help you avoid becoming part of a scam, you should carefully research the company beforehand. If you trust the company and you’ve received good feedback via friends, family, or customer reviews, you can go through with the purchase. Trust your gut. You can usually tell if something seems sketchy; just be sure to do plenty of research before pulling the trigger and purchasing that new gold chain.