Blog: buying jewellery online – insider guide
November 07, 2017
Here at Bloomsbury Manor we are very serious about authenticity. We use a variety of methods to ensure that all our jewellery meets our exacting requirements and yours. Our jewellery specialist will perform tests using specialist diamond testing equipment and microscopes. Pictured below is a laser inscription from a Tiffany & Co engagement ring.
We check laser inscriptions to make sure that they exist and tally with any certification.
In addition to the testing of precious stones we are also well versed in the workmanship of master jewellers such as Bulgari, Cartier and Tiffany & Co. It takes years to understand what to expect from their craftsmen. So many years in fact that it really does pay to deal with and expert.
A final round of verification involves pure experience. Does the item "add up" does it feel right? There is no blog or youtube video that can teach you this skill. Only experience can tell you.
If you have any questions about our verification process or authenticity in general please do not hesitate to contact us on 0207 692 5103 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org
December 19, 2014
You may or may not have noticed change in the air, it’s subtle right now but in five years perhaps we’ll realise that we’ve all stopped craving handbags and we’ve started craving particular pieces of jewellery?!
The designer handbag; Gucci, Tods’, Hermes, Vuitton has been the accessory of choice every since the mid nineties when Prada made the world take notice of their modern black nylon creations. Every fashionista had a Prada bag and every regular woman wanted one. When Tom Ford took over Gucci even more bag desire was created!
Think about jewellery during that time. Cartier was still making “Love” rings, a style largely unchanged since its inception in the seventies. Tiffany & Co had its never changing (and always desirable engagement rings) and some well-known silver designs, which were created in the seventies and eighties. We loved jewellery but we weren’t hooked on it. We didn’t use it to mark out our identity.
Those days are over! After more than a decade concentrating on high-end jewellery all the big jewellery houses; Tiffany & Co, Cartier and Bulgari have shifted focus onto the high fashion segment of their businesses. All have created new iconic ranges, aimed at the same women who have only had eyes for handbags - until now!
Tiffany & Co has managed to almost single-handedly shift focus from the Chanel flap to the Tiffany T! The ‘T’ collection is a game changer, pulling in desire from the desire makers: fashion editors and celebrities. Once these guys are hooked we are all hooked! With new design director Francesca Amfitheatrof at the helm they have managed to distill all of the brand’s elegance, creativity and longevity into one collection!
Then there’s Bulgari’s Diva collection, modern yet exuding the classic lines of the art deco era. Mother of pearl and Onyx provide the cool yet classic juxtapositions to the gold tones of this collection. “Diva” is all diva but in a wearable fashionable way.
At Cartier, designers have been channeling the spirit of the classic “Love” and “Trinity” collections into the new and super slick “Juste une Clou” and “Amulette de Cartier. In common with the Tiffany T and Diva range Cartier’s offering is aimed at a modern woman who wants to look sleek and groomed.
Will jewellery really replace handbags? At Bloomsbury Manor we think that handbags will still be important but that more and more women will be looking to complement their wardrobe with high fashion fine jewellery in the £500-£10000 range. None of the premium handbag makers need worry too much though as pretty much all of them sell jewellery too!
April 08, 2014
1. Ask questions. A good seller will reply promptly and articulately. Bad English = bad jewellery!
2. Only buy from sellers with with a no quibble returns policy.
3. If you're in any doubt use a free authentication service such as ours. We can certainly tell you if we see something suspicious.
4. Pay with Paypal or a Credit Card so you're protected in case anything goes wrong.
5. Compare identical articles with another seller. Do the signatures and hallmarks match? Remember it is better to do this with more than one other seller as you could accidentally find yourself comparing your item against a fake!
March 11, 2013
There's always going to be value in buying preloved/second hand fine jewellery but some eras yield more value than others. Why? It's down commodity prices (that means gold, platinum and diamonds to you and I).
Around the time of the millennium from around 1995 until 2003 gold and other commodities were at an all time low. That meant that jewellers could use more of it. When gold/platinum prices are high they use less. That means that items made around the low gold/platinum price era tend to be heavier and therefore better value for money than later items. In fact Tiffany & Co discontinued many of their heavier items towards the end of the noughties as they became too expensive to produce.
February 05, 2013
Counterfeits, forgeries or fakes... they put a lot of people off buying Tiffany & Co. jewellery on-line. To be honest, I'm not surprised. It was my big fear when I started out. How would I know something was fake? Here's a little about what I've learned...
(Don't worry - if you'd rather not make the judgement yourself, you can use our Free Authentication Service.)
Fake Tiffany jewellery is generally made in Asia, in bulk by manufacturers attempting to pass off silver plated Tiffany designs as real Tiffany & Co solid silver jewellery. These items are sold on websites which mimic Tiffany's own website but are called things like 'tiffanydiscount' or 'uktiffanyjewellers'. You can only buy genuine Tiffany & Co new from Tiffany.co.uk itself.
With regards to the second hand market - and Ebay in particular - contrary to popular opinion, this can be a very safe place to get a great Tiffany bargain!
The kinds of sellers on fake sites like 'tiffanydiscount' don't have access to the Ebay market - because they are banned! (That said, it's entirely possible that individuals, having purchased items from fake sites might try to sell them on through Ebay.)
Fakes often mimic popular classics like the 'Return to Tiffany' range. Remember the people manufacturing these fake items are trying to make a fast buck. They are not highly skilled and cannot afford to finish the items to Tiffany's exacting standards. You'll find, for example, that the links in a chain on a fake item will be pushed to, rather than invisibly soldered together like the real thing.
Have a look on the Tiffany website and check the item you want to buy against the genuine item. Has it got smooth links or can you see little gaps where the links have been pushed together? If you can't see clearly enough, ask the seller to send you close ups of the links. Gaps = fake, no gaps = genuine!
If there are no links to check, ask for the weight of the item - remember fakers don't produce items in real silver - it's too expensive. Compare the weight of the item you want to buy against the weight of the same item sold by other sellers. If your item weighs the same as most of the others then it's likely to be real. If it is significantly lighter then it's fake.
Finally look at how long people have been on Ebay and their feedback. If they mostly sell jewellery and have good feedback, the chances are they are running a business. The last thing they want is to ruin their business by selling fakes. A confident seller will also offer a returns policy. That way, if there are any problems at all, you can get your money back.
I've only been talking about Tiffany silver because that is where the counterfeiting problem stems from. I don't know of any large scale operation that fakes Tiffany & Co fine jewellery ie. gold, platinum and diamond. The reason for this is that it's impossible to make fine jewellery without skilled craftsmen and fine materials. Imagine filing down the prongs on a gold plated engagement ring - it wouldn't work because you'd see the base metal underneath. Of course you could re-plate the item once you'd got the perfect shape but why bother with all of that when you can make a fast buck with silver plated items? Maybe you could take the diamonds out of a genuine Tiffany ring and replace them with fakes? This is possible but you'd struggle to find enough second hand Tiffany rings to make a career out of it!
Hope this helps. Happy jewellery buying!
February 04, 2013
It can seem like a daunting task. How could you possibly buy jewellery online without seeing it first? What about fakes? How can I check what I have is authentic? What if it looks terrible in real life?
Buying jewellery online sounds about as sensible as buying an ice-cream sundae online - it just shouldn't work! More and more, however it does work and, what's more, significant savings can be made by doing so.
Just think about for one second. Your local retail jewellery store has huge costs which it has to pay for out of its profits - staff, premises, utilities. An online retailer can reduce a lot of these costs and can therefore pass on these savings to you.
So if you're after a particular piece, say a Tiffany engagement ring, you should be able to get it cheaper online than in a store.
OK, so it's cheaper - but what about the risk? Well if you buy an item of pre-owned jewellery from a store, how do you know it's real? Not everyone is a qualified gemologist. Usually you'd place a certain degree of trust in the seller. Perhaps you know him or her personally, or perhaps the store has been there forever and, you know, they must know what they're doing.
But how often do you take your items to another jewellery store - to check if the diamond is the real thing, or the gold is really 18K? Probably never! But with buying from an online seller with good feedback and a no quibble returns policy (a minimum 10 days) you can go to your trusty local jewellery store, show it to your friend the graduate gemologist, and make sure you're OK with it. If for any reason you're not, a good online retailer will accept a return. That way you get to benefit from reduced prices whilst maintaining complete control.
Anyone for an ice-cream sundae?