Thursday, June 23, 2016

Complicated Vintage - Czech Jewelry Fakes

Complicated Vintage - Fake Czech Jewelry

These pieces are made in both Eastern Europe and China.  As they are usually large and striking in appearance, one may overlook the back of the brooch or necklace, which shows an unplated back of visible solder marks.  One more reason to always look for pictures of the back of items.  If a seller is not showing you the back of a piece, there's usually a reason.

This is a large flower brooch that I picked up 5 or 6 years ago, in the very beginning of the whole "fake" craze.  At the time, I believed it to be a genuine unplated item.  These pieces actually come from a warehouse/s of new jewelry pieces made to look old.  Some of these pieces may be signed, so don't let that fool you either.

The bottom line, if an item isn't plated or coated, don't take the chance.  It was a valuable learning lesson for me years ago and my first introduction into the "fakes" market.

Really quite a shame, as the brooch was very striking but I have to admit that from the beginning I did feel that even on the front of the brooch, there was "a little too much going on"...too many different kinds of stones and shapes.

There's a flip side to this, as some sellers will take original vintage jewelry items and silver or gold "paint" them to make the finish/plating appear to be in better, like new condition.  Again, be sure to look at picture of the back.  If the finish looks a little bright and thickly done, it's been retouched.  Usually this done on top of a badly damaged finish and there is really no prep work involved, so your odds of having this thick coating chip or peel off, are very high.

Remember that almost every vintage piece will show some kind of small wear. Simple things like hand lotion and perfume can add wear to the finish of an item.  If a piece looks too good to be true, it usually is.

Once again, good luck out there and happy hunting!

Thanks so much for reading!


Friday, June 10, 2016

Complicated Vintage - Austrian Jewelry Fakes

As we tredge through these times of Fakes, Reproductions and Re-Issues, it's important to remember that there is a geographical component in some cases.
You may find different faked items in your part of the country or outside the US.
I will be discussing the ones that I personally come across in the NY Metropolitan area.

Today's topic is jewelry, specifically Austrian Jewelry.
I recently came upon this set at the end of a long day of hunting.
The color and condition caught my eye and the price was right, so I grabbed it.
Once home, I gave it the once over and grew suspicious.  The color of the setting was a little too "goldtone" and the metal seemed a little light by comparison to other Austrian pieces that I had found.  Notice the tab like setting closures, they're not your standard prong set, they're a cheaper and newer version.
How do we tell?
The newer versions have a more "punched from a pattern" look to them.
So in this front facing picture the red flags are...
1) The color of the gold
2) The weight of the pieces
3) The "punched from a pattern" look to the prongs, they're a little too big and too long
4) The crystals look more like glass than crystal and since Austria is home to crystals, it really wouldn't make sense for them to use glass:)

Now for the back
At first glance, one would think, "Wow, open back settings".
That's one of the tricks to making it look old.
Look at the pin bar, it's hard to see in the pic but it reads "Made Austria".
The only two things that I've ever seen on Austrian pieces is "Made in Austria" or just plain "Austria", never "Made Austria", which has more of a Eastern European sound to it and many of these pieces are coming from the Czech Republic.

It's a beautiful set, but it's not vintage and it took a combination of factors to lead me to that conclusion, which is usually the case.  The better the fakers get, the more you have to look at different areas of the piece.

I felt that this was a good example to start us off with, as true Vintage Austrian jewelry, especially sets, can command decent prices.

So you are now armed with at least a little information before you head out on your weekend hunt!

Good Luck Out There!

If you have more questions, visit me at The Vintage & Antiques Community on G+

Thanks so much for reading!


Thursday, June 2, 2016

Buying Vintage and Antiques Online - Keys to a Good Buying Experience

You're shopping online, looking for that perfect vintage or antique piece.  You scroll through Pinterest, Instagram and/or Google Images, click on the shop or site but how do you know if the piece that you're buying is a fake or original and if the site or shop is reputable? 
Will your item ship in a reasonable period of time? 
Will you be able to return it, if it doesn't meet your expectations? 
Will you be able to communicate with the shop owner?

All crucial questions that could send you out to the nearest antique mall versus buying online.

 Take a good look at the site. 

  Do they have an "About Us" page?

Is there a way to contact them via email or phone?

Do they have a location listed (State or Town, Province, etc.)?

Do they have a return policy?

Are there good, clear photos from all angles available?

Do they state their shipping policies?

Are there markings/hallmarks on the piece that are not discussed in the listing?

Do you see flaws to the piece that aren't mentioned in the listing? and if so, have you contacted the seller to ask questions about it and not heard back?

Do they show their feedback?
(Feedback can be a relative thing, which is why I put that last. Many shops push their customers to leave feedback, while others communicate privately.  Additionally, the feedback set up of various sites can make it difficult for people to use that option.)

These guidelines are good to keep in mind, not only for Vintage and Antiques, but for new items as well.

Also keep in mind that a lack of communication from your seller, can be a bad sign.  We are in a business that requires communication, so those who are not communication friendly, really should not be in the retail business.  However this is the Internet and occasionally email glitches happen.  I would suggest (for those who have not received any communication) that you contact the seller to be sure that your item has shipped and to obtain a tracking number.  
I send a thank you email, with details of when and how the item will ship.  I follow that up with the expected delivery date and tracking number.  After the appropriate shipping time has occurred, I track my packages and contact my customers to be sure that they've received and are happy with their purchase/s.
That might be a little over the top for some, but it helps me sleep at night:)

It's important to note that we all make mistakes.  It's how you handle those mistakes that makes all the difference.

In summation, give the seller and the site, a "once over" and if you answered "no" to any of the questions above...move on to someone who does list those things.  The great thing about buying online is that you have many options, make the most of them, but do it wisely.

Thanks so much for reading and good luck out there:)


Thank you to +Margaret Siemers and her post in our Vintage & Antiques Community on G+ ,for blog post inspiration:)