Is it really silver?

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An example of silver chains from Asia.
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Link to an eBay page
An example of silver chains from Asia.

Is all that glitters really silver?

I love beading and buy a lot of beads and chains from abroad, and when I first started to buy on ebay I bought lots of silver chains so I could hang the pendants that I was making.

Some like the one on this page are  described as 925 silver and I bought the one in the picture in 2014. When they arrived I was delighted and said so in my feedback. However, a year on, and  the chains are now  a copper colour. Having given the seller  great feedback because they looked so good when they arrived, there is now no mechanism on ebay that will allow me to  alter my feedback, so I am writing this guide instead.

I have learnt a valuable lesson: if it looks too good to be true, it probably is a scam!

Now, what concerns me most is that I give lots of my jewellery away, usually to charity shops or as gifts, and the thought that someone might have purchased a silver  chain from a charity shop, only for it to discolour so quickly, makes me very angry.  I told the charity shop the chain was 925 silver, which means the shop could get into trouble as well if someone reported them to Trading Standards, so this is serious!

Given the number of adverts for jewellery and beads from China and Hong Kong on ebay, I do think that ebay should either allow us to update feedback if a product later appears to be something other than what it was said to be or they should ask some of us to be 'mystery shoppers' so we can test the goods to see if they are genuine or not and allow us to report some months later if the product stood up well to normal use.  

What worries me is that many people do believe what they read, and if a seller says they are selling silver, they believe them.   It isn't only silver;  I bought some beautiful agate beads and was so pleased when they arrived I bought some more, then after a couple of months of wearing them the 'agate' surface started to rub off to leaving a blue translucent finish.  That was so disappointing and of course I had paid for them! Again, I could not leave any negative feedback or open a dispute, and anyone else reading my feedback would assume this was a great product.

You know what really worries me even more than agate beads being something else or solid silver turning a copper colour a few months later is that I have noticed a number of sellers in the UK selling on the chains both on ebay and also on local sellers' groups on facebook.  As they are in the UK, they could end up in serious trouble and could even be prosecuted if the silver they are selling is not genuine silver!

The sad thing is that ebay will not protect us from these scammers selling us counterfeit or fake goods, so please be very careful about buying from China or Hong Kong and if you pay pennies, expect to receive goods worth only pennies!
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