Items mis-described. SILVER or fake gems, ivory CHINESE

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I am constantly amazed at the huge amount of fake jewellery being sold on eBay by many chinese, so called ,Jewellery Retailers. I am a  silver/goldsmith, recently retired and with a little more free time investigating our world of internet sales. PLEASE BE CAREFUL. If you key in JEWELLERY or OPALS which are one of my pet gems, along with pearls you will find a MASSIVE selection of jewellery purporting to be the real thing. So far NONE that  I have seen are genuine. As a test run I ordered a Scorpion in AMBER that turned out to be a real scorpion (poor thing) incased in an amber coloured PLASTIC ball! It was one of the most unpleasant things I have ever had the misfortune to see. Other items were advertised as GENUINE OPAL. Very cheap, pence really. I ordered one necklace. (The opal, some synthetic opalescent material that remains, to me, a mystery) together with cultured pearls. These pearls were real but the Nacre (thats the coating that the oyster lays down) is too thin to last more than a few months at the most) The core of the 'pearls' being either a plastic or glass bead which, in itself is ok to sell as cultured pearl. The REAL PEARL is virtually unavailable today unless you are the Queen or have many thousands of pounds to spend!!  As a point of interest, the Queens PEARLS are all real, wouldnt you know) and fished in scotland. They are beautiful freshwater mussel pearls and found in the wild 'burns' that trickle around the highlands of Scotland. Ah...to be rich (and not, I believe, have to pay taxes still?) But there, who wants to be a 'Royal'!!!

Back to OPALS. Those funny mosaic type 'opals' are really cheap and I think a bit nasty. They use up all the little tiny chipping off the good stuff, waste in fact. The back is always a black material, shockingly often plastic The opal chips are glued on with black glue (to act as a 'grout') then ground flat. A glass or worse, a plastic cap is glued on the top. Horrid. A decent triplet consists of a black backing of maybe obsidian (volcanic glass) topped with a thin slice of good quality opal and topped with rock crystal cap. Now THATS a nice opal triplet! And not likely to be found on any CHINESE site!! Do be careful. 

Next I tried a 'SILVER BANGLE'. the colour was good though a little over bright. On arrival, I scraped a little area and tested it with a troy testing fluid. INSTANT result......Brass.

I have ordered some 'silver' chain material, knowing its going to be poorly plated with silver as I do give my little grandaughter little necklaces now and then. They last a short while and give the little ones some fun. Thats fine but they are being sold as solid silver and come with 925 tags attached which, if truthful ,would indicate 925 parts STERLING to balance of base metal. SO, BE CAREFUL.

We have very stringent laws about hallmarking in this country as well as laws regarding truthful descriptions and I believe that these people can get away with this FRAUD because eBay are not responsible for the selling tactics of  other countries. I would hope that at some time in the future this area of illegal selling may be addressed but for the moment it is up to us, the personal shopper, to be aware and avoid being conned. TAKE CARE OUT THERE!

Ivory too is being exploited but in very subtle ways. All new ivory, quite correctly is banned and genuine old ivory needs to be held in hand and examined  closely to be sure its not NEW made to LOOK old.  On an antiques roadshow one chap had a small collection of netsuke which he had purchase off the net assuming the to be old. They were sadly, all from NEW ivory from murdered elephants. PLEASE, if not certain of source, DONT BUY. Having depressed you all, (sorry) Have fun!

 

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