Many fakes are sold with a Links of London bag which makes them seem more "genuine", a lot of them throw in the box, polishing cloth, authenticity card to make them seem more legit also. If you have never seen a Links of London bag which the bracelet should come with should you buy from a Links of London store you would not be able to tell if it real or fake since it is just a bag after all.
There is a slight colour difference between the real Links of London bag and the fake, as you can see from the picture above, the fake one is of a deeper yellow tone compared to the real thing, the real bag is of a cream sort of colour and not really as yellow as the fake. Also, the "handles" of the bags are different, the fake one has a handle that resembles a thin shoelace material whereas the real one is thicker and plaited rope like look.
The fake bag I have also has countries down the sides as well as "www.linksoflondon.com" at the bottom as shown in the picture. The real bag has "linksoflondon.com" on the inside of the bag.
A gift box is usually supplied with real and fake Links of London sweetie bracelets, the box is of an oval shape with "LINKS LONDON" on both sides of the box with a detachable lid and the distinct Links of London logo on the lid.
The logo on the real box is slightly thicker (about 1mm) than the logo on the fake. However, the "LONDON" part of the brand on the side of the box is thicker on the FAKE box and thinner on the REAL box. Also, an obvious tell tale fake would be the positioning of the brand. As you can see from the picture, when the 2 boxes are stacked on top of each other the fake one lies very out of line from the center as opposed to the real one on top. Although I did not notice any colour differences between the boxes, some fakes may display a difference in colour. Also, the real box comes with a ribbon attached to the lid but I know that possibly the older bracelets would not have this.
The bracelets are usually supplied with a pouch inside the box if they are supplied with a giftbox. The pouch is also a dead giveaway of authenticity. The material may feel the same but there are differences in the drawstrings, stitching as well as the label.
The fake pouch on the left stands out very much, the label is different to the real one, the Links of London "ovals" are also on the label which is missing from the real pouch. The positioning of the label on the fake is noticeably higher up than the real pouch. The drawstrings are also different, again, the drawstrings of the real pouch is noticeably thicker than the fake.
The labels are different, as mentioned above, the 3 oval logo (they are circles on this fake!) is on the fake and not on the real pouch. What cannot be seen on the pictures is that the stitching of the label on the fake pouch is very poorly done, it is single stitching and doesn't even go all the way to the end. The logo on the real pouch has double stitching - so make sure you look out for that too.
The bracelet may be one of the harder ones to distinguish differences from because some replicas are made very well, for quite a while I was convinced that my bracelet was genuine because it had supposedly passed all the tests such as the weight of the bracelet did not feel cheap, the 'Links London' barrel was noticeable bigger than the other links, the links appeared to be complete with no splits and there were 6 split rings.
Before having to compare using pictures, some telltale signs that your bracelet may be fake are:
- If it feels light, it is most probably a fake
- If you hold it in your hand for a while and your hands start to smell like metal, it is most probably a fake
- If you flick the links and it sounds "hollow", it is most probably a fake
- If you spot that the links seem incomplete such as if there are gaps in individual links, it is most probably a fake
- If the bracelet is single elastic, it is most probably a fake (genuine Links of London sweetie bracelets are always double elastic)
- If there is no 925 hallmark next to the Links of London barrel, it is most probably fake
- If you notice it starts to corrode very quickly, it is most probably a fake
- If the '3 oval logo' are circles, it is most probably fake
- If there are less than 90 links (excluding the split rings), it is most probably a fake (may differ for sizes small and large - this guide is based on my medium bracelet)
My guide here may not be a very good comparison of the barrel because I own the "new" style which has a sort of "bulging" barrel as opposed to the older sort where the barrel looks like the fake one. Although I know from reading other guides that the older style has a 925 hallmark on the link next to the large barrel, for you that have the new style, the hallmark is on a little tag on the 6th link as shown in the picture. The hallmark should read "S 925" and have the 3 oval logo on the reverse side.
There are also noticeable differences in the metal/silver of the bracelet. As you can see from the picture, the real bracelet is much shinier and "silver" looking compared to the fake which appears to be metal or of an alloy of some sort. Also which may not be as noticeable from the picture is that my fake is actually beginning to corrode and tarnish very quickly, this is a final confirmation to myself that my bracelet is a fake.
So that concludes my guide on identifying fake Links of London bracelets. It is important to check the authenticity of what you are buying, if you see sellers that are selling 100s of what is labelled as "Genuine Links of London sweetie bracelet" it is a give away that they could be fake. Links of London do not sell their jewellery wholesale. If you are buying from a private seller who may be selling one or two marked as brand new or even used then make sure you ask for proof of purchase if possible. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, i.e. brand new for under £60, it really is too good to be true!
Please note that this guide is solely based on my experience of buying a fake, I have only had one fake so this guide does not speak for all fakes out there, I am sure that there will be very obvious fakes and some that are very hard to distinguish. This guide is just general and does not apply for all cases, the best thing to do if you want to know if your bracelet is real is to take it to a Links of London store where they can confirm to you if your bracelet is fake or real.
Thank you for reading!