I just know I am going to upset a number of sellers with this guide, but I think it is time someone stood up
so, here goes -
I am astounded at the number of sellers listing FAKE 925 sterling silver chains
I would prefer to think that most of them are not aware that they are ripping people off with Plated rubbish. BUT, when all is said and done, it is ultimate THE SELLER'S RESPONSIBILITY to ensure that what they are selling is genuine. No excuses. None of this "my supplier told me it is genuine". You advertise it - It's YOUR responsibility to check that the stuff you list is genuine! It's your business that will get the bad reputation when you are eventually found out - and you will be!! it's YOU that the Police will come after - IGNORANCE IS NO EXCUSE.
A few FACTS to bear in mind
The jewellery stamps that tradionally have been an assurance of a genuine piece mean NOTHING any more. These stamps have been put on just about any piece made from the cheapest base metals (copper,brass etc) and the items passed off to the unwary, or dishonest as genuine sterling silver and / or gold pieces. Just about EVERY stamp has been forged, even the specialty jewellery stamps like Pandora, Tiffany etc. The list is endless.
'925' stamp means absolutely NOTHING - CHECK EVERYTHING
'925 Italy' stamp means absolutely NOTHING - CHECK EVERYTHING
'9ct' stamp means absolutely NOTHING - CHECK EVERYTHING
'18ct' stamp means absolutely NOTHING - CHECK EVERYTHING
and so on ....
A TYPICAL EXAMPLE
A 925 Sterling Silver Snake Chain. There are hundreds on eBay with low buy-it-now prices. Unless I am sadly mistaken, they are MOST / IF NOT ALL FAKE.
A 1mm Snake chain 45cm long will weigh approx 5 grams.
a 2mm Snake chain 45cm long will weigh approx 10 gram.
a 3mm Snake chain 45cm long will weigh approx 15 grams.
The value of silver (all over the world) at current (7th February 2011) rates is $0.95c US per gram. The cost to make is, on average $0.25c gram. That makes a total of $1.20 per gram. A chain that weighs 10 grams will therefore be valued at $12.00 and it hasn't even LEFT THE FACTORY YET!!.
Typically a chain that comes out of a factory for $12.00 will have a retail price of somewhere between $80 and $120. I know. It's almost immoral isn't it? BUT, believe it or not manufacturers, importers, distributors, wholesalers and retailers want to make a profit on what they sell, and then there are the taxes and transports to pay.
If you are in business and paying $1,000 plus a week rent for a small shop, electricity bills, advertising, wages, courier fees, insurances, accountants fees and all the other costs (like expensive display units,lighting) involved with setting up and running a Jewellery business, PLUS you have invested many thousands of dollars to buy stock - you have to make a profit otherwise you may as well go home and go on the dole.
do people think that they can buy the chain in our example above (which contains $10 worth of silver) for $0.89c each from an overseas seller? Silver is the same price worldwide, and not too many people I know are willing to work for nothing, spend many thousands $$$ on expensive machinery and then sell at a loss.
I am well aware that independant sellers can buy genuine sterling silver items from a wholesaler, add a profit and then on-sell much cheaper that a Jeweller's Shop who has astronomical overheads. BUT, there has to be some realization that, as the old saying goes:
"if it looks too good to be true, it usually is".
Can you get an ocassional bargain?
YES! Of course you can. Sometimes people will sell off their inheritances (jewellery and artwork etc) for much less than they are worth just to get rid of them quickly, but it doesn't happen much these days what with scrap buyers paying quite reasonable money for old silver and gold.
If you are offered Sterling Silver items for less than the current silver value per gram, they are one of 3 things:
1. you have found a real ONE-OFF BARGAIN - jump on it before it escapes
2. it is STOLEN
3. it is FAKE - this applies especially if it seems to be an infinite supply of new pieces.
If you want the assurance that your piece is GENUINE STERLING SILVER you have three choices really:
1. Pay the Full Retail price at the local jewelery shop.
2. Wait for the 50% OFF sales and buy the old stock / stuff the jewellers can't sell - but remember you are STILL paying a premium.
3. Find a small seller who is willing to make a much smaller profit and still guarantee the content and manufacture of your Sterling Silver and / or Gold piece. There are some still around. The stuff that we sell is made either in Australia or Italy and has a 100% quality and content guarantee.
I have now resigned my eBay account. I can no longer be associated with a site that allows such blatant rip-offs