In light of my last post, I wanted to provide some insights into how to authenticate a pre-loved Tiffany piece. I'll try and do these every so often. Please also note, we do have an article on our website too where we provide some general tips too and also our most recent article on authenticating a Tiffany Diamond Ring here.
Please note this article is not an exhaustive list to authenticating jewellery, but part of the picture.
Today I wanted to highlight:
- Design consistency
- Design quality
- The cost of raw materials used
- The cost of production
When an item is made by a particular jeweller or manufacturer they will always have their own quality control as well as their template as to the overall aesthetic as to how an item is made. Tiffany pieces undergo rigorous quality control checks to the point that buffing and polishing a piece is examined under a microscope before being let out onto the shop floor.
They also have strict design templates that they follow for design consistency so one item is going to be the same as another item sold.
Having dealt with my own jewellery line, I know first hand from experience that variances between jewellers are huge. I can provide a design template to one jeweller and provide the exact same template to another jeweller and the result will be different. It's subtle, but it may be things such as soldering between the joints, the way the melee diamonds are set etc. However I can see variances amongst my own pieces IF I use a different jeweller and different production line.
Therefore the consistency in design and the quality of workmanship is a very good clue to authenticity.
Tiffany pieces are extremely well made. You can see our article on where we discuss Tiffany quality here.
Having dealt with hundreds of high end Tiffany pieces you truly see how well made their pieces are. Even if you attempted to get a 'like' item from your local jeweller there will be differences in the finished product. Subtleties such as the width of the shank, the smoothness of the oval links in a chain, the way the crown is connected to the band etc.
Design quality is a very good clue into the authenticity of a piece.
Cost of Raw Materials Used
The third item I want to mention today is the raw production of items used. Many vintage Tiffany pieces are incredibly generous in their use of Platinum and Gold. The reason for this is simple, the cost of Platinum and Gold was much lower in the past. That's why a lot of today's recent items are much lighter than the vintage pieces.
A well made piece, that is consistent with Tiffany quality and consists of a high amount of Gold to even attempt to make today by another individual would cost MORE than it would be to purchase Vintage. I've listed a couple examples below.
There is a reason that the pieces that are most widely deemed to not be authentic are all sterling silver. Sterling silver is extremely cheap as a raw material. That is one of the reason we do not deal with Sterling Silver pre-loved Tiffany jewellery.
The cost of production
The final item I wanted to mention is the cost of production. Both of these pieces, if I approached someone to make, at the level of workmanship that would be needed to create both of these items would cost more than the asking prices we have listed. Within the Etoile band every single diamond even has a small amount of platinum set behind the diamond to ensure the diamonds sparkle. That is the kind of attention to detail that Tiffany deals with. The padlock even opens and closes.
As I mentioned yesterday, there is a lot more that we also take into account.
We have several methods of cross referencing information, subtle things we look for and also are fortunate in that we've dealt with so many pieces over the years. There is a lot more that we do when we authenticate each of our pieces, but I hope this is helpful.
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