A Counterfeit Expert Reveals 8 Tricks To Spot Fake Jewellery And Watches

The reality is, if you didn’t pay full price for your item, it’s very likely counterfeit. But how can you even tell if your jewellery is real if the tricks are kept secret?

The reality is, if you didn’t pay full price for your item, it’s very likely counterfeit. But how can you even tell if your jewellery is real if the tricks are kept secret?

I’ve studied the confidential secrets that the brands don’t want to release to the public because, if they did, they would be giving you everything you need to counterfeit their products.

Without releasing any of that confidential information, I’m going to share with you eight simple tricks to spot fake jewellery and watches.

1. Where did you buy it?

spot fake jewellery and watches

Most brands will either a) sell their product out of their own retail store, or b) pair up with “authorized retailers.” This is the surest way of knowing you’re buying the real thing. Most brands will list their authorized retailers on their website, so always double check before you purchase. 

2. How much was it?

spot fake jewellery and watches

There’s control over the sellers and the pricing to make sure competition in the market is fair. In the jewellery world, while promotions and sales aren’t out of the norm, they’re rarely very aggressive. Always keep in mind that pricing should be proportionate to the MSRP (otherwise know as the manufacturer’s suggested retail price), especially with watches.

When a basic Audemars Piguet costs tens of thousands, even if you’ve found it for a couple thousand, there’s reason to be suspicious.

3. Is it Swiss?

spot fake jewellery and watches

Real Swiss watches will have “Swiss Made” on the face of the watch —you can usually spot it at 6 o’clock.

4. Serial Number

spot fake jewellery and watches

Check the back of your watch. Does it have a long random number? That’s the serial number, and that’s how the brand can tell if it’s real and honour your warranty. The back of the case will have it and, on more expensive timepieces, the bracelet will have it too.

5. 925/14k/18k

spot fake jewellery

When you’re buying a silver bracelet, unless it has “925” stamped on it, you can’t be sure it’s sterling silver. 925 is the highest grade of silver possible, meaning that it’s 92.5% silver with 7.5% being other metals. You might see the stamp appear as “S925” or “.925” in some cases.

If you’re buying gold, your item should be stamped with “10k” or “417,” “14k” or “585,” “18k” or “750,” or “24k” or “999.” If there’s no stamp, it’s probably plated.

6. Plating

spot fake jewellery and watches

Real gold will not fade over time unless it’s plated. Most brands will be happy to let you know when that’s the case. If your gold watch or jewellery starts to fade or change colour, be skeptical — especially if you were told it was real gold.

7. Links

spot fake jewelry and watches

Do the links on your Rolex watch squeak, or do the pins in the link come out easily? This could be an indication that your watch is a fake.

8. Authenticity Card

spot fake jewellery and watches

Even authenticity cards can be replicated, so check that the serial numbers match. If there’s no serial number on the card, check for spelling errors.

At the end of the day, the best tip I can offer is to do your research beforehand by checking who the authorized retailers are, what the MSRP is, or make a visit the actual retail store of that brand.

Brands will use different methods to distinguish their products. You can use a few of the tips above together to help give you an idea if your item is real or not. But if you’re in doubt, reach out to the brand’s customer service.

And remember: if a deal seems to good to be true, it probably is. 

Featured image: Instagram/@xoxo_jess

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