Unfortunately, there are many fake items on the market of what purports to be Victorian jewellery, but is actually reproduction. Here are some tips on how to make sure you buy the real thing.
Diamonds have always been extremely popular and consequently of great value. Unfortunately this makes them one of the most faked stones in circulation.
In Victorian times, stones of value were very rarely set in anything other than gold, silver or platinum, and the craftsmanship of the pieces was also of high quality. When spotting fakes, you should therefore look out for:
- a stone that is set in plated meal or metal that is not hallmarked
- a stone that is set in a poorly crafted piece of jewellery
Castings and settings
If the piece of Victorian jewellery you are studying is made of gold or silver, it should bear a hallmark. A hallmark tells you where the piece was made, when it was made, who made it, and the purity of the metal it’s made from. You can check hallmarks on the web or ask a reputable jeweller to inspect the marks for you.
Over time, the techniques and production methods of jewellery have evolved together with fashions and fads. Therefore, if you are looking at a piece that is supposed to be Victorian, the way in which the fastenings, links or pins have been made should tally with other pieces that you know to definitely date from this era when compared.
Victoriana is typically complicated and intricate in its design, and fakes are often given away by their simplicity and lack of quality.
Pricing and provenance
Although it’s not essential to pay a fortunate for a genuine piece, if an item of Victorian jewellery seems to be extremely reasonably priced, it’s unfortunately probably a fake.
You can go some way to checking the validity of an item by asking about its provenance. References to particularly good quality pieces that were made by a jeweller of note can sometimes be found on the internet, together with pictures of the piece itself, which will help you to determine whether the item is genuine.
If the piece comes with a marked maker’s box, look carefully to see if the indentation within the satin or silk lining matches the jewellery itself. Sometimes, a reproduction piece will be sold in an old box to make it look like the real thing.
When buying antique Victorian jewellery, bear in mind the above fake giveaways to ensure that you don’t get caught out. If you are in any doubt about a piece’s validity, always ask an experienced, reputable jeweller, like one at Chilton’s Antiques, to examine it for you.