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Is it just me? Fake antique rings

Discussion in 'Antique and Vintage Jewelry' started by LightBright, Aug 16, 2019.

  1. LightBright
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by LightBright » Aug 16, 2019
    I’ve been interested in antique settings and antique diamonds for a long time. I watched the inventory of genuine antique diamonds and settings drop with the last serious recession (the one in which many Americans lost their jobs and homes.) I recall not being able to find as many antique rings and diamonds on EBay and Ruby Lane after the crash.)

    On line Inventory seemed to pick up several years ago and then I started noticing signs of wealth and luxury pop up in the jewelry world again. Recently, in the last few years, I’m seeing extremely large “antique cuts” being sold as real. I’m seeing authentic antique settings being sold set with fake or inferior (low color or lower quality cut) antique cuts, and I’m seeing modern settings being sold as authentic. I’m highly skeptical that enormous antique diamonds still exist to be sold in large quantities on the commercial market instead of to museums. I’m highly skeptical that so many antique complete rings exist, to be sold.

    Here’s an example of what I mean. Erstwhile Jewelry is selling a “Cartier” ring “circa 1920” for $20,000. The coppery gold colored 18k setting setting has six un-matched rustic cut visually included melee diamonds on the shank and the central diamond is an EGL certed SI2 “F-G”, .67 carat weight. (EGL being the operative word.) This ring feels like a fake to me. Would Cartier in the 1920s, the pinnacle of Art Deco platinum craftsmanship and diamond connoisseurship put a highly included diamond into a setting with included and unmatched melee? The ring reminds me of the antique replica Indian settings I’ve seen (the rustic cut unmatched and poor quality melee for example). This is just one example of the “dream state” I feel like I’m in with regard to the vintage diamond vendor world.

    https://erstwhilejewelry.com/collec...arat-cartier-diamond-and-ruby-engagement-ring

    Personally, I’m alarmed that mainstream vendors are passing off fakes as real and charging a premium.

    Maybe this is okay because it keeps people happy, and “most” of the pieces are authentic and all are pretty... but it seems uninformed at best and deceptive at worst to me.

    Am I being a curmudgeon? Please set me straight.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2019
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  2. kgizo
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by kgizo » Aug 16, 2019
    Good question! I sometimes see branded antique jewelry with what I consider to be a poor CS as the main stone and I wonder if the owner removed the diamond and set with a poor CS to make $$$ or if the brand did originally set with a poor CS. Like you, I would appreciate more research and/or honesty.
     
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  3. StephanieLynn
    Ideal_Rock

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    by StephanieLynn » Aug 16, 2019
    I prefer when buying an old piece for it to be original down to the diamonds and/or stones. I recently bought an antique aquamarine ring and although the setting is definitely antique, the cut on the aqua looks too good (no window) so that makes me wonder whether it was replaced at some point. Or perhaps it was a high quality ring back then that someone thought to use the best aqua they could for.

    I read a thread several months ago about whether Pebble and Polish recreates antique settings for their jewelry, as there was some question about specs on a piece someone was looking to buy.

    One would hope if they are spending $20K on a Cartier ring that all the diamonds are original to the piece of if replacements that they are disclosed as such.
     
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  4. JPie
    Ideal_Rock

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    by JPie » Aug 16, 2019
    I’ve seen a lot of discussions in the IG antique jewelry community about this topic. I think demand for antiques is outstripping supply. People are selling replicas, marriage pieces, and ones with extensive repairs either through complete ignorance due to inexperience or, in some cases, intentionally to make a buck.

    The other side of that is that evaluating the age of a piece isn’t an exact science. I’ve seen very knowledgeable people disagree on the provenance of a piece, with both sides 100% convinced that they’re right.
     
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  5. bludiva
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by bludiva » Aug 16, 2019
    it could also be stones have fallen out and been replaced over time but i wouldn't even know who to trust to authenticate something like this other than the original maker (and I'm guessing they don't do that)... the hallmarks aren't shown either which is the first thing I'd want to see if purchasing a branded piece. i've seen some preloved / antique pieces offered here and elsewhere with sketchy looking hallmarks. :/
     
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  6. Diamondless
    Rough_Rock

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    by Diamondless » Aug 16, 2019
    I wonder if the stones were replaced some time ago? I don’t believe any high end jewelry names like Cartier would have used center stones with black inclusions.
    But I have observed, with the IG jewelry “dealer” insurgence, that reproductions are being sold as authentic. So many of these sellers do not have the experience to tell the difference. :/ I’ve also noticed a clear lack of knowledge regarding diamond cuts as well, advertising Carre cuts and square step cuts as French cuts etc.
     
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  7. PreRaphaelite
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by PreRaphaelite » Aug 17, 2019
    I'm with you on this, for sure. I have noticed the rise in repro 'Georgian' pieces, likely because setting diamonds in silver costs less than gold. There is nothing wrong with recreating Georgian pieces (I have done it myself and love it) but it is unethical to try to sell them as authentic antiques. Lately this style is all over instagram and I love seeing it, but when something that is newly made is touted as antique and priced accordingly, it's despicable.
     
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  8. Bron357
    Ideal_Rock

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    by Bron357 » Aug 17, 2019
    Buying antique jewellery can be difficult.
    In the 1920s / 1930s most coloured melee gems were synthetics as they were seen as superior in terms of colour and matchability.
    And many is the antique piece that had a lost, damaged or chipped stone that was replaced, often times with a white sapphire, zircon or even CZ to save money. And as my family found out, the coverted antique Ruby ring that everyone assumed worth a small fortune was actually all synthetics. The real rubies had been removed and sold and replaced many decades earlier. I’m sure this happens / happened quite often if times were tough. Sell the real diamond / real sapphire / real ruby and pop in a lovely similar synthetic or substitute and no one will easily be able to tell. My great grandmother must have needed the money decades ago so that’s why she sold the rubies. She still loved the ring and wore it but it had synthetic gems.
    And obviously new rings are made in the antique style and that becomes an issue if an added value is being attached to it’s supposed “antique” status. Yet speaking from experience, a true antique ring, well loved and well worn often requires expensive restoration work to make the gems secure again.
    A buyer has to either buy from known reputable sources or garner the knowledge and experience to make a judgement before purchase (or have a no fuss return period).
     
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  9. GliderPoss
    Ideal_Rock

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    by GliderPoss » Aug 18, 2019
    I agree, I cannot imagine Cartier to use such an included diamond in their jewels! :eek-2:

    I know lots of antiques have been altered over the years but selling new as "old" is very very wrong...:angryfire:
     
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  10. LisaRN
    Ideal_Rock

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    by LisaRN » Aug 19, 2019
    I agree. Not too far back I was seeing these horrible grey, included, poorly cut diamonds trying to be passed off as antique. Usually put in a silver/gold setting, trying to pass for Georgian and expensive. I even saw at least one pop up on LT and thought "Pity the buyer who falls for that."

    I also saw great changes in buying pre-loved antique and vintage rings after the last recession. Before the recession you could find a nice ring at a great price. People were just selling them for some fun money I think. Then after the recession they were gone. I think a lot of people scrapped them and now they are gone forever.
     
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  11. StephanieLynn
    Ideal_Rock

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    by StephanieLynn » Aug 19, 2019
    You can still find genuine antique jewelry at pawn shops, I see a lot of Art Deco filigree gold rings so the stuff is out there but you have to really look for it and know what you're doing even then you're not going to get a crazy deal. Plus when you do find them you have to factor in cost of resizing and prongs etc.
     
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  12. Diamondless
    Rough_Rock

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    by Diamondless » Aug 20, 2019
    Since they didn't think it was necessary to photograph the signature, I found a photo of it from the place they acquired it.
    cartier signature.jpg

     
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  13. Yelena
    Rough_Rock

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    by Yelena » Aug 21, 2019
    I have wondered about this myself. I am often very skeptical when I see so-called antique pieces.

    Now that I have a little bit of knowledge about jewellery (more than the average person, but not an expert) I am much more likely to buy a stone, confirm that it is the real thing and then get it set into a piece of jewellery. I have difficulty trusting jewellery retailers now that I have a little bit of knowledge. In any case, now that I am a bit older, I am a bit more specific about what I want, so I might as well get it made.
     
  14. AMRose
    Rough_Rock

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    by AMRose » Aug 21, 2019
    This is a great thread, thanks @LightBright. I wondered the same about that Cartier piece.

    I’ve learned lots on this forum with my recent “antique” purchase. I’ve definitely been looking at items with a more careful eye now!

    @Diamondless how/where did you find where the Cartier piece was acquired? Curious.
     
  15. Diamondless
    Rough_Rock

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    by Diamondless » Aug 21, 2019
    I have a good memory when it comes to jewelry, I remember the sale price on it was $6,500 too lol
     
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  16. AMRose
    Rough_Rock

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    by AMRose » Aug 21, 2019
    Oh wow, that’s quite the price difference! Must have been listed at a vendor I don’t follow :)
     
  17. kipari
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by kipari » Aug 21, 2019
    I'm in no way an expert, but having seen antique Cartier pieces, none of the engravings looked like they had been done by a pre schooler.....

    And YIKES to 0.67 cts for 20k! Honestly : the person who buys this is a sucker for punishment. Cartier or not.
     
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  18. whitewave
    Ideal_Rock

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    by whitewave » Aug 21, 2019
    Yeah, that mark is suspect
     
  19. meely
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by meely » Aug 21, 2019
    That centre bezel is very heavy :roll:. For all the reasons listed above I just don’t get why they would market that ring as Cartier. It’s either been really mucked around with or it’s totally fake neither of which are great.
     

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