How to avoid a jewellery or watch scam

by Maddy Robinson — 17 Jul 2020

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The first thing to know about buying jewellery and watches, especially engagement rings or Rolex watches, is that they are - more often than not - a significant sum of money. It's an investment! And making a purchase like this can be nerve-wracking... you want to make the best decision possible and get the best product for the best price. And it can be all too exciting when you've found an unbelievable deal, but don't get too caught up in the moment. Stop, take a second, and read our tips on how to avoid getting taken advantage of when buying jewellery or watches.

Do your research.

Knowledge is power, and is so easy to obtain these days, with the internet in your pocket. Spend a bit of time researching terminology like the four Cs of diamond quality, the benefits of buying individual brands, comparing online reviews... find out exactly what you want and roughly how much it's going to cost you. Once you're all knowledged up, you're equipped and ready to go!

Buy from a reputable source.

When buying watches and branded jewellery, it can be very easy to be tempted by a website that claims it's selling a gorgeous watch for a fraction of the price. However, if the seller is not an authorised reseller or an official store, especially for high quality brands, such as Omega, Rolex, Cartier or Tiffany, you can expect to receive a far inferior product.

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Check for tells of a fake.

Serial numbers, model numbers, the weight, the logos and lettering, stamping, quality… don’t let someone sweet talk you into a fake. If you are buying second hand, or from websites like Gumtree or Ebay, it pays to be careful, so try to get a good look at the piece before you commit to the purchase and request more information or original documents where possible. Have peace of mind with services like PayPal, or you can ask your bank or your insurance provider what kind of buyer protection insurance they offer. But, when in doubt, don’t buy it.

Certificates can be forged too!

Certificates of Authenticity, GIA Certificates and Valuation Certificates are important ways of verifying identifying stones and metals. However, it’s important to be cautious when purchasing items online that have accompanying certificates, as it can be easy to trust a source if they claim the certificate is genuine. Ask for further information about the certificate: Certificates of Authenticity usually have unique serial numbers that can be checked with the original producer, GIA numbers can be checked online and valuers can be contacted to confirm they completed the valuation. If the seller refuses to provide any details, such as the valuer’s ABN or the GIA certificate number, don’t trust them!

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If it’s too good to be true, it probably is!

If you see an 18ct yellow gold diamond ring for a fraction of the price it's worth… there’s a good chance your diamond is going to be a cubic zirconia, and your gold is going to be plated metal. Some sellers use a buyer’s lack of knowledge against them, so make sure to do your research before committing to a purchase, especially one that looks too good to be true.

Don’t let the terminology deceive you!

Diamond simulants, gold plating, created sapphires… these terms mean a bit more than diamonds, gold and sapphires. Make sure to research terminology and know exactly what you want, so you can’t be convinced to buy something that you don’t.

Get your past purchases checked! Nervous about a past purchase? You can always bring your jewellery into Phenix for inspections, gold or diamond tests, and valuations completed by our independant certified valuer. Contact us to learn more!

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