Monthly Archives: February 2013

Caveat Emptor – Don’t be fooled by the 925 “hallmark”

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Silver Hallmarking Part 2

A little while back I wrote a blog about the definitions and history of hallmarking in the UK entitled “Silver Hallmarking Part 1 – when is a hallmark not a hallmark?”.  Today I would like to share some of my own personal anecdotal experiences of buying  “silver” from China,  in the hope of raising awareness about not believing all you are told, and being given true information about what you are buying (this is very topical in UK right now because of the horsemeat scandal!!!).

Global market price

Silver is traded globally on the world’s metal exchanges.  In other words, like gold, it has a set price and although that price can fluctuate daily, it is fairly stable at the moment. As nearly everyone knows, gold and silver prices are the highest they have ever been.  Today I want to ask the question:

How do you know when buying silver if it really is “what it says on the tin”  ?

Someone (I’ll call her “Steph”) showed me some “925 silver” jewellery the other day and asked for my opinion as to whether it was “real” or not.  I recognised the familiar green boxes and those lovely little jade green pouches stamped “925”  and immediately knew their origin.  I checked “you bought these from China didn’t you?”  It turns out, yes, she had, by way of Ebay. (The other channel these sellers commonly use is Aliexpress.com).

Misrepresentation laws

In the UK we have strict laws about what you can and cannot say when it comes to selling a product. For instance if you say something is sterling silver when it isn’t, then you would be breaking the law and could be prosecuted and even go to prison. Such penalties do not exist in other parts of the world and therefore people can legitimately tell you something is sterling silver when it is only silver plated and they will see nothing wrong in that.  They will even go to the trouble of stamping on “925” (anyone can buy one of these punches – try Ebay) to convince people that it is “hallmarked”  and supply it in lovely little green pouches stamped 925.

Counterfeiting

Some will sell items which are copies of Tiffany or Pandora products for example, and even reproduce the packaging so beautifully that only an expert could tell the difference.  Counterfeiting in all shapes and forms is rife on the internet and yet a surprising number of people still actually believe that they can buy a genuine  Karen Millen dress for £30 if it arrives via China.

Scrap value of silver

Without even looking at the jewellery, the price is usually (but not always) a giveaway.  In Steph’s case, I knew her bracelets were fake as soon as she said that her ” genuine Tiffany” bracelet was a real bargain at a mere £3.99 (about $6 USD).  Tip no 1: “if it seems too good to be true, it usually is”.  Tip no 2:  always weigh the item – or ask the weight if you haven’t bought it yet – then take the weight (e.g. 20 grams) and multiply it by the scrap value sterling silver as quoted on the Metal Exchange  (e.g. 50 pence a gram) – then you will know that piece of jewellery would be worth £10 as scrap.

You get what you pay for – usually!

So how can an item costing £3.99 possibly be made from sterling silver (92.5% silver)?  If you are buying it as a piece of jewellery it could be worth 10 times or even 100 times the scrap value (taking into account design, branding, workmanship, overheads)  but it is obvious that it will never, ever, be sold for a lower price than the scrap value unless the seller is a complete mug!

Slave labour myth

I asked Steph “how could you believe it to be genuine silver when it was so cheap?”  Her reply: “well I thought that because labour costs are so cheap in China and they send little children down the silver mines, they can sell the silver cheaper than anyone else”.  If you have ever been tempted to believe such myths, please re-read the bit about global markets.

(This article is to be continued)

(c) Copyright Caravela Jewellery.  This is an original article written by Geraldine Allen, protected by Copyscape.  Please do not attempt to copy it without asking permission of the author.

(to be continued)

Celebrating Mother’s Day – 10th March in the UK

Now that Valentine’s Day has passed, the next important date on the celebrations calendar is Mother’s Day  (March 10th) !  At least that is the case in the UK.  I noticed when I lived in Spain and Portugal that Mother’s Day was sometime in May – and I believe that is the case in the US as well.Blue heart reverse

My mother always used to say that Mother’s Day was a genuine religious celebration (“Mothering Sunday”) which  always falls on the third Sunday in Lent – three weeks before Easter!  What she was suggesting is that Mother’s Day is rooted in Christian tradition, as opposed to  “Father’s Day” which (she alleged) has been invented fairly recently purely as a commercial ploy to sell Father’s Day gifts and cards.  Or maybe a group of fathers invented it because they felt left out – who knows or cares??!

I have never understood why the moveable feast of Easter Sunday couldn’t stick to the same day each year.  Once again, Easter also falls at different times in different countries.  For example, I visit Cyprus frequently and their Easter is always about two weeks after ours.  At least with Christmas you know where you stand.  Can you image the havoc if everyone around the globe celebrated Christmas Day on different dates?

To come back to Mother’s Day though, I always associate it with spring, and in the UK this week, it has definitely felt as if spring is in the air!  The daffodils in my front garden are preparing to burst forth from their hibernation – although that doesn’t mean we won’t still get snow, so don’t put the snow shovels away just yet!  I strongly believe we should show appreciation for our mothers throughout the year, and formalise it with a special token on Mother’s Day.

The traditional gifts for Mother’s Day  are chocolates and flowers.  The trouble with chocolates is that they are fattening, and many mothers will have had those at Valentine’s and will no doubt get more at Easter.   And the trouble with flowers is that they are lovely on the day, but they don’t last very long.

The best prese54-706-3133nt you can buy your mother for Mother’s Day is a bunch of daffodils or carnations PLUS a piece of jewellery that will last a lifetime – which needn’t be expensive.   A silver heart pendant always goes down well, especially the filigree designs we have on our website.  All our silver jewellery comes in a beautiful purple ribboned gift box so makes the ideal gift with money back guarantee if it fails to please.  We also have some lovely Murano glass hearts on crystal bead necklaces, for something a little bit different.

Why not take a peek now and order early for Mother’s Day!

"Amore"

“Amore”

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Yes, it’s that time of year again already, and to celebrate I have launched my very own collection of handmade heart pendants.  I have used a selection of different materials from lampwork glass to cherry quartz, and the colours are just gorgeous.Each pendant is supplied with a leather thong necklace and a silver plated chain, in a lovely purple gift box.  All for just £12.00 (plus £2.50 p&p!! ImageImageImage