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Tuesday, May 27, 2008


If you collect designer vintage jewelry, you know that authentic pieces by the great designers like Miriam Haskell, Elsa Schiaparelli, Schreiner etc. are valuable investments. They're also expensive!

So it hurts like hell when you suddenly find out that a piece you've purchased believing it was genuine designer vintage jewelry turns out to be a fake or not totally original. That has happened to me twice in the past couple of months and in both cases, the item was purchased on eBay or via an eBay seller.

In the case I'll talk about here, I believe the seller wasn't aware, any more than I was, that the bracelet he sold me wasn't totally Miriam Haskell. Why? Because the bracelet bore an authentic Miriam Haskell oval cartouche with her name stamped on it as you can see in the photo (Click photo to enlarge)

But I woke up too late: when I received the bracelet, I didn't know as much about Miriam Haskell as I've learned since. As I looked at the workmanship, I noticed the wiring protruding at
the top of the rhinestones. That would have immediately alerted someone more knowledgeable about Haskell than I was at that point. I also noticed how the wires peeped through on the underside. It looked messy. I thought it odd for someone like Miriam Haskell but there was that cartouche with her name on it. I let it go thinking it might be just a very early piece that wasn't as good as what came later. Today I know better: Haskell went to great pains to hide her wiring. She would NEVER have had her jewelry finished like this!

So, imagine my shock and concern when I listed this bracelet for sale in MY SHOP AT RUBY LANE. Not two hours after I'd listed it, someone "flagged" my shop. Why? Because they recognized this was a fake Miriam Haskell. Needless to say, I was upset and felt awful. I consulted my friends at JEWEL COLLECT and those who are Haskell experts confirmed my worst fears: yes, this wasn't an original Haskell. But here I have to clarify their findings: what they concluded was the bangle itself was most likely an authentic Miriam Haskell "blank". That's what you call the barebones piece before the stones are added. That explained the signed cartouche. What wasn't authentic was the rhinestones on the bangle. Someone, not Miriam Haskell designers, had added those! How did the members of the group know? As they informed me ""This Bracelet has the wrong rose montees used by miriam haskell. Someone has put these stones on it." Ouch!!

I won't bore you with the details of what's happened since finding this bangle that I paid a good penny for is now quite worthless. Yes, I've gone back to the original seller but he's not accepting my findings nor explanation as to why I waited till now to bring this up with him. He believed he was selling the real thing. I've no way to prove otherwise so I have to accept his position. But that doesn't make it any easier to know that I've been duped, just perhaps as he was.

So how do we protect ourselves when it comes to spotting fake designer vintage jewelry? Well there's an old saying: "fore-armed is forewarned". There's a lot of info on the net about such issues if you take the time to search. Check out THIS PAGE at Vintage Costume
You might also find the information HERE of help. There's also a superb book called "Miriam Haskell Jewelry" at THIS LINK. And if you regularly hunt down vintage jewelry on eBay, be doubly cautious. It doesn't matter how good the price: if it's not authentic, it's worthless.

Thankfully, I've had that expert Miriam Haskell group look at my other Haskell pieces since then and I'm happy to say all my other Haskells in my RUBY LANE SHOP are authentic. You might also like to check out my very informative site at DESIGNER VINTAGE JEWELRY for information on many other designers. In a future post, I'll be telling you about my experience with fake Schiaparellis. Don't miss it. Bookmark my blog or subscribe to it today!


Anonymous said...

I appreciated reading this blog..I recently did a BUY IT NOW on Ebay for a Schiaparelli bracelet and earring set.. the pictures looked good and the earring clips were signed but when everything arrived, there was no signature on the earrings and the plaque on the back of the bracelet showed no wear and looked wrong. The seller told me that he had sent the wrong earrings.. that there had been two pairs with the bracelet. and the second set that i bought from the same seller, still has not arrived.. Live and learn!


Thanks for posting your commnent. I'd really love to be able to talk to you personally about this if you care to email me. I'm pretty wild about the scammer who got me on Ebay for $500 and would love to know if this is the same one. My seller has been selling on there for over 7 years and as far as I can tell has been ripping folks off all that time and eBay allows them to continue doing so. As i said, I'll tell more in a future post, but if you want to email me directly, please do. You might be dealing with the same person. Sure hope not. I've reported this one to the FTC!

eBay Fraud Alert said...

The same seller who sold you the fake Schiaparelli also had fake Weiss--not the cheap pins we see on eBay all the time, but this looked like real vintage Weiss, a necklace set. But his picture had only a small inset of the signature, so I wrote and asked him for a large picture of the signature. He wrote back that he couldn't give me a bigger picture because the one he had was "clip art." Hahahah. He also has some negative feedback for doing the same thing. I looked at his other jewelry that inluded a couple of "unsigned Trifaris" which our jewelry group was pointing out as fake. I asked him about those and made another comment about the "Weiss," and he returned all three emails saying "do not bid on my jewelry."




Thanks for commenting Rebecca. If possible, can you post that same reply under the Schiaparelli thread since the Miriam Haskell seller and the Schiaparelli seller are 2 different people.

But as for your comment re his reaction to the Weiss etc, yeah, that's his style. Rude, ignorant and indifferent. And so he uses "clip art"?!! Right on. And naive buyers know no better and fall for his fakes. Oh what a piece of work. Well I see he's had a third negative posted this month. Will ebay pay attention now or how many negatives does it take for them to investigate. He's been selling on there for 7 years!!!

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Rebecca Fransway said...

Let's not forget the luck we have that Bob Brown of Aged and Opulent vintage jewelry also maintains a Miriam Haskell jewelry group. You can join at Yahoo groups, right here:

It's easy to learn about how to spot a fake, including just posting pictures and asking--is this a fake? There are several experts on the group and it can really help you avoid buying a fake.


Enchantment Vintage Costume Jewelry


Thanks Fran. Yes I've consulted Bob in the past too. Very knowledgeable. Appreciate the link.

wildaboutbling said...

I bought some earrings from Artitudes of Ruby Lane and while she represented them as vintage signed Miriam Haskell's, after five days the stone fell out and I realized there it was glued in and the stone was a brand new onenot vintage at all. The earring blank was Miriam Haskell, but the stones were not original at all. She refused to give me a full refund and Ruby Lane customer service was equally uncooperative citing the 3-day return rule. There are scams all over, it's a shame for those of us whi get ripped off. I wish you'd send your experts to Artitude. There's got to be a way to stop all deceptive dealings. Thanks for letting me vent.


Thanks for your comment wildaboutbling. It's a shame you got caught just as I did. But it's also entirely possible the seller had no idea, just as I didn't when I put that bangle in my Ruby Lane shop, that the stones were not original. I was lucky someone warned me before a buyer purchased the bangle and yes, had that happened, I would have refunded. But all Ruby Lane and other sellers are independent and set their own policies on refunding, just as real world shops do. I also couldn't my money back on the bangle because too much time had passed since I purchased it (I didn't buy it from Ruby Lane). The Ruby Lane site demands we refund on items but there is a time limit and if that time is passed, not Ruby Lane nor the seller is obligated to refund. I feel for you 100%. It is truly hard to know who's honest and who isn't, whether you're shopping online or in the real world.

By the way, while I appreciate the fact that you consider me some kind of authority, I don't have "experts" to check out sites or sellers: I'm just a buyer/seller of vintage jewelry who blogs about my items. But let me finish by cautioning you not to assume that all Ruby Lane or Ebay or other sellers are scammers. Many of them are honest, hard-working and caring people who really do want you to be satisfied when you buy from us. It's a pity the bad is mixed in with the good wherever you shop, isn't it.

Amanda said...

I have been reading your posts and was wondering if anyone knows how to "authenticate" some Miriam Haskell pieces. I was given some of my grandmother jewlery and have some signed Haskell pieces but know nothing about them and quiet frankly don't want to "dupe" anyone if they aren't real.

Vintage Wedding Rings said...

WHat a shame! To bad there are people like that out there! I had bought a fake once- but for me it wasn't such a blow for I know nothing of jewlery, so I couldn't even blame myself. HOpefully I wil learn from you post :)

Anonymous said...

As a lover of vintage miriam haskell, what is really disturbing is how jewelry designers are using that name to sell their own art on ebay under the vintage category. There are several artists using miriam haskell as the name to sell their designs. One woman even has miriam haskell as the designer under the far left. She claims in the description to use vintage miriam haskell chain, yet after ea. bracelet sells she relists and makes another? Who has a whole bunch of vintage miriam haskell chain? Their is no haskell marking on any of her items. Another seller claims she uses miriam haskell beadcaps, just to say miriam haskell in the tittle. This is fraud, and ebay needs to recognize this. You can view the items they buy to make the bracelets under feedback as a buyer. Nothing they buy is vintage. You can click on view item at the far right under feedback as a buyer. These women are making $ using the Haskell name.