Tuesday, May 27, 2008
MIRIAM HASKELL JEWELRY: FAKE or REAL?
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 Jewels.com.
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!