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Friday, May 30, 2008

TIFFANY & CO STERLING SILVER EGG TIMER


Tiffany & Co ... eyes blur at the thought of owning a piece of Tiffany jewelry or a Tiffany antique. The whole world recognizes the name of a company that started back in 1837 on Broadway in New York. According to the company website, one of the things that made headlines with that opening was that you couldn't negotiate prices. That was revolutionary. And are you ready for this? The first days sales totalled $4.98!

It wasn't long after that the company introduced their immediately identifiable blue box with the Tiffany name proudly stamped on it. If you purchased in that "Tiffany Blue" box, you were assured of quality, elegance and exclusivity. There was a rule about that Blue Box at Tiffany: none were ever allowed to leave the building unless it contained an article sold by Tiffany.

In 1851, Tiffany became the first American company to use the 925/1000 sterling standard for silver. And it is just one of these sterling silver pieces, complete with its soft blue flannel pouch and its Tiffany Blue box, that I am sharing with you today!

In this day and age of fast food and pre-packaged meals, does anyone still boil an egg? I do. So I've always had an egg-timer handy, but not necesarily one like this Tiffany Sterling Silver Egg Timer. It's an antique, a keepsake ... not something I'd want dropped in the kitchen. If you click on the photo, you can see several more enlarged pictures of this piece, its pouch and its little box in our SHOP AT RUBY LANE where we are selling it for only $150. What a steal for an authentic vintage Sterling silver Tiffany Egg-timer.

The entire piece is 3 inches tall and the sand flows freely and easily. It's in great condition. Only the box itself is showing some wear. And as you can see when you visit our shop to see the enlarged pictures, the timer is stamped with the familiar "Tiffany & Co Sterling Silver". If you collect Tiffany, this is an inexpensive but valuable piece to add to your collection.

We have another fabulous Tiffany piece in our SHOP AT RUBY LANE. It's a 14k gold antique pen/pendant that weighs 19.3 grams. If gold jewelry or gold pieces are something you invest in, be sure to take a look at that one too. It's outstanding and rare: a true collector's item.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

BEING SCAMMED ON EBAY: SCHIAPARELLI FAKES

Well I wasn't going to talk about this so soon after writing about the Miriam Haskell I got duped on via Ebay, but after losing sleep over this one last night, I figured I may as well vent and get it out of my system now and just maybe help others who fall victim to this kind of thing.

First off, let me tell you that as far as Ebay and PayPal are concerned, it's my own damn fault this happened to me. Okay, I'll give them that. I made the mistake of buying off eBay. But even if I had bought this rubbish, fake jewelry at an Ebay auction, the person selling it is selling fakes and guess what? He's been doing it for years and he's still doing it. ARGHHH!

So here's what happened. He's been selling what he calls Schiaparellis for months now. I had my eye on one. Again, I should've listened to that inner voice that told me the piece didn't quite look like a Schiaparelli. But it had the cartouche, the signature, all of that. I should have consulted the Schiaparelli experts in my vintage jewelry group before diving in but I didn't.

Intending to do a BUY IT NOW, I contacted this seller to ask about the condition. By the time he replied, someone had opened the bidding so I couldn't "buy it now" any longer. I mentioned this to the seller. He said if I wanted to pay his reserve, he'd end the auction. I agreed. First mistake!

After I paid him directly via PayPal (& outside ebay of course & second mistake) I asked him how come he has so many Schiaparellis. After all, they're pretty scarce. He said he had 10 boxes of stuff from some estate. I asked if he had more I might like. He sent me photos. I saw two others and we agreed on a price. So I sent him more money, happy I hadn't had to fight others for a Schiaparelli on auction. Third mistake!

While I waited for my jewelry to arrive (over $500 worth!) I came across a community board thread on Ebay by some buyer who was wild! She'd just purchased Schiaparellis from someone on eBay and they were fake. The more I read the thread, the more I panicked. This was the same vendor!! My skin started to crawl. My jewelry group were all talking about it. They said this seller had conned many others but was still selling on eBay regardless.

In my panic, I wrote to the seller asking about this and whether if I wasn't happy when the stuff arrived i.e. if I wasn't convinced these were authentic, could I return them. I got an email saying yes I could. I breathed a sigh of relief. Then the stuff arrived. Visit these links to see what they'd sold me:

http://www.vintagejewelryshowcase.com/fakeA.htm

http://www.vintagejewelryshowcase.com/fakeB.htm

http://www.vintagejewelryshowcase.com/fakeC.htm

The Schiaparelli experts in my jewelry group confirmed my findings: ALL FAKES! I wanted to die! $500 gone on garbage. But wait. The seller had told me they'd refund if I wasn't happy right? No worries! WRONG AGAIN! I emailed and emailed. I opened a dispute in PayPal. The seller responded once saying I'd asked them to end the original auction. LIES! Then no more responses, no agreement to refund.

I escalated the dispute to a claim. PayPal instantly closed my case as the item was purchased off ebay...not covered by their Buyer Claim Policy. Where to next? My credit card company. They said send it all back to the seller and give us the tracking information and if they haven't refunded in 30 days, we'll take it from there. I breathed a sigh of relief ... till today!

I made the mistake of trying to email that bum of a vendor once more asking him to honor their promise to refund. Are you ready for this? They told me their policy, clearly stated on their ebay ads says "no refunds". They didn't even address the fact they've sold me fakes. It doesn't matter that this wasn't an Ebay purchase anyway so their stated policy is irrelevant. And now for the cruncher: they're sending this rubbish back to me because after all, they're honorable eBay sellers who do supply what someone paid for even if it's fake! GRRRRRR!!! What do I do now?!

I hope some of you out there who buy, sell and collect vintage jewelry will read this and stand warned. I hope any of you who might also have fallen victim to eBay scammers will add your experience and comments. I don't know how this will end up but if this blog has alerted at least one other person to the dangers of buying online, it will have served its purpose. BUYER BEWARE has never been truer!

If anyone reading this wants to know who this scumbag is, email me. In a future post, I'll explain a bit more about how and why PayPal wouldn't touch this and tossed out my case. It will alert you to how you are NOT covered when you buy on other online sites using PayPal. Bookmark my blog or RSS it.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

ANYONE ELSE BEEN SOLD FAKE VINTAGE JEWELRY ON EBAY?

My post yesterday, entitled MIRIAM HASKELL: FAKE OR REAL, has brought in a comment from someone else who's concerned about a Schiaparelli they purchased via eBay. Be sure to read what they've said.

As I promised in that post, I will be talking about my own very nasty experience in buying a Schiaparelli (actually 3 of them) through an eBay seller in the future but for now I just want to encourage anyone else out there who may have had similar experiences in buying vintage designer jewelry that turned out to be fakes to share their experience in this blog. You may not be aware of it, but there are things you can do if you've been scammed online. And if that purchase was made via Ebay using PayPal etc., if you're unable to get this resolved to your satisfaction directly through those companies, there are other avenues you can follow.

One of these is to to report the seller to the FTC. You can do that very simply online via this website: CONSUMER SENTINEL. I was pleasantly surprised after reporting my case there to receive a confirmation email within 48 hours, complete with case number and a "Thank You" for reporting this fraudster. Consumer Sentinel needs folks like us to bring these scammers to their attention and they do follow up. You certainly have nothing to lose if you fill in an online report, as long as you are certain that you've been defrauded.

Oh, just found another BLOG on similar subject that you might want to read. CLICK HERE.

So, anyone out there who wants to share their experience? By doing so, you might be sparing others similar heartache when it comes to buying Designer Vintage Jewelry. Let's hear from you!

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!

Monday, May 26, 2008

ART DECO BRACELETS


To all our American friends (I'm in Canada) I hope you had a lovely Memorial Day weekend. I took yesterday off and realized I'd forgotten all about this blog, so here I am again, this time to talk about Art Deco jewelry, specifically, Art Deco bracelets like the one ones in this post.

The Art Deco period in jewelry was the 1920's to the 1940's and it was a time for what some might consider fussy jewelry and design. I prefer to call it intricate design. Just look at that beautiful Art Deco clamper bracelet above. Click on the photo to see a large version of it. Yes, it's ornate, but what a fabulous design ... a real work of art if you ask me. When I first got this piece, I looked at it from all angles. Then I put it on my wrist and decided it was truly quite beautiful ... certainly the kind of jewelry to draw attention. The stones in this piece are what's known as paste stones, rather than rhinestones. Notice too the most unusual locking/closing piece where a shaft of metal slides through the lock underneath the bracelet for about 2-3 inches. A most unusual construction, but perhaps typical of that era.

I no longer have this particular bracelet. I put it in MY SHOP AT RUBY LANE and someone purchased it in less than 72 hours! That someone was a bride and she was thrilled to have it for her wedding day. She felt it was the perfect final touch to her traditional gown. She wrote to me immediately after receiving it to tell me how much she loved it. I got a charge out of knowing a young bride of today would wear something at least 60 - 70 years old on her wedding day.


So while that bracelet is no longer available, I do have 2 more, one of which is the stunning Art Deco link bracelet on the left. It's 7" long and incredibly pretty. You can read all about this one and see several more photos by clicking the photo or this LINK.