The popularity of silver jewellery keeps growing. They are among the most preferred gift options and are increasingly finding their place in the accessory rotation of millions of ladies around the world, as well as in the collections of a number of innovative designers. Their beauty, glamour, versatility and affordability make them a perfect choice for almost anyone.
With the changes associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, online trading globally (including here) is more popular than ever. This of course provides the end user with a much wider variety of products and the opportunity to make the best choice for themselves while enjoying the comforts of home. Parallel to this rise, however, online shopping has unfortunately seen a rise in counterfeit and low-quality products in almost every industry, with jewellery being no exception. For this reason, we, at Silenti Jewelry, have decided to make you aware of some legal norms and indications that will help you avoid unscrupulous jewelry sellers on the internet.
What to look out for when shopping from a company or page?
Since online shopping does not allow physical contact with the products, there are other key factors to consider when making your choice. One of them is the price of the jewelry - you should be familiar with the approximate price of the precious metals they are made of, as well as their gemstones. Of course, this doesn't necessarily mean that you should look for ungodly expensive jewelry, but as the saying goes, sometimes "too much of a good thing is not enough of a good thing". If you come across jewellery that is priced 3-5 times cheaper than its standard price anywhere else, this should definitely raise suspicions in your mind as you have most likely come across fakes. Take a look at their weight as well, then consider whether the price could really be that low.
Among the most common practices is to offer silver and gold plated jewellery that is passed off as all silver or all gold. In this way, the jewellery looks completely authentic to the naked eye, while at the same time its interior is made of precious metals of a lower purity or, in a worse case, a completely different metal. As you have already guessed, this automatically lowers their value several times. To avoid such an unpleasant situation, our advice is to only buy from licensed jewelry stores that have the necessary documentation for legal and lawful trade in precious metals and have earned the trust of their customers. This brings us to the next point:
What documentation should a jewellery store have?
First of all, any company on the territory of Bulgaria, which wishes to carry out bed trading with precious metals and precious stones, must have a certificate issued by the Ministry of Economy. We are extremely proud of everyone who has shown trust in us and believe that you should feel at ease when you decide to become part of our family. The certificate looks like this:
Laboratory check at an NRA institution
People widely believe that one of the main indications of an authentic sterling silver jewel is its 925 hallmark, which to some extent is actually the case. However, it is good to keep in mind that sometimes the presence of such does not mean that the jewelry in question has undergone laboratory testing in the country, at an institution tied directly to the NRA. In order not to disadvantage end consumers, precious metal jewellery sold on the territory of Bulgaria must undergo a process of marking with a state mark, which proves their compliance with the legal norms for the purity of metals.
There are also some additional requirements for all dealers to have their jewelry marked with the state mark in an NRA lab:
- Certificate of registration to be submitted to the Ministry of Economy.
- Details of the type, number, weight and sample of the articles and the percentage of other metal in the alloy.
- If the jewellery is imported, the dealers are required to submit a customs declaration and a certificate from the manufacturer for the percentage of alloying additives as well as the silver/gold sample.
- Evidence of state fees paid.
- Cover letter.
If any of the listed documents are not available, such verification and marking may be refused. A full list of requirements and the laboratories that carry out these checks can be found at Page.
After the verification, a certificate shall be issued indicating the number, weight and ascertained sample of the articles checked and marked. It is important to mention here that the absence of a silver assay stamp does not always mean that you are not buying a legitimate precious metal either. According to Article 44, paragraph 2, item 1 of the Ordinance, articles weighing up to 1 (one) gram are not subject to marking due to their minimum dimensions. Article 56 of the same Ordinance also exempts from marking articles the design of which consists mainly of precious or semi-precious stones in order to avoid possible scratching or other damage. With this in mind, you may request that such documentation be provided by the retailer in order to feel more confident in the quality of the jewellery purchased.
What to look out for when shopping from a private individual?
There are many Facebook groups and platforms where individuals offer brand new or used jewellery. Keep in mind that if it is brand new silver or gold jewellery, then the seller is required to declare their income from the sale, as well as prove to a lab convenient to the NRA that the items are authentic. This is generally impossible to do as a private individual cannot obtain a license from the Ministry of Economy to trade in precious metals. This means that the jewellery offered by the person in question has not undergone the necessary checks and that illegal activity is being carried out. Although in most cases these dealers offer temptingly low prices, be vigilant as you have no guarantee in case the jewelry turns out to be a fake. We have come across many people on the internet complaining about this problem, but unfortunately it is very difficult to hold the fraudster accountable. This is a serious problem that undermines overall trust in online commerce and people's willingness to shop remotely. If you do decide to purchase a piece of jewellery from an individual, then make sure you communicate with the person they are impersonating. Here are some tips:
- View the trader's profile. Make sure it is a person who shows their face and does not use fake photos. Check when the profile was created and how active it has been all along. You can do this by tracking all the activity on his wall. If you don't see the person's face or you think they're using fake photos, it's a sign that the person in question has back thoughts and is most likely selling low quality products.
- Ask for his phone number and call him to clarify everything over the phone. In the meantime, you can check whether the person has a Viber or WhatsApp account and what name and photo he uses there. Most people who have back thoughts are very likely to be reluctant to give you their phone number, which is a clear indication that something is wrong.
- Always request an examination and test before you pay for what you get. If an examination and test is refused then you are likely to be cheated.
In cases where you are shopping for already worn (second hand) jewellery, there are significantly fewer scams, but again, we recommend being alert and armed with all the tips we have listed above. We hope that you find them useful in the future, and of course we remain at your disposal in case there is anything else on the subject that you would like to learn. You can contact us from HERE. If you would like to view all of our jewellery, you can do so from HERE.