Beware of Fake Jewelries

December 29, 2016

You may have experienced buying expensive jewelries such as earring, necklace, and bracelets and later find out that it is not to what you had paid for. After wearing those jewelries with adornment for a few months, they start to fade or peel off despite being advised by the jeweler that the ornaments are genuine.

Jewelers nowadays mislead consumers into buying fake jewelry. As such, consumers end up buying fake jewelries for the cost of the unique ones. The jewelries may look unique and genuine but customers should always exercise their rights and demand jewelers for proof.

Anyone can make pearls out of plastics, diamonds from glasses or gold from coatings. No one wants to be disappointed to find out that the jewelry they bought is fake. Therefore, always check the jewelries properly and ask questions before you make your final purchase.

The Council has been receiving concerns and complaints from consumers over the years on this issue.

In a recent case handled by the Council, a prominent jeweler had tricked a consumer to purchase a fake earring who believed it to have real gold and pearl.

 Jane purchased a pair of ‘pearl gold’ earrings from a jewelry shop in Suva for $379. She was advised by the jeweler that the pearl was ‘real’ and that the earring was 9 karat gold. After few months of wearing her precious earrings, Jane noticed that the gold was turning into a silver shade and the pearl coat was peeling off. She immediately decided to get her pearl earrings tested at Jewels Fiji.  The test result showed that there was only 11 per cent gold content in the earring. The testers advised that for gold jewelry to be 9 karat, the content of gold must be 35 per cent. Jewels Fiji also confirmed that the pearl was not real and it was nothing but plastic. Jane took the earrings to the trader who sold her the plastic pearl with her test result and demanded a refund. Upon the Council’s intervention, she was provided a full refund.

 In the above case, the trader breached Section 77(1) of the Commerce Commission Decree 2010 which stipulates:

A person shall not, in trade or commerce, in connexion with the supply or possible supply of goods or services or in connexion with the promotion by any means of the supply or use of goods or services –

(a)   Falsely represent that goods are of a particular standard, quality, grade, composition, style or model or have had a particular history or particular previous use which they do not have”.

 Consumers have the right to receive jewelry as described by the trader and jewelries must be priced in accordance with the quality, grade and standard of the jewelry.

 You can follow the following tips to identify unique jewelries:

  • Many jewelers will use Rhodium to plate metals to look like silver or white gold. Rhodium gives fake jewelry its whitish appearance. Under a bright light look at the underside of the ring. You can check for a stamp such as “14k” or “18k”.  This will signify what type of gold the ring is made of. If you see this stamp, and the ring is silver-colored, it’s rhodium-plated.
  • Real diamond rings come with a certificate. If your new diamond jewelry item does not come with a certificate, ask for it to verify the genuineness of the jewelry.
  • Check the cards, or other paper work that comes with your jewelry item. They should be of good quality and the writing will be sharp not blurry. This can also be a good indicator that something is not right.

 How to test if the gold is real:

  • The magnet test. Gold it not magnetic. If your gold sticks to a magnet, it’s not gold.
  • The byte test. Gold is a soft metal. You should be able to make a slight indent on gold with your teeth.
  • Check for the stamp: karat (10K, 14K, 18K, 22K or 24K).
  • The ceramic plate test: Press your jewelry item across the surface of a ceramic flat plate. A black streak means it is fake. A gold streak will show you it is the real deal.
  • If in doubt take it to a local jeweler who can do further tests to see if the item is real.
  • Finally, does the price seem too good to be true? Chances are it is a fake.

 The Council would like to once again remind traders to pay heed to the national laws and not take advantage of the festive season.

 Consumers, on the other hand, should be aware of these unscrupulous dealers when shopping for gifts. Know your right as a consumer. You need to shop smart and be assertive. One must not hesitate to lodge complaints of unscrupulous traders looking to dupe consumers of their hard earned cash. You can call on our toll-free number, 155 to seek advice or to lodge your complaints.