Q: Is paperwork a good way to authenticate an item?
A: No. We receive a lot of enquiries about whether a piece comes with any paperwork, as many customers seem to be replying on such paperwork as a means to verify authenticity. The truth is, the only valid paperwork that could serve as a of proof of authenticity is those diamond certificates that come with Tiffany diamonds larger than 0.18ct, in which the serial numbers on the certificate match that laser engraved in the diamonds (only those produced after year 2004).
As for the little cards that come with purchase, or even receipts, can either be forged, or swapped with a fake piece. In fact, our store has a whole stack of these cards as we stopped including them with our products (some products came with them), ever since a customer accused our product for being fake as she received the product with a Tiffany purchase card in Japanese language (thinking it was Chinese language).
Recently we have observed a group of counterfeit items flowing into the market that come with receipt and full packaging. This is why we strongly discourage against using these as a means to verify authenticity.
Q: A pre-loved item I bought has a stamping very different from what I purchased from Tiffany boutique, is this a red flag?
A: No. To begin with, the stamping varies from one series to another, and changes from time to time even within one same design. Even the shape is altered over the years, for instance the infinity series, the iconic Open Heart by Elsa Peretti, and the Loving Heart series by Paloma Picasso. In fact many other designs have been modified throughout the years.
All three photos below show the stamping of Elsa Peretti Open Heart rings, from older to the latest version. You can see that there is a slight difference in the two recent stampings.
Q: A T&Co. salesperson told me that a pre-loved Tiffany jewelry I bought is counterfeit, I think she must be right since she is working for Tiffany?
A: No. First of all, Tiffany actually has a policy not to authenticate for customers, because the storefront representatives are trained to sell, not to authenticate. Authenticating is a very different and demanding skill. There have been numerous cases where Tiffany personnel gave misleading opinions on authenticity while they are not even allowed to do so in the first place.
Q: A pre-loved Tiffany necklace I bought snapped. / The diamond of my Tiffany ring fell off. It must be a fake.
A: False. Tiffany jewelry does not mean it is indestructible. Chains could wear by time and use, end links could break or malfunction, but they can be repaired. Diamonds need to be sent in to Tiffany boutique or a jeweller to be checked from time to time (once a year is advisable) to ensure that the settings are secure. As the settings could wear out more easily if the metal is constantly rubbed against a hard surface, it is advisable to take off the jewelries, especially rings, when performing household chores.
Q: Since there is no way to know for 100% sure that a piece is authentic, I do not feel secure buying pre-loved items.
A: This is partially true, but the same goes to any branded items. It is of course the best to safeguard oneself by acquiring more knowledge about the brand and its details, but that requires huge efforts and vast amount of time. Some quick ways to verify authenticity include seeking advice from third party authenticators (though they may not always be 100% correct), or send the piece in to Tiffany for buffing (not the free polishing service) or repair (just make a small scratch on your piece). The item will be sent to their craftsman who are trained professionals to judge the authenticity of a piece, and will be rejected if found to be a fake. However, this may not apply to countries where Tiffany does not have their own factory, because the piece will most likely be outsourced for polishing or repair.
Q: Does your store help to authenticate?
A: To be honest, we do not claim to know all of Tiffany, considering its long history and the massive number of pieces they ever produced. What we guarantee is that we only sell items we are 100% confident. We do not perform authentication for customers, but we will continually share related information on our website, including the characteristics of counterfeit items, which we believe would serve as a good source for customers to learn more about the brand.