How to Spot Fake Jewelry, According to the Experts
“My colleagues and I walk into work each morning not knowing what we’re going to see or who we’re going to meet,” Lingon says of the thousands of clients who come into Christie’s offices each year hoping to sell rare or expensive pieces. She and her nine-member team have developed a process that helps them authenticate legitimate works, discover the
We start from scratch with each person, interviewing them about the history of the item.
“We start from scratch with each person,” she says, “interviewing them about the history of the item and examining identifying documents, such as receipts,
There, gems are examined for such qualities as
The most common frauds? “It’s a broad spectrum,” Lingon says. “But since it’s difficult to get a fake stone past a gemologist, we are most often brought in to look at signed pieces.” These can include pieces of
Spotting all of the above is where years of training comes in. If an item is historically significant, Lingon will look for references to it in Christie’s library of old
Then there are the scams, which Lingon and her colleagues often hear about after the fact. Last year Shelley Rubin, a philanthropist and co-founder of the Rubin Museum in New York, accused an Indian-American couple of selling her $18 million worth of fake imperial-era Indian
Lingon was not aware of the Rubin case, but the story did not surprise her. “Is it too good to be true? I think in many cases you have to use a combination of intelligence and gut,” she says. “And you should have an independent appraiser come in while you’re looking at it.”
Sometimes the results of that diligence are happy. A few years ago a couple walked into Lingon’s office, with no appointment, and asked her to look at a ring they had found in an ailing aunt’s dresser. “They had no information about its origin, and they told me they had shown it to a
Lingon’s hunch proved correct, and the ring sold at auction for $1.5 million.
This story appears in the October 2018 issue ofTown & Country.
*This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com
*Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors