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Best Tips When Buying Silver And Gold On Ebay - Don't Be Scammed By Counterfeiters, Buy With Confidence!

Updated on March 22, 2013

Here you will find best tips when buying silver, gold, precious metals and jewelry on ebay. Why? Because counterfeiters are operating on E-bay.

From hallmarked jewellery to bullion, some unwitting buyers have become victims of fraud.

Don't be scammed!

Use the following tips to enable you to buy with confidence!!

In this article we will be sharing tips, provide you with practical advice on how to protect yourself from fraudsters and teach you how to identify a genuine piece of jewelry from a counterfeit one.

This requires some necessary equipment and, for your convenience, we have listed some of the best recommendations to help you with this.

We hope this article will empower you to beat the precious metal fraudsters!

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Ebay fake gold - hallmarked, but counterfeit!
Ebay fake gold - hallmarked, but counterfeit!

Tips For Ebay Silver Jewelry In Video Pictures

Fake And Counterfeit Gold, Silver and Precious Metals - Why Is It Happening?

See this picture? These are examples of an increasing problem on ebay and the world in general - gold and silver scamming.

Copied gold and silver jewellery is flooding the market. It seems counterfeit fraud is alive and kicking and targeting you, the vulnerable public!

Every day fraudsters are tempting buyers with their gold and silver jewellery. Metals, particularly precious ones, are at an all time market price high. People are investing in these because the returns on their investments are risky on the stock market and poor in bank savings. This is because interest rates are low. Gold, silver and metal investments seem to provide the growth that is needed at this time.

There is also a train of thought that history may repeat itself. At any time of world monetary crisis, not dissimilar to the one we are experiencing, there seems to be a corrulation to deflation and war. Tied in with this, or even as a separate issue, there are many who have grasped the concept that the monetary system of today may well collapse. The system that the Federal Reserve has adopted is based on Money As Debt. Some feel that the bubble will burst in the near future.

Hording precious metals, therefore, seems to have helped hike up gold and silver prices during these times of uncertainty. This is a market that the counterfeiter's are exploiting and, one of the best places to do their dirty dealing is Ebay.

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Dodgy dealers, particularly on ebay, are trying to pass off counterfeit, jewellery as genuine items. It is remarkable, isn't it? These con men have 'gold' and 'silver' items - all with 'genuine' hallmarks - for sale for you to buy. Be aware... be very aware! These hallmarked goods are not what they appear to be. Learn a lesson from me and gain yourself a few tips.

Tip 1 - Knowledge Is Power

  • Knowledge is power. This is especially the case when you are buying jewelry from E-bay. Get to know your item and take the time to print out a copy of the item description. This will show you a picture, purchase price and help you should you wish to resell it at a later date. It is important to make notes on this sheet of the following:
  1. Weight
  2. Type of precious metal
  3. Stone type
  4. Hallmark

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Tip 2 - Test All Metals

  • Make it routine to acid test all gold and silver jewelry items received, no matter whether the item appears genuine or not. Try to keep this inconspicuous on the precious metal so as it doesn't damage and devalue it. By clicking on the link above will teach you how to acid test properly. Remember to use plastic gloves - you are dealing with acid here and it will burn you if you don't protect yourself.

  • Recommended acid tester.


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The following picture is a real example of an item I purchased. The clasp was acid tested as genuine gold, but the links were tested base metal. So much so, that the links actually disintegrated and fizzled into just a speck!

  • Many counterfeit items have genuine hallmarks on catches that link to base metal chains. Whereas on rings some hallmarks are cut from original rings and soldered onto counterfeit rings - a sort of cutting and pasting in the jewellery world! It is for this reason that you should acid test away from the hallmarked areas. Of course, there are a lot of jewelry items that have plain old faked hallmarks!

An Example of A Mix Of Counterfeit and Genuine

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An Example Of Overlay, Plating With Hallmarks

Tip 4 - Avoid Gold and Silver Overlay, Plating and Gold Filled

  • Check out the item description prior to bidding. Keywords to suggest plating and, therefore to avoid, include:
  1. Rolled Gold or RG
  2. Gold Plating
  3. Gold Filled
  4. Overlay
  5. Gold Core

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Tip 5 - Invest In A Good Eye Loupe

  • The naked eye finds it hard to decipher hallmarks and tiny acid reactions to metal. It is essential that you have a good magnifier eye loupe to help you with this. A 30 x magnifier is perfect for checking out the finer details of hallmarks and watch for any reaction to the metal. It is for this reason that I recommend the following Jewelers eye loupe. It is a great investment and necessary if you want to bag the best gold and silver bargains on e-bay.

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Tip 6 - Buy A Good Diamond Analyser

  • A good diamond analyser will help you decipher a genuine stone from one that is paste or cubic zircon's. This is useful information for you. However, you might find that, despite the metal being fake, the diamond is genuine or vice verca. Just because it is a genuine stone, doesn't necessarily mean that the metal is. I love the Selector II for this - it is convenient and easy to use.

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Tip 7 - Weigh The Item

  • Weigh the jewelry item. This gives you essential information should you wish to sell it at a later date. Check out scrap value weights online as this will provide you with the worse possible scenario on your item's value. If you keep an eye on scrap value prices, you will be able to have an informed idea on your item's value and watch your investment evolve. You will then not pay too much for the jewelry items that you bid on. The illustrated digital scales are great value for money, compact, handy and serves the purpose most satisfactorily.

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Tip 8 - Bid Sniping Jewelry

  • Bid sniping helps you to automate and bag those precious metals without being at your keyboard. Set your maximum bid and let the program do the bidding for you. You will be sure that you will grab the jewelry at the price you want to pay at the last second, rather than get carried away and pay over the odds. Click on the above highlighted link to learn how to do this and where to go.

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Tip 9 - Avoid Buying From The East

  • Avoid buying from the East. Places like China and Hong Kong are pumping counterfeit items out en-mass. Many of these are finding their way to Australia. The jewellery is cheap and can look genuine with hallmarks with thick gold or silver overlay - making testing difficult. Others look cheap and are easy to acid test.

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Tip 10 - Protect Yourself With Paypal

  • Always pay via paypal and with a credit card. Paypal gives you a buyer protection, whilst the credit card protects you further from fraud. Be warned that paypal defaults to your bank account debit card option, so be aware to click on 'change payment options' on e-bay's and paypal's integrated check out.

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Tip 11 - What To Do Should You Find The Gold, Silver or Precious Metal Is Counterfeit

Should you find that the gold, silver or precious metal jewellery is a counterfeit item, you need to go through the following process:

  1. E-mail the seller.
  2. Return the item via a track able method like recorded delivery - whether the seller accepts returns or not.
  3. Avoid saying the item was 'acid tested'. This can be used against you if you need to claim your money back from ebay or paypal because the seller might accuse you of damaging the item. This, therefore, might stop you from getting your money back.
  4. Give the seller a week to respond. If they are unwilling to refund you, either make a claim via e-bay resolutions or through the paypal system. This will go to arbitration where nine times out of ten the decision should go in your favour.

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Tip 12 - Act Quickly With Acid Testing Jewelry

You need to act quickly when you are acid testing jewelry. As soon as you have tested in an inconspicuous area, run under water and place in a sonic cleaner.

However, be aware that sonic cleaners may loosen stones, so don't keep your jewellery item in the machine for hours on end and remember to add a pinch of biological powder or just gin to the cleaner.

This will not only make your gold or silver sparkle, but will help to clean away acid marks and make it easier to see the finer details of hallmarks. A toothbrush helps to buff and accelerate the cleaning process.

Sonic Cleaners Are An Essential Bit Of Kit!

I really love this sonic cleaner! It is multi functional, so not just for jewelry, and is a good price.

The following reviewer on Amazon enjoys the same level of usage as me:

'I use a jeweler's loop to check jewelry prior to and after cleaning, and despite being very quiet it is quite powerful and does a great job removing grime and leaving jewelry sparkling. I usually run the unit 2-3 times as recommended for jewelry and once for glasses. I can fit 2 pair of reading glasses into this unit. I have cleaned jewelry, eyeglasses, sunglasses, coins, CD's, an electric shaver head, razors, and small porcelain statues - all with wonderful results.'

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Buyer Beware - Rampant Precious Metal Counterfeiting

So, there you have it - the best tips when buying silver and gold on E-bay.  Empower yourself with these guidelines and you won't go far wrong.  Just remember it is a world where the buyer must be aware when it comes to scamming people with counterfeit goods.  Jewelry is no exception and is the product of serious organised crime.  Don't get ripped off on ebay or any other online or 'over the counter' jewellers.  One thing is for sure, counterfeiting precious metals is only going to get worse as the demand for gold and silver increases.

© This work is covered under Creative Commons License

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    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      2 years ago from Great Britain

      A point to consider: some of our high street jewellers have been selling as these items are so cleverly counterfeited. I purchased, for example, a Gems TV bracelet that was hallmarked but when testing it, it fizzed and was found to be counterfeit.

    • JYOTI KOTHARI profile image

      Jyoti Kothari 

      4 years ago from Jaipur

      Hi Shazwellyn,

      Thanks for a good hub for consumer awareness. I am sure that trustworthy Jewelers do not behave like this. However, those who want to make money quick believe in these tactics.

      We are Jewelers and never practice these tactics and this makes us long lasting. Thanks, rated up and useful.

    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Great Britain

      Buyer of Silver... it isn't just ebay, I bought gold hallmarked from GemsTV and that tested as metal... bubbled green which suggests a great copper content.

    • profile image

      buyer of silver 

      6 years ago

      I bought about 2 ounces sterling jewelry all hallmarked then after about one month a lot of the pieces started to have tiny blisters on them I first took a magnet and to my surprise they all were picked up by my magnet even the clasps marked 925 I then tested them they tested black there are a lot of ebay scamers

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Agreed with quite a bit of this.. But 'Avoid buying from Japan'

      Are you serious? Lol. I'd say the very opposite, if anything. Japan is more against counterfeits than most of the world. They wont buy or sell anything that's fake. hahah

    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Great Britain

      umm... the thing is that some of this stuff has leaked out to the mainstream high street and that is a real concern!

    • Certified Gold profile image

      Certified Gold 

      7 years ago

      Great information shazwellyn!! Ebay is always tricky that why you have to go where the pros go! Thank you very very much for the awsome info! Votes up!

    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Great Britain

      Share... what I have recently discovered is that this stuff has penetrated even the reputable companies. I purchased an item that was 'Gems tv' (a UK Sky network jewellery channel) and that was counterfeit! Check out my article on the above link! So much for reputable, eh?

    • sharewhatuknow profile image


      8 years ago from Western Washington

      What I should have stated in my initial post is that I will only buy jewelry from extremely reputable brick and mortar companies. Surely they do check, just as your article outlines, any and all precious metal jewelry they sell.

    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Great Britain

      Thank you sharewhatuknow. Unfortunately, it seems to be the case even when you buy from Jewellers. The system has been infiltrated by clever countefeiters. Sad, but true.

    • sharewhatuknow profile image


      8 years ago from Western Washington

      Great article you wrote. I was never into buying any gold, diamond or silver jewelry online because many items could be advertised as 18K gold, when in reality it is gold plated. After reading your hub, I never will buy jewelry online.

    • carolp profile image


      8 years ago from Switzerland

      Thanks for the tip. I used to buy gold and silver with diamonds and other edel stones. This would be helpful.

    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Great Britain

      Thank you smcopywrite. It is a case of buyer beware and if you are informed, then you are aware!

    • smcopywrite profile image


      8 years ago from all over the web

      wonderful information. i haven't purchased any jewelry yet from ebay. however, with this information in hand i will certainly make a more informed decision. thanks for the great hub

    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Great Britain

      Thank you simone - it is a joy to share:)

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      8 years ago from San Francisco

      I'm not brave enough to buy anything of that particular value on eBay, but it's good to know that there's a systematic way one can go about purchasing things while avoiding being scammed. Excellent tips!

    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Great Britain

      Tammy - there are some things that we can not empower ourselves with - the postal service for one. Having said that, in the UK, Royal Mail have really done well and we seem to get our post efficiently and effectively. Thanks for your comment:)

    • Tammy L profile image

      Tammy L 

      8 years ago from Jacksonville, Texas

      I used to buy silver coins from eBay but had to stop because I can't trust the Post Office to deliver my mail correctly. Many of my eBay purchases have been delivered incorrectly. Since I'm allergic to fake gold, it doesn't take long for me to discover if something is fake or not. If I could trust the Post Office to deliver my mail properly, I'd use your tips more.



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