11 Tricks for Telling Authentic Articles from Fakes

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When you open your wallet to make a purchase, you want to make sure you’re getting the genuine article rather than a knockoff. Here’s how you can ensure you’re getting the real deal instead of 11 commonly faked items.

1. Gold Jewelry

First, examine the item closely to see if there’s any discoloration or wear and tear. If it’s a fake, the gold-colored sheen will have become worn, especially near areas where heavy friction occurs (think clasps, hinges, etc.). Keep an eye out for markings, as well. Stamps reading “HGP,” “HEG,” or “GF” identify the jewelry as heavy gold plate, heavy gold electro-plate, or gold-filled, respectively.

Biting into the jewelry can also give you a clue about the material’s softness, but you may end up denting fine gold. Instead, use a magnet. Gold won’t react to it, but if the item is a gold-plated metal, it will fail the magnet test.

2. Leather Goods

If the label says “genuine leather” and you are still suspicious, there are tricks you can use to find out if it’s the real deal. You may have learned that scratching the material will give it away as authentic or fake, but some genuine leathers are treated to resist scratches and won’t pass this test.

Leather has pores, and if it’s a synthetic imitation, these will be spread out in an even pattern. Real leather, on the other hand, has scattered, naturally placed pores. Also, be sure to check the edges. Faux leather will have smooth, factory-formed cuts. More often than not, real hide will be noticeably rough around the edges. And finally, give it a good whiff—that genuine leather smell is unmistakable.

3. Handbags

Imitation handbags can be remarkably similar to their designer counterparts, so a keen eye is necessary if you want to spot a fake. If you have access to a genuine example, you can use it to compare material feel and the locations of logos and other identifiers. If you don’t have a real handbag to use as a master key, there are a few things that will give away fakes, even if they’re dead ringers.

Stitching should be clean with no loose threads or signs of sloppy craftsmanship, and threads should be of consistent color and thickness as well. Tags and other add-ons should feel heavy and substantive. If they’re hollow or cheap-feeling, it’s a good bet you’re dealing with a knock-off. And finally, there is a shining beacon of truth in the world of designer handbags: zippers. If the zipper sticks or is a struggle to pull, it probably means the bag is a dud.

4. Diamonds

If the stone isn’t mounted, place the flat end down on a piece of newspaper. If you can see through and read the text, it’s not a real diamond. Diamonds have a high refractive index, meaning it will bend any light trying to get through and end up looking cloudy. If you can make out any of the text, chances are you have a cubic zirconia. Fake diamonds are also heavier than their genuine counterparts, so heft is usually a bad sign. Finally, if you breathe on a fake diamond, it will probably fog up. Real diamonds will instantly dissipate the heat and their surfaces will remain unchanged.

5. Fabergé Eggs

Famed Russian jeweler Peter Carl Fabergé’s finely crafted eggs are world-renowned for their beauty and scarcity. Keep this in mind, because chances are the ornate egg you found in grandma’s attic is a “Fauxbergé.” But you should still check to see if you have a remarkable find.

Additionally, most of Fabergé’s eggs had identification numbers engraved on them. A slew of records were recently discovered in Russia that can help cross check these numbers to see if the piece is genuine. But before you do any of that, make sure the egg is light. Fabergé was a meticulous craftsman, and his pieces were never clunky or heavy.

6. Silver Flatware

Genuine silver, as opposed to stainless steel or silver-plated metal, will give away a series of clues to its authenticity. Rub the flatware with a soft white piece of cloth. If you’ve got real silver, the oxide that had formed on the flatware will leave a blackish mark, while fake alternatives will usually leave the cloth looking clean. Inspect for chips or other signs of wear and tear. Silver-plated pieces may have some of their true material exposed after heavy use. And finally, look for markings. Real silver flatware is often imprinted with its silver content (i.e. “.935”).

7. Autographed Memorabilia

First things first: cross check the autograph with a genuine example to make sure it looks right. People’s signatures can change over time, so make sure the example you’re using is from a similar time period as your specimen. If that checks out, take a close look to see if it looks like it was made by a pen or via a printer. If it was printed, the ink will be uniform with little variance. On a real autograph, you will be able to see overlap and contrast.

8. Swiss Watches

If the watch is engraved with “Made in Switzerland,” that’s a big red flag—you have a fake on your wrist. Genuine Swiss watches will say “Swiss” or “Swiss Made,” but never “Made in Switzerland.” The quality of the engraving should be immaculate as well. If you have a magnifying glass, give it a close look to make sure it’s smooth and clean. Faux Swiss watches will have haphazard spelling and kerning.

9. Designer Footwear

As with handbags, genuine designer footwear will have high build quality compared to counterfeits. This means tight stitching and material that passes the “feel test.” If it feels cheap to the touch, you may have been duped by a knock-off. With shoes, rub them on a piece of white cloth. Inferior dyes will rub off and leave a stain (careful though—some expensive shoes will also ruin your socks). Designer shoes usually come with dustbags, and the absence of these should raise suspicion.

10. Baseball Cards

Fake baseball cards are usually produced via scan-and-print, so if you can see creases, scratches, or other imperfections that aren’t actually there, that should be a dead giveaway. If the card in question is supposedly very old, give the coloring a close look. Archaic printing methods mean that the images on authentic old cards are comprised of lots of small dots. If the card’s image looks smooth, it means it was made with a modern printer.

11. Sunglasses

Real designer sunglasses will almost always have high-quality hinges. Open and fold the legs—if you have a nice pair of shades, this motion will be smooth and feel sturdy. If the legs wobble or open askew, it’s a sign of an imitation. Genuine designer sunglasses will have high build quality, so check for seams along the tops of the stems and above the lenses.

Now that you have all this knowledge about spotting the genuine article, you can apply it to choosing a Hard Cider. Pick up some Woodchuck Cider and you’ll be enjoying real, hand-crafted cider. Click here to join our community on Facebook.