Gold items sold in the street often fake

30/11/2007

 

Jewellery and other items sold in the street are almost always fake or stolen goods. It is no use buying gold jewellery from anybody in the street, if you want to buy a real one. Also be careful in the Internet stores and auctions.

 

Many kinds of jewellery are sold to bypassers near supermarkets, in parking places, on highways etc. at incredible low prices compared with the weight of the items. It is clear that products sold at prices lower than the raw material price of gold cannot be real gold, unless they have been stolen. Tukes, the competent state authority supervising the sale of articles of precious metals in Finland, has found fake products sold as gold, of which some also carry falsified fineness marks. 

 

We found e.g. rings, necklaces and other jewellery, which was sold as gold, but which turned out to be brass or gold-plated brass. We also found lead and nickel in the items; the highest content of nickel in necklaces was about 15 % of weight. With the naked eye, it is difficult for a consumer to see whether an article of precious metals is real or fake, particularly in cases where gold-plated fake articles bear very misleading markings similar to the real marks. However, brass jewellery can be distinguished by the metallic smell of brass and a gold ring by a clinking sound when you knock it. Real gold is soft metal that does not smell, nor does it make any clinking sound.

 

The best way to avoid to be cheated is to buy jewellery and other articles of precious metals only from reliable professionals, such as special stores, jewellery artists and precious metals artisans.

 

The official marks of articles of precious metals are stamped, cast or lasered on the article in a permanent way. With the exception of the lightest products, any article of precious metals sold in Finland shall carry at least two marks: the fineness mark and either a duly registered responsibility mark or a hallmark.

 

The fineness mark indicates how much fine precious metal has been used in the product's metal alloy. For example, the fineness mark "585" means that 58.5 % of the product's metal alloy is fine gold. Silver jewellery is usually manufactured of the 925 silver, in which there is 92.5 % fine silver. The responsibility mark is used for tracing the manufacturer or importer that is responsible for the product. The hallmark (the crown) indicates that the product has been duly examined by a supervised and impartial body.

 

Never hesitate to ask the seller about the marks to avoid uncertainty of the items you are going to buy. It is the seller's duty to tell the consumer what they mean.

 

Marking examples:

Responsibility marks:

 kuvia nimileimoista

Fineness marks:

    kuvia pitoisuusleimoista   

Gold 585          Silver 925           Platinum 950

Hallmark:

 kuva tarkastusleimasta

 

For further information:
Tuomo Valkeapää, Chief Engineer, tel. 010 6052 241
Anneli Pärnänen, Market Inspector, tel. 010 6052 637

The Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes) endorses the safety and reliability of products, services and industrial activities. Our goal is a trustworthy, safe and competitive Finland.

 

We want to be a provider of protection – to improve and facilitate safe practices across the society.