You can find lots of articles about how to tell if jewellery is fake or real. Mostly, these talk about how to detect real metals, real gemstones, real pearls etc. So, you might want to google ‘fake or real jewellery’ to find out more. I always list the materials I have used. My listings specify types of pearls, types of crystal (Swarovski is more expensive and better quality than other brands) and metal. Usually, I prefer to use sterling silver or Vermeil (gold coating on sterling silver base) rather than plate metals. I always specify this. So, why on earth, when I am transparent about my materials, am I writing about ‘fake or real?’ I am about to reveal all…
What do I mean by ‘Fake or Real’?
If you have already read about what beadwork means for me and about my design style, then hopefully you are getting a clear message. Buying a piece of Katie Dean Jewellery means buying a piece of me. I have priced that piece of me to reflect the time it takes to make and the uniqueness of my design. You might also be aware that, elsewhere, I sell beading patterns and teach others how to make some of my jewellery. Add these facts together and you might find yourself asking how you can tell whether I actually made the beaded jewellery you are buying.
Well, I have thought about that. I sell three ‘types’ of jewellery. I have also devised a clever way of marking them as my own, but more on that later. Back to my question, what do I mean by ‘fake or real?’ A real piece of Katie Dean Jewellery has been designed AND made by me. How can you tell?…read on…
Three Types of Jewellery
Firstly, the one-off pieces. These are designs that I have created, but never written down what I did. I can never re-make them. Any custom jewellery that you buy from me will fall into this category. The fact that they are not written up, also means that nobody else will ever be able to make them. I say that, but there are unscrupulous souls who like to copy if they think there is money in it. Such people may try to re-make from a photo. However, in many cases, that’s not as easy as it sounds. This fact protects you.
Secondly, let me talk about the designs for which I have also written a tutorial. I may, or may not make these designs again myself. However, other people could recreate that design from my pattern. So, you may well be asking yourself, why buy the piece I made and not someone else’s version?
I asked myself the same question when I first started making jewellery. Debating whether or not to write tutorials, I asked myself if I would be devaluing my own work by giving others the opportunity to make it. When I started teaching classes, I realised that the answer to my question is actually, ‘no’. Other people can follow my instructions and create something that looks similar, but it is never the same as my work. Why is that? Simply, the way in which another person joins the beads will be different. This means the finished piece has a different feel to it. The difference will be subtle, but it is clear that every hand-made piece is unique.
The third type are pieces that I will make over and over and customise to your desired colour or size.
Let me tell you a story. Beading legend states that every piece of beadwork should contain a ‘spirit bead’. What is a spirit bead? It is a bead that is out of place – a mistake. In some cases, this is a bead of the wrong colour: a tiny disruption in the pattern design. It could be a bead of the ‘wrong’ size or shape. As a non-beader, sometimes you will spot this immediately. Sometimes, the ‘mistake’ may elude you. What is the point of a spirit bead? It reminds us that no mortal thing is perfect.
I know of similar beliefs or legends in other forms of art and craft. I like to think that the spirit bead also brings good luck. So, I deliberately add a spirit bead to ‘hallmark’ or distinguish my jewellery. I never let it interfere with the design and you will often struggle to spot it.
In case anyone reading this, thinks they can copy this idea to create fakes, don’t bother! A special certificate accompanies every piece of real Katie Dean jewellery, to authenticate the spirit bead. I use something unique on my certificates so nobody else can fake them. If you want to know what that is, buy a piece of my jewellery!
I mention this to bring you quality and satisfaction. When parting with your hard-earned cash, you need to do so with complete confidence. I trust that this explanation helps. Please contact me if you have more questions.