Saturday, August 29, 2009

Fake Napier Charm Bracelets Don't Fall Victim

I've noticed a substantial increase in fake Napier charm bracelets recently and it just kills me that folks are paying good money for something that isn't what the seller states it is.

I'm sharing a picture and posting it so that everyone can familiarize yourself with two styles of the "barrier" style spring ring clasp that are currently being used to sell some of these bracelets. Notice that the spring rings are unplated and that soldering marks are visible in the lower right image and even around the protruding nub closest to the wire in the interior of the spring ring.

These are available for sale on the Internet in venues such as Ebay as well as other identifying tags and findings that were made by Napier. Charm bracelets that have the spring ring with the thumb pull are more often than not fake as Napier rarely used these findings.
Other characteristics of fakes include:

1. The loop formed by on the pin head is poorly configured. That's where the charm attaches to the jump ring. Authentic pieces will have perfectly formed circles due to the company's strict quality control.
2. The jump rings are marred with indentations from jewelry pliers or whatever tool that was used to attached the charm to the bracelet. The only indents on a jump ring should be those from wear or the manufacturers mark. Not cuts caused by tools. There were different types of jump rings that I'll teach about later to help date your jewelry.
3. The bead charms are "tipped" at the end with a crystal or other small bead. This was not a common design characteristic.
4. Tags with Trademarks styles from the 1990s on bracelets that look 1950s-ish are also a good clue.
5. Poor quality plastic beads or cast charms. Napier used more charms from die-stamped findings than charms that were cast.
6. The charm bracelet is marked and earrings aren't. Until we get into pieces from the 1990s or some pierced earrings the jewelry should be marked. There's only one 1960s set that I've seen to date where the earrings were not marked but the necklace was.
7. Bracelet configured with rhinestones using a spring ring clasp. Rhinestone bracelets used two types of v-spring box clasps... NOT spring ring clasps.

One exception to markings on spring ring clasps.

A couple of charm bracelet designs went out of the factory with West Germany spring rings. I don't have time to go into that detail and for this email we're taking about identifying fake charm bracelets marked Napier. These had a specific foiled art glass bead only!

We think that this "barrier" spring ring was used as early as the 1930s albeit RARELY.  Production of jewelry was really limited during the 1930s until 1938.   It was definitely used in the 1940s but mainly in sterling.  In came into its biggest use during the 1950s for non-precious metal pieces and was used into the 1970s along with the foldover clasp and the v-spring and catch clasp.

The "barrier" spring ring clasp WAS NOT exclusive to Napier.  The folks at Napier were very clear about that. 

Exercise caution when buying Napier charm bracelets... Educate yourself before purchasing. If the bracelet has any of the characteristics mentioned above asked if your seller guarantees authenticity, ask for close-ups and compare the design aesthetic against other known Napier bracelets.

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