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Watches and Jewelry

Michelle Orman, the Senior Merchandising Director of Portero (renowned online for luxury item re-sale) told us the first thing to look for is a Hallmark stamp with the designer's name. All fine jewelry is required by law to include this. Double check that everything is spelled correctly and completely level—asymmetry spells fake.
Also, ask for close up shots of the piece's backing. This will give you a better idea of the craftsmanship quality. When you receive your item consider its weight and, with watches, the sweep of its second hand (it should be smooth, not jerky).

Hermès Scarves

Since all Hermès products are handstiched, be sure to get detailed shots of the edges. Look for inconsistencies, uniformity is a telltale sign of factory production.

Jennifer Maddalena, founder of New Jersey based store The Couture Exchange, told us that every pattern incorperates the Hermès logo, even if some are tougher to find. After locating it, do your research. Does it match up with the original? Is the font correct? If the seller provides an accompanying box, compare it to one from the Hermès store. It should be a certain shade of orange with a brown stripe. Again, if something is even remotely amiss, you are probably dealing with a fraud.


It is imperative you get a good look at the shoes' seam. "The biggest clue is the stiching," Jennifer Maddalena told us. "A very well-made shoe is going to have one seam."

If you're still stumped, ask to look at the dustbag. If the logo is off or the handiwork is shoddy, then the shoes definitly aren't real.


Hermès belts, like scarves, are all about the quality of stitching: handwork looks drastically different from that of machines (i.e. there should be imperfections). However, if you are looking at a piece from a different designer, the seams should be more uniform.

Also be aware of the hardware, know what metals were used by which brand for each seasons. After receiving it in the mail, consider its weight. Like jewelry and watches, anything authentic should be extra heavy.


Designer handbags have few commonalities, regardless of brand. Portero's Director of Accessories, Elizabeth Bernstein, says to check the inside seam for a date stamp, which is a leather or paper tag indentifing the product as authentic. If you can't find this, look for a hologram sticker with the brand's logo.

If you do a little vintage investigating, you can learn excatly what a company's hologram or stamp looked like each season. If it's a current model, "visit the store and look at the real thing," says Elizabeth.

Request as much information as possible from the vendor; if you can, look at the dust bag, authenticity card and original box before buying. Much like belts, stiching and hardware are also important. Knowledge is power! So be sure you know what to look for.