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Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra Real vs Fake Guide 2024: How Can I Tell If It Is Original?

Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra Real vs Fake Guide 2024: How Can I Tell If It Is Original?

    • Jeweller to royals, A-listers and fashionistas, Van Cleef & Arpels is known for their elegant and vibrant creations. And the Maison's most beloved design is the Alhambra with its clover motif that has captivated luxury jewellery lovers across generations. But its popularity means the Maison’s designs are frequently (and usually poorly) copied and peddled as the real thing. So why is Van Cleef Alhambra so expensive? How can you tell a fake Van Cleef Alhambra? Can you look up Van Cleef serial number? Or how do you know if the Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra necklace is real?
    • Hence, if you’re meaning to give yourself up to the pleasure of buying an Alhambra creation, we caution you not to fall victim to a fake piece. Read on and in this blog post, we will discuss how to spot a real Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra bracelet or necklace.

Cover Photo:vancleefarpels.com

How To Spot Real Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra?

1.The Overall Look of Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra

There are many types of stones that Van Cleef & Arpels uses in their Alhambra collection, even special Alhambra stones for the holidays! Consequently, the Maison is highly selective about the stones used in Alhambra jewelry.

Diamonds used are of the highest color grade, i.e., D, E, and F, and the clarity range FL (Flawless) to VVS2 (Very Very Slightly included). Other gemstones such as onyx, carnelian, and malachite are also picked only of superior quality. The house sources white mother of pearl predominantly from Australia, whereas the grey mother of pearl is specifically brought from French Polynesia. 

Any Alhambra jewelry that does not adhere to the gemstone quality as mentioned above is probably a fake one.

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2.The Quality of Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra

Van Cleef & Arpels is crafted by hand with only the highest quality materials and techniques. A great example of the brand’s meticulous craftsmanship is the iconic Alhambra collection, which features a clover motif (repenting luck) in mother of pearl and other stones set in fine gold.

However, if your piece appears worn or dull, you should be suspicious that it is a fake right once. Any stones that appear to be loose in the quatrefoil Alhambra design are also a significant red flag that can help you spot fake Van Cleef.

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3.The Shape of Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra

Van Cleef & Arpels Jewelry has a meticulous and calibrated process. During each phase, measurements are checked for consistency. This demands not only a talented artisan but also time and patience in order to achieve accuracy and consistency in authentic Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry. 

This phase is frequently skipped or performed incorrectly with fake Van Cleef goods. So ounterfeit Alhambra pieces typically have the incorrect shape

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4.The Metals on Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra Pieces

The purity of metal is a patent sign of authenticity in Alhambra jewelry. Van Cleef & Arpels strictly use only pure 18k gold and platinum to model all their jewelry, including Alhambra. 

Necklaces, bracelets, rings, and earrings are made available in a choice of gold—rose, white, and yellow; each polished delicately to exude a sparkling glow.

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5.The Hallmarks and Brand Identifiers

Real Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra pieces will have hallmarks that indicate the brand and the gold purity. Look for the "VCA" and "Van Cleef & Arpels" hallmarks. Be wary of pieces that only have "Van Cleef" written on them, as this is a red flag. There should also be a hallmark that indicates the gold purity, such as "Au750" or simply "750".

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though the fake Van Cleef jewelry hallmark has the same number, it is written in a different font: the letters are thin and narrow rather than densely carved in the metal, giving it a different appearance. The circles on the hallmark metal's edges are also different: they are significantly bigger and irregular.

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The placement of the engravings in Alhambra jewelry differs from piece to piece. Generally, in necklaces and bracelets, you may find the hallmarks either on the plaque and the clasp or on the side of the motif nearest to the clasp. Fasteners in earrings usually carry the trademarks, and in Van Cleef rings, it is mostly set on the bottom of the shank.

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6.The Van Cleef Alhambra Craftsmanship

Every detail of a Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra creation speaks of excellence and unparalleled craftsmanship. Consistency in quality and precision in construction is gracefully evident in every piece. Hence, a minute inspection of the signature design elements and signs of construction can help distinguish the real one from a fake. 

Unpolished metals with a poor finish, loose clasps, joints, and prongs in a new piece, the irregular shape of the clover motif, unclean stampings and hallmarks, and the improper setting of stones are all signs that the Alhambra jewelry you own is fake.

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7.The Chain of Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra

Take a close look at the chain of the Alhambra piece. You will notice that each link has a pointy end and a rounded end. 

The pointy end will have a solder mark, indicating that each link was done by hand. This is a clear sign of authenticity, as counterfeit pieces often use machine-made links.

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8.The Beads on Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra

Each Alhambra clover has a certain number of beads around each leaf, and this number will be consistent for the same kind of Alhambra piece from the same collection. 

For example, an Alhambra onyx bracelet and an Alhambra mother-of-pearl bracelet will have the same number of beads on each clover. Be wary of pieces with an inconsistent number of beads, as this may be a sign of a fake.

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9.The Trademark on Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra Clasp

On top of the clasp/closing mechanism, you’ll find the “VCA” logo.

The signatures and hallmarks on Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry are quite consistent. While the trademark has changed over time, it should still read "Van Cleef & Arpels" or "VCA."  Although many people just refer to the brand as "Van Cleef," if an item is only branded with this, it is a red indicator that it is not genuine.

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And there are thinner “VCA” letters + tower in the middle for authentic Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra. But the  inscriptions are Overly thick on a fake  Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra.

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10.The Serial Number of Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra

Each authentic Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra piece has a unique serial number. The serial number will start with two letters, which indicate the year the piece was produced. 

For example, older pieces may have letters like BL and CL, while newer pieces will have newer letter combinations. Check that the design and wear of the item match the era and age indicated by the serial number.

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11.The Box & Packaging of Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra

  • The Box 

Van Cleef & Arpels Jewelry signature hue is sage green, which is used to create the brand's inner jewelry box, pouch, shopping bag, and paperwork folder. 

The original inner jewelry box will have a plush black interior with the brand name printed on the top of the interior lid.

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  • The Packaging

The brand name is normally printed on the lid of the outer jewelry box, which is usually white or silver.

The reproduction typeface is not at all like the original, which is matte and gorgeous. The VCA symbol is also drawn in a “unique” way.

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12.The Price of Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra

If you’re eyeing a Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra necklace and the price just seems to be too good to be true, it probably is. Van Cleef & Arpels pride themselves on the incredible amount of manpower dedicated to the flawless production of every single piece and this perfection comes with a steep price tag. 

So if you've found a Van Cleef & Arpels piece that's being sold for an in uncharacteristically low price that seems way too inexpensive to be real - that's because it isn't real. Sure, there are price differences from store to store, but when you're comparing prices, you'll find they are mostly in the same lane.

  • Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra Necklace Prices

Retail price range: $1,520 - $162,000
Resale price range: $1,250 - $27,000

  • Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra Ring Prices

Retail price range:  $670 - $805,000
Resale price range: $660 - $860,000

Where To Buy Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra?

Over the decades the Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra collection has expanded to include earrings, rings, bracelets and petite pendants, available in myriad precious stones – from malachite and mother of pearl to carnelian, agate and onyx.

Buying directly from Van Cleef & Arpels offers the largest selection of designs, but pieces can also be found at luxury retailers such as below websites:

And you can also get a second-hand and vintage  Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra on below resale websites! 

While auction houses such as Sotheby’s, Bonhams and Phillips often include Alhambra designs in their fine-jewellery sales, celebrated for holding both their re-sale value and their timeless appeal.

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How To Spot Fake Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra Quickly?

So that concludes this guide on how to spot fake Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra.  Here’s a checklist of what you need to look at in order to spot the real vs. fake Van Cleef & Arpels :

  • Shininess: Authentic pieces shine properly, reflecting all light; fakes have an unclear shine, resembling fake gold.

  • VCA Au750: Authentic items show thicker characters on the metal tab; fakes have thinner, slimmer letters and numbers.

  • Serial Number: Authentic pieces have thicker, more solid letters and numbers; fakes feature thinner inscriptions.

  • Chain: Authentic chains are thicker and more solid; fakes have thinner chains.

  • Clasp: Authentic clasps have thinner “VCA” letters and a tower in the middle; fakes have overly thick inscriptions.

  • Motifs: Authentic motifs display very detailed, heavy-looking edges; fakes have less detailed edges that appear plastic-like.

  • Certificate: Authentic certificates include a serial number and date of purchase; fakes may often lack these details.

  • Packaging: Authentic Van Cleef packaging has a specific appearance with all attachments, including a valid date of purchase and serial number; sensitive information may be blurred for privacy.

  • Box:

- Exterior: Authentic boxes have consistent character thickness; fakes might have uneven thickness like a thicker “V” in “Van”.

- Interior: Authentic boxes feature thicker letters with consistent font-weight; fakes have thinner letters and a different font, often crooked.

FAQs

1.Is Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra Worth It?

Yes! The Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra necklace is a timeless classic, coveted all over the world. It has proven itself to be a flawless and everlasting style, worn throughout the years by countless style icons. 

Van Cleef jewelry can be considered an asset whose value appreciates over the years.It can be passed down through generations or resold at a higher price tag.

2.What's Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra Value on the Second-hand Market?

 As Alhambra is a beloved design from one of the most coveted and respected luxury jewellery brands, it better retains its value on the second hand market in comparison to other brands and styles. 

While there is a discrepancy between store price and resale price, if your piece is in good condition and has the box and papers, you can expect to receive around 50% back of what you paid when selling your Alhambra jewellery.

3.Is Van Cleef Made Of Real Gold?

Yes. Van Cleef jewelry is made strictly of 18k gold and platinum. Any other material is a fake, but if you want to check its authenticity, contact customer service with the serial number.

4.Does the Sweet Alhambra come in white gold?

Sweet Alhambra comes in white gold and beautiful round diamonds that will become any woman's best friend.

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2024-01-18 19:541522