Ebay Chinese Pearl Buying Adventure Part 2


Well-known member
May 26, 2014
Just call me curious, okay?

I was looking for some cheap gold clasps and of course, I like vintage so I end up browsing on the great bay of E. I do searches for gold clasps and see a very cheap 14k gold ball clasped shell pearl necklace for $.99 plus $4.99 shipping. The thought that there is no way this seller can afford to sell a necklace for that price using real gold comes into my head, and what do I think? I pushed the bid button! For $6 I don't have much to lose and might get a nice golden clasp out of it!

I got my shell necklace the other day and finally got around to acid testing it. The clasp itself was the usual solid ball clasp and stamped 14K. I tested a few other gold items at the same time. These photos are the results of tonight's testing.

A similar listing by the same seller, using the same picture, same price, etc... http://www.ebay.com/itm/AAA-10mm-ye...231249?hash=item58d4dacd51:g:oTIAAOSwyQtVk1hL

My first indication that the clasp might not be gold was trying to scratch it. It was very difficult to get color onto the stone. After the gold scratch disappeared immediately upon applying the 14k tester acid (the far two scratches closest to the edge that have a red tint), I tried the 10k acid test, which lasted a little longer, but started disappearing. I then dipped the clasp in a drop of acid and got a nice chemical reaction with bubbling, color changing and hiss. 008.jpg

Here is the 14k marked clasp bubbling with 10k testing acid. DSC06817.jpg

The ball of the clasp that hasn't been tested with the V part that has: DSC06814.jpg

And the 14K clasp that hasn't changed color next to the drop of acid on a paper towel and the fake 14k gold clasp:

I have not contacted the seller yet and want to make sure I present the facts correctly. Would you say the metal underneath is brass? It is not magnetic. I am going to demand a full refund and report it to ebay as a fake, as well figure out how to leave feedback before I get banned from their list.
Well, that's just so pitiful. We're such optimists at times. I'd probably say it appears to be a base metal of some sort. Looks a bit copper-ish on my computer monitor, but you're correct, lots of brass is gold plated. You certainly deserve your money back.

Excellent photos, thanks so much for sharing your experience.
Gold is usually alloyed with other metals for strength (and economy), but it's the same alloy throughout the piece.

Only in gold plated or gold filled jewelry is there base metal under the gold.
In vermeil there is silver under the gold.
I posted a follow up and it looks like it disappeared with a lot of other posts from a few days ago. I'll try to recap...

I posted negative feedback and opened a claim with ebay stating the item was not as described, then stated it was a fake with posted photos, asking to return the item for a refund. Ebay said I had to give the seller a few days to respond, and I heard back within 48 hours saying the seller agreed to take the item back and that they should be forwarding me a return shipping label. From ebay: "jeweller-yue2018 accepted a return for AAA 10mm yellow South sea shell pearl necklace 35" 14K gold Clasp K222J. You should receive a return shipping label by Feb 02, 2016. Just print the label and send the item back to the seller. Don't receive a label by then? You can ask us to step in and help."

Tomorrow is the 2nd and I have not seen a label yet and doubt I will see one. Return shipping to China with tracking is going to be more than $6. At that point, I will ask ebay to step in and they should refund my money.

From what I have read, China sellers are held to a different standard than US sellers and can get away with a lot more, which is why so many sell counterfeits and have a lot of negatives. Plus, to get a lot of their early feedback, many sell really cheap items and buy them with other accounts to bump their feedback. When I got banned from one Chinese seller last time, I could not bid on a few other seller accounts, so they work together within their own group. Every single Chinese seller posts the same story about feedback, how to contact them directly instead of leaving bad feedback, so I knew there was something behind the feedback.

I did some digging and found an ebay seller who posted about feedback:

If you open an item as not described or defective for any reason, it will count as defects in my seller dashboard. These are called transaction defect rate, which is the percentage of MY transactions that have defects. If lets say I get 5 defect,
1-my seller status goes away.
2-My %20 discount privilege goes away
3-My visibility goes away

A defect occurs when a part of a transaction doesn't match what I describe or promised in the listing. A transaction has a defect when one or more of the following occurs:
Detailed seller rating of 1, 2 or 3 for item as described.
Detailed seller rating of 1 for shipping time.
Negative or neutral Feedback.
Return initiated for a reason that indicates the item was not as described.
eBay Money Back Guarantee request or PayPal Purchase Protection case opened for an item not received or an item not as described.
Transaction cancellation by the seller when the item was out of stock or sold to another buyer.

Therefore, we do have some action and protection if we know how to use ebay's system in our favor. Sellers cannot post negative feedback on buyers, so there can be no retaliation. However, if you do sell on ebay, a lot of people on the forum recommended having a two ebay accounts, one to sell, one to buy so retaliation doesn't occur. I hope all this info helps others that have purchased junk from Chinese sellers, or really any seller. I'm not saying all Chinese sellers are cheaters, but anything super cheap is going to be fake, esp if it is a photo that is recycled over and over again.
I filed a referral form and will hopefully get the right department. I'll let you know what they say. Thanks JP!
Thanks for sharing your work on this, it is really good information. Glad you have the tenacity to pursue it.:)
As predicted, the seller did not send me a shipping label so I had ebay step in (there is a link to have ebay step in if they don't send you a shipping label within a set time period, and it's very easy... just a click). I also realized that the sale is no longer in my purchase history. I don't know how the sellers can do that. I can find the sale by going back to my emails and finding the ebay congrats emails and click that to get to the auction. My feedback is still there and the seller hasn't said anything to me or posted a followup to it.
For whatever reason when you open a case the item disappears from your purchase history. I just had this happen to me when I had to open a case on someone. IDK why it happens though!
I thought it was something the seller did, but maybe it is done by ebay to prevent the buyer from leaving feedback until something is resolved? I'm really not sure though. I did have that happen the first time but I didn't file for ebay to get involved, so I assume the seller did something to make the sale disappear from my purchase history after refunding my money. This time I left feedback prior to getting ebay involved and the listing was removed from my purchase history too. You can still find the sale by going into your ebay messages and clicking on the congrats email which provides a link to the auction. You can leave feedback from there.
thanks so much for reporting back on your experiences. i don't buy on ebay often, so it is good to have an inside look at how these processes work. there are so many pitfalls!
Thank you for posting this. Ebay has some done some to safeguard the buyer but obviously not enough for some unscrupulous sellers.
Just for fun I ordered three pairs of earring pearls - two pair of large " VERY high luster" white button pearls and one 4$ pair of 11 mm grey studs lol The white ones are from Pearlunar - be interesting to see what they are like IRL . They have a suggested price of $35.00 per pair .. which is way too high.. I offered 22 and it was accepted ... just incase anyone is interested. They used to have a lot more pairs than they do now ... but I haven't looked at them for years. All pretty pricey now. Will keep you posted ... can't wait to see the $4.00 ones from ETSY lol
Pearlunar had accurate descriptions and photos when I bought a few things from them. Hope they are still good. :)
Well my Pearllunar pearls arrived - the little pink are more apricot and (of course) much more pale than this photo..but cute. The white are slightly different shades but that won't be noticeable one there is a head between them ;) And as you can see they are pretty nice. They are 11.4mm Buttons ( and sold as such) Nice luster and very clean surfaces...for $24.00 ... not bad. I know the photo is bad .. I was too lazy to take them in the back room where the light is best...and they are the same size..the photo makes one look bigger.
They look great. The nice thing is Pearllunar states what they are and posts fairly accurate photos. They don't appear to try to mislead anyone, like most of the eBay pearl sellers from China. A breath of fresh air. :)
Yes, I think pearllunar is one of the decent ebayers. Are they in HK?