This example is just one from a large multitude of fantasy jewelry pieces that appeared for sale on the Internet in the last few years. Initially represented as old, having come out of a sudden 'warehouse find' of jewelry from the Victorian, Art Nouveau or Art Deco eras (depending on who is telling the tale), many experienced dealers and collectors were taken in by the story told about them to support sudden arrival and easy availability. Any time large groups of any type of antique or collectible suddenly appears in this way their advent should always be viewed with some healthy scepticism until sure proof of authenticity can be had. This is because the euphemism, 'warehouse find' generally equates to 'period reproduction,' or 'new fake.' While finding an old store, a special warehouse, or some closed factory buildings full of authentic, aged collectibles can happen, such a discovery is a very rare thing, indeed. And one could surely expect excited press reports to have followed the discovery.
This individual piece bears the letters SBK and a mark stating only, 'Czecho' on a metal oval pad soldered on the back. Inexperienced buyers often misinterpret the word 'Czecho' to mean 'Czechoslovakia.' But, except for some dissolution that occurred due to Nazi occupation during World War II, from 1918 until 1993 the Czech and Slovak nation states were one country. Products exported from that conjoined country should more correctly be expected to bear the designation of having been made in 'Czechoslovakia,' as indeed most vintage jewelry items produced there during the span of time noted will be marked, if they are marked at all.
The 'Czecho' mark is currently being used by jewelry companies in the Czech Republic and as more and more new Czech Republic jewelry enters the market via the Internet, more buyers make incorrect assumptions about its age based on this mark being present. The fact that many items such as the one present in this listing also will have had a false chemical patina applied to metal components only increases the likelihood that incorrect identification and misrepresentations (accidental or otherwise) will occur.
The sudden availability of a continuing stream of supposedly 'rare' or hard to find jewelry pieces marked with SBK and Czecho marks has been explained away with a quite plausible sounding story of a respected old jewelry factory or warehouse forced to close because of war, and its remaining closed (packed full of jewelry) for more than 50 years. Conveniently, SBK marked jewelry pieces would seem to have just been waiting for the creation of the Internet and the boom in costume jewelry collecting before its sudden rediscovery.
Look for the presence of older looking findings, beads and filigree sections to be joined together with obvious newly created etched glass pendants, such as seen in this item, depicting lovely (rather modern faced) women or Egyptian themes. Often the back sides of these pieces look unfinished and lack adequate plating to protect the wearer from chemical reaction if in contact with the skin.
SBK Czecho jewelry pieces are not 'Czechoslovakian' in manufacture, but from the modern Czech Republic. Most pieces are visually appealing and quite attractive. Stories about them become inaccurate, however, when they are sold as finished original, vintage pieces that were locked away in a warehouse for many, many years.
This type of jewelry is almost always advertised as hailing from the 1920's or 1930's, or earlier. Were this true, then a buyer should expect that the above required Czech government cultural monument certificate would have accompanied each piece at export.
The Czech people are very proud of their heritage in regards to jewelry production. They treasure their antique and vintage historical resources. On March 23, 1994, Parliament passed an 'Act of the Czech Republic' concerning the Sale and Export of Cultural Objects. Cultural objects covered by this Act include Czech jewelry, either Fine or costume, determined to be at least 50 years in age and of no set market value.
"A physical person or legal entity who intends to export a cultural object may export that object from the territory of the Czech Republic only after it has been provided with certification that it has not been declared cultural monuments, nor articles which are part of a set declared as a cultural monument. They must submit one copy of the certificate to the customs authority when the cultural object is released into the export regime or the regime of passive cultural intercourse, one copy is kept and one copy of the certificate accompanies the cultural object."
If 'certification' is requested for an imported SBK marked jewelry item, don't be surprised if a paper statement is provided that is not of official government issue but instead consists of a note from the Czech seller on which is printed the same warehouse story already told. The paper might be stamped with a semi-official looking ink stamp with Czech writing, but like the jewelry that it 'certifies' as authentic, any certificate of authenticity will have been made to order and also will be a fantasy piece.
Item ID: 2007RP00065
Illustrations and Characteristics for Help in Identifying Many Confusing New Items
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