It is a sad but true fact that hundreds of people lose money every year to scammers who claim to sell silicone reborn dolls, but in fact do not. More that once I've gotten messages from people upset, thinking that they have purchased one of our dolls and have, in the end, either received nothing at all, or a poorly made doll that does not look anything like the item they were promised. The prevalence of silicone doll scams can make it very difficult for those who are just dipping their toes into the industry. We have detailed before the right way to go about buying a silicone reborn doll. But how can you avoid getting scammed? Here are a few tips to make sure the doll you're looking at is legit.
1. Price - If it seems too good to be true, it absolutely is
2. Artist - Ask the artists! Legitimate artists are real people with real contact info!
3. Look at the pictures - Are they original images, or lifted from somewhere else?
4. Is the website trustworthy? - Legitimate sellers have established, secure websites
As you may have noticed, silicone dolls are EXPENSIVE! There are a few very good reasons for the high dollar value of silicone art dolls. They use very high quality materials, take a lot of care and skill to make kits, and requires years of practice to learn how to paint.
First, quality silicone reborn dolls are made with a very high quality material called Platinum Silicone. The platinum here refers to an actual metal component in the silicone that allows the chemical magic to occur which turns liquid silicone in to the soft rubber we use for our dolls. Platinum is an expensive metal, so the silicone made from it is expensive as well. However the benefit of using Platinum Silicone is that a product made from it will last for decades without flaw or failure. Cheaper silicone dolls, if they are made from silicone at all, will often employ a cheap, tin silicone. As tin is a cheap metal, the silicone is cheaper as well. However, the "Library Life of tin silicone is less that one year. So a doll made from this material will begin to tear and degrade very quickly
Secondly, the blank silicone doll kits, even before they are painted, represent dozens of hours of work. The original sculpture is made from clay and can takes months to get right. Then a mold is made my layering the sculpture with casting materials layer by layer. Next, platinum silicone is poured into the mold and the removed, checked for any flaws (which are then repaired) and then sent to an artist.
Finally, in order to get a blank doll kit to look as good as Maria Lynn's best work, takes years of practice and hours to actually accomplish. Maria Lynn has been painting reborn dolls since 2009 and has painted close to a THOUSAND dolls! When she creates one of her original works of art, she employs those year of practice and spends between 20-40 hours layering on paint, texturing eye brows, rooting in hair, etc.
Creating a high quality silicone doll is a big investment that takes a lot of time, money and skill! So, if you find a silicone reborn online with suspiciously low prices, you'll know, there is no way that much work can be available for such a tiny price!
Silicone doll artists are all real people! If you are wondering if a doll that you have found online is a legitimate offer or not, you can just ask! When you find an offer online and you want to check to see if it is legitimate, try searching the artists name on Google. Maybe add on the words "silicone doll" to your search, just to be sure you find the right person. Most artists will have a website like ours, or an active facebook page, or instagram account. Send them a message! If it is a legitimate offer, the artist be able to give you their blessing. If it is not, they are sure to know and will be glad to hear about it!
Because the silicone doll world is small and tight knit, we artists tend to know each other, at least by reputation if not personally. You can always ask a reputable artist for advice about a potential scam too, even if it is not their doll in particular. If you have any questions about a potential silicone doll scam, please reach out to us here: Contact Us.
Some silicone doll scam pages are brazen enough to use pictures of actual babies to advertise their dolls! Take a careful look at the pictures and think to your self, "how likely is it that I will actually receive whats in this picture". Most scammers lift their pictures from promotional materials posted online by original artists. Most images that we publish at Maria Lynn Dolls have watermarks applied to to them to try to prevent this. However, sometimes the scammer will crop the watermark out to avoid this.
If you are not sure whether a picture of a doll you are looking at is legitimate, you can perform a reverse image search to see where else that image appears on the web. Using a website called tineye (https://tineye.com/) you can paste in the URL of the picture you are looking at, and you can find all the other places that picture comes from. In that search you can find the original silicone doll artist and the ask them about the sale.
Legitimate silicone dolls are sold from legitimate websites! Before you give any information to a sketchy seller, here are some things to check:
Check the address bar and URL for "https://". The "s" after the http stands for secure, and ensures that the website is encrypted and is protected from hackers. Secure websites also cost money to maintain, which signals that the seller hasn't made something they are just going to throw away.
Check the website's contact us page, there should be multiple ways to contact and verify the company, emails, facebook, a geographical location, etc.
Check their social media for age and activity. Maria Lynn Dolls, for example, has years worth of social media posts and more than 16,000 followers. Our YouTube channel has over a millions subscribers. These are good signs that a company is here to stay!
Look up the domain age using an online tool like https://whois.domaintools.com/. Search the name of the website you're shopping on and you can see how long that domain has been in use. An old website is more likely to be a trustworthy website.