How to Spot a Fake Argyle Certificate: The Security Secrets of the Argyle Certificate

How to Spot a Fake Argyle Certificate: The Security Secrets of the Argyle Certificate

Image Credit: Sylvie Dibbs

Original Argyle certificates are highly desirable and this article will equip you with how to check its authenticity by uncovering the security details developed by Argyle. Working side by side with Argyle experts over the years, I’ve been privy to quite a few secrets about Argyle certificates but there are two in particular that I stumbled upon by happy accident.

Secret 1: The Argyle Thermal Chromic Logo

The first secret concerns the diamond shaped logo that is featured on both the second and third versions of Argyle certificates. It does tend to attract one’s eye because the printing quality looks out of place with all the other elements on the certificate. When examined up-close, you will notice that the printing of the logo looks fuzzy. The text and outlines are not as crisp as the other printed elements. This is because the logo is printed with heat sensitive ink. When something warm is placed on top (such as a thumb, for instance). This secret logo prevents any high-quality fakes from passing the authenticity test; to re-create the thermal chromic logo is just a bit too complicated for wannabe forgers.

Argyle’s thermal chromic logo on the Argyle certificate version 2.0. (Photo: Sylvie Dibbs)

Argyle’s thermal chromic logo again on certificate version 3.0. (Photo: Sylvie Dibbs)

Secret 2: Check the Fine Print on the Argyle Certificates

When you see lines on an Argyle certificate, take a closer look. They are not actually solid lines at all but, rather, strings of tiny, printed text. They repeat the words “argyle pink diamonds” over and over again. This can only be read when using a magnifying glass (a diamond loupe’s probably going to be closer to hand). The printed words are so small they would be lost in any attempt to photocopy or print them. Again, this is another great security device to trip up any aspiring forgers. This secret device can be found on both first and second iterations of Argyle certificates, located on the “signature of authority” and “date of issue” section.

Check the lines. To the eye, this looks like a solid black line but up close it reveals the words “argyle pink diamonds”. (Certificate version 1.0). (Photo: Sylvie Dibbs)

The two lines above and below the signature of authority section say “Argyle pink diamonds”, printed in light pink. (Certificate version 2.0). (Photo: Sylvie Dibbs)

Secret 3: The Hidden Yellow Logo & Bank Note Lines

The very first Argyle certificates issued are what I call the “purple certificates”. They have two other embedded “secrets” which I also happened to find by accident. I have handled purple certificates many times over the years and yet only spotted this secret recently. Because of the actual physical age of these certificates (being the first batch of certificates from Argyle) they always look and feel older. I had always seen a faint yellowish “stain” on these certificates and dismissed them as natural symptoms of aged paper.

I had to photograph an early Argyle certificate and imported it into Photoshop. I was adjusting the contrast when the words “Argyle Pink” appeared before my very eyes. It was thrilling to find out that this mysterious stain that I had always dismissed as an annoying blemish was actually a really important secret authentication device particular to the first iteration of Argyle certificates. Secondly, I also found that as I tried to clean up parts of the certificate on Photoshop, that the wave line patterns were unevenly spaced, which meant that those “bank note” lines were not strictly repetitive but cleverly nuanced so you couldn’t just copy and paste information on the certificate; the bank note patterns would never match and an astute dealer or purchaser would see straight away if it had been doctored.

In broad daylight. The Argyle certificate with ‘bank note’ lines and the large secret text obscured (Certificate version 1.0). (Photo: Sylvie Dibbs)

Now you see it. Boosting the contrast reveals the large secret text “Argyle Pink” in yellow across the certificate. (Photo: Sylvie Dibbs)

By sharing these Argyle certificate security secrets, I hope you will be confident to check for Argyle certificate authenticity. For me, not only are the style iterations of the Argyle certificates fascinating in their own right, but the extra layers of hidden visual (and chemical) secrets embedded into the certificates and their design make them even a little bit more exciting. I suspect that the Argyle certificates might hold a few more secrets that I’m yet to uncover, and so this article remains open ended, ready to be updated as more secrets are uncovered. Let me know of any other diamond certificate secrets that you may have discovered.

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