I wrote this article for a magazine then placed is on my blog back in 2009.
I have recently read several posts on social medias regarding people making very bad choices in purchasing reborns.
The people try to say that the seller "scammed" them but really, they just did not investigate the seller or ask for more pictures so I feel that is it time to repost this information:
Buying Artist Quality Reborn Doll Guide
It can be hard to judge a reborn doll at first glance. Since most are sold online via doll auctions, this article will assume that this is the common way to purchase and will use language that is fitting of an auction style evaluation.
Reborners of all levels adore their work, love the finished doll and desire to share that love with others. These works of love can be simply customized dolls, slightly reborn dolls and the artist quality reborn.
With the hundreds and thousands of reborn dolls out there, how do you know for sure what you are getting?
Start by researching the artist selling the doll. How often does she put a doll up for auction? Most artist quality dolls cannot be completed in less than a week so be leery of those listing dolls every few days. (There are occasions when an artist can have more than one listing up. For example, she may have returned from a doll show where she did not sell all of her dolls, or she may have had a buyer back out of an agreement and relisted the doll. Use your good judgment on this issue)
Read the artists eBay feedback comments. If she has an eBay "Me" page, or a website, spend some time on those pages getting to know her and her work. Let her customers tell you about her by reading their comments.
Read the auction thoroughly. If the artist does not state the specifics, send an "Ask the seller a Question" and get a clear definition of what you need to know. i.e.: If the artist simply says that the doll is weighted with quality products, ask her exactly what products she used and if they are contained to be leak proof. I will go over more of these type of points later in the article.
Evaluate all the pictures in the auction. Photography is very hard work and not everyone is gifted at it, but one can tell if the artist tried. The auction should have many large pictures of the doll taken at several different angles. There should be pictures of the doll from all sides of the doll.
The use of lights during photography is not taboo. Natural daylight can cast terrible hues over an area altering the true color and look of the doll. Don't be concerned about the use of lights during photo sessions or even the editing of pictures. Sometimes, even with the use of artificial lights, the pictures still need to have the unwanted hue/tint adjusted to give accuracy to the doll. Even with the best of lights, camera and editing, some pictures can still be off in color. Evaluate the bulk of the pictures for color consistency.
After you have done all of this, do it again! Review the artist's description of the doll, view the pictures again and ask more questions if you have them.
Onto the fine details.
Artist quality reborns are usually recognized by obvious and meticulous multidimensional layers of skin tone that include soft and subtle veins and capillaries. If veins look drawn on with a pen, they probably are. Look for veins that appear under the "skin". Look for a smooth application of the paints and true to life colors. (Keep in mind that all computer monitors are different so ask the artist specific questions if you are concerned about color) The doll should have many different colors throughout the whole skin tone~just like real babies.
There are many different types of paint available to the reborn doll artist. Clarify with the artist exactly which paint she used and make sure that the paint is permanent if she does not reveal this in the auction. Some collectors like the feel of one of the most common paints, the Genesis Heat Set Paints and some do not. For those who do not, acrylic paints created for vinyl dolls is the way to go.
If the doll you are looking at is a sleeping doll, it should have rooted lashes. Look closely at them to evaluate if the lashes are too thick or thin. Do they look like real baby lashes? Be sure that they are sealed on the inside.
If it is an open eyed baby, look closely at the eyes. Do they look real? Are they relatively symmetric? (They do not have to be fully symmetric as not all doll sculpts~or real babies~eyes and eye lids are symmetric. Just decide if they look real and natural). Most artist use artificial lashes on open-eyed dolls. Again, decide if they are natural looking and check close for any clumps of glue. If the eyes are glossed, the lashes would be sealed in for durability. If the eyes are not glossed, or if you are not sure and the description of the doll does not say, ask the artist if the lashes are sealed in.
Evaluate the gloss on other areas of the doll to ensure that it is natural looking.
The quality of mohair makes or breaks a reborn doll. Read the artists description of the hair. Does she say that it is soft like baby hair? Is it real angora hair or a synthetic hair? Look at the close ups of the pictures (Artist reborns should have large, close up pictures of the hair rooting). If the hair looks coarse~it is! Some mohair can look natural but be coarse in texture. If in doubt, ask the artist what she thinks of the hair.
Is the hair directionally rooted? This is an important attribute for when the new "baby" arrives home and you attempt to style the hair.
Are there large plugs and does the hair stick straight up from the head? The best rooted head is one that you can hardly see where the hair enters the scalp and the hair lays flat when combed flat. (This can be hard to tell if the hair is combed up in a style, in pig tails or the doll is wearing a headband)
Is the hair sealed on the inside?
The doll should have a new jointed body (where appropriate) that fits it well. Evaluate what the artist says about the body and view the pictures to see how well the doll poses. If it looks stiff and overstuffed in the pictures, it probably is.
Find out what the doll is weighted with. The best products are granulated glass beads that are contained in leak proof pouches or sealed inside the limbs, "baby fat" silicone pellets, and plastic pellets. Be wary of dolls that are weighted with sand, aquarium rocks and even worse, cat litter!
The clothing and accessories that go home with a reborn can vary from inexpensive to very costly. The clothing should be new or like new with no stains or tears. The clothing style is a matter of preference and you can always change the doll upon it's arrival at home if you don't care for the clothing.
The magnets used in accessories such as pacifiers and hair bows are usually very strong. Care must be taken if the doll will be around loved ones with medical devices and little children. The magnets can upset the medical devices (as well as computers and credit cards), and children can dislodge some magnets and swallow them causing great harm. It's difficult to remove these from the doll but it can be done or if the artist is accepting custom orders, ask her to make you a doll like the one you are attracted to without the magnets.
An artist quality reborn can range in price dependent upon demand for that particular reborn. Most artist quality reborns can range from the low end of the scale at $400 up to several thousand dollars but usually there are artist quality reborns available for any budget as most artists will accept long layaways.
It is my desire and wish to guide you to buying an excellent, artist quality reborn baby doll that you can love for years and pass down to your family.
I wish you well on your search!