So you are thinking of buying one of these amazing dolls?
Buying a reborn doll is based more on emotion than sense: the heart rules the head. All the props and scenery used in the photos are designed to lead you in this direction. The baby powder, plush toys, lace, and fur are all intended to make the doll look (either soundly sleeping or wide-eyed luring you in) so irresistible that you want to pick her up and never put her down.
When you see a reborn doll that you love, you will feel that you really need to have it. Your advertising image at its best. Just as ‘coke’ equates to youth and fun, effective reborn baby photos evoke the same sentiments as Johnson’s best baby powder ads: the promise of unconditional love and warm hugs.
Some people have said they were so upset when they lost a reborn baby on eBay that their hearts sank, they cried for days.
But I’m just warning you, if the baby comes and it’s not what you expected, this is also very disappointing and your wallet will be lighter. So it’s wise to use your head a bit before buying.
Revenants are everywhere and there are plenty on eBay (a real mix, some are really quite scary). There are many doll forums and one in particular has a section called “Does she sell this?” which celebrates some of the poor reborn doll work on the market.
Should the price be the best indicator? What about guild membership and prizes? How can you know? So what do you look for and what differentiates a good doll from a bad one?
Price isn’t the best indicator: high prices don’t guarantee quality and there are some great ones that are reasonably priced. The big prices (in the several thousand dollars) are run by a handful of reborn artists.
Be careful with guilds and memberships: most do not require proof of talent or customer service to be authorized for use. Be careful with the prizes, sometimes they are the only ones in the competition.
inspect the product
I think there is nothing better than seeing a doll before you buy it, but this is usually not an option, since this is a truly electronic and international industry (without borders).
If you can’t see the real thing, photos are the next best thing. But be careful with photos, there are all kinds of electronic filters and artificial lighting that can make them look better than they are. You should be delighted when your reborn arrives and think that the photos did not do them justice at all. Ask an artist about the enhancements and lighting used in her photos.
Then look at the reputation of the artist (and remember that talent as an artist, honesty, and customer service can be mutually exclusive). Satisfaction guarantees, damage repair policies must be understood and are indicators of good customer service. EBay feedback is indicative of honesty and customer service. The talent is up to you as the judge.
My strong suggestion would be to search the internet or join a forum or two and find an artist there. Beware of reborn nursery listings on the site; They are not a guarantee of quality or honesty. Most artists will display their work and have it in their signatures on the forums.
Here are some recommendations on what to look for when looking at dolls in person or photos:
1. Judge how much the doll really looks like a baby. A good reborn should be confused with a baby.
My daughter has taken her reborns shopping with us and of course she (she’s 6) gets tired of carrying them so I end up having to carry them. I am stuck in a difficult position. Do I nurse this baby like she’s real and people will think I’m a doll-nursing freak OR just carry her like she’s my daughter’s doll that I now have to carry?
Well, for a good reborn you have no choice but the first option. I once had to put up with the stares of many people in a major shopping center who looked at me as if I were a neglectful parent. I’ve found that it’s not publicly acceptable to blow up a baby (and therefore a reborn doll) at the bottom of a shopping cart. It is also not acceptable to hold a baby casually between the elbow and the hand with the limbs dangling, even if the hand is supporting the head well. Also, in general, people are quite critical of you (and give you nasty looks) if they think the baby should be a little warmer.
2. Take a look at the details: hands and feet (take a look at the nail details), ears (how real they look – can sometimes be limited by the detail of the sculpture – more expensive sculptures have more details), eyebrows (they should look real), and creases and creases should not look like cuts.
3. Artists work hard for realistic skin tones and this should make the baby look subtly mottled (look out for this, it’s a sign of quality).
4. The rooting of the mohair. Hair should be shiny, smooth and rooted so that it is not “clumpy” at all. The rooting should be directional, that is, at a different angle so that it looks good on the whole head. Some artists do an amazing job with their directional rooting with crown/crowns, parts, etc. Look for this, it’s a sign of quality.
Some people like their dolls to look very real with milk stains, rashes, and scratches. If you don’t like these, don’t buy a reborn baby with them. Your personal taste. I personally don’t like these. I know they’re realistic, but when my real babies got rashes, I couldn’t wait for them to go away. So I’m of the opinion that I wouldn’t want them on a doll permanently.
Some people like sculptures with funny, wrinkled faces. Well, I say good for them, each one for their own. I love pretty babies (although I see beauty in the somewhat funny faces newborns make) and try to achieve this mixed with realism in my sculpting and painting choices.
Best of luck finding a doll you love.