Counterfeiters capitalize on ‘Tiffany’ name

The following is a news story by KOMO 4 news reporter, Herb Weisbaum, which NGL was consulted on:

Counterfeiters capitalize on ‘Tiffany’ name
By Herb Weisbaum

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A real Tiffany pendant. – When it comes to fine jewelry, no one shines brighter than Tiffany.

Real Tiffany Co pendant
Real Tiffany Co pendant

Fake Tiffany Tag Return to Tiffany
Fake Tiffany CO PENDANT

So when Sarah VanGrunsven was deciding a Valentine’s Day present she had her heart set on a Tiffany chain and heart pendant.

“She’d mentioned that she’d found a few online that were reasonably priced and, of course, you know that sounded good to me,” said Lee Van Grunsven.

Lee wanted to surprise his wife, so he went online while she was asleep and ordered the chain from the web site.

Real Tiffany Chain and Tag Fake Tiffany Chain and Tag

“The website said that it was the true, legitimate Tiffany’s,” said Lee, who spent $89 for the bracelet — a good price since it’s listed for $190 at the Tiffany store.

“A few days later I saw it was a being shipped from China and I was like, ‘uh oh.’ This might not be legit like the website says it is.”

When the package showed up, it was a counterfeit chain and pendant in a counterfeit Tiffany bag.

“They never responded to any of my e-mails of course, because they knew that they were caught that they were sending a knockoff,” Sarah said.

Lee couldn’t stick his Valentine with a cheap knockoff, so he went to a Tiffany store and bought the genuine chain.

But just what do you get when you wind up with a fake?  It starts with the bag.  On a real bag the “Tiffany” label is embossed, but with the fake it’s just printed on.  And when it comes to the actual jewelry, Gemologist Audrey Forrest of the Northwest Gemological Institute had no trouble telling them apart.

Real vrs Fake Tiffany Chains

“Tiffany does take a lot of care to make sure theirs is manufactured with precision,” she said. “They obviously use a cheaper process in the counterfeit.” Real vrs Fake Tiffany Chains

Tiffany engraves its heart pendant, and the counterfeiters don’t.

There’s also a big difference in the chain links. Tiffany uses a perfect round shape, but the counterfeit uses non-symmetrical egg-shaped links, which are cheaper to make.

“The Tiffany bracelet which sells for $190 would appraise for $190,” Forrest said. “This bracelet which was sold on the fake web site for $89 is really not worth the Tiffany that’s on there. You’re looking at a $50 to $60 bracelet because it’s just a silver bracelet.”

Tiffany says it tries to shut down web sites selling counterfeit jewelry, but cleary it can’t stop them all.

So, how do you protect yourself?

Just remember this: Tiffany never has a sale, and it doesn’t have an outlet store. There are no specials, and no discounts. If you’re dealing with Tiffany, it’s full price.

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