Cookie Cutter Counterfeits 2

If the tidal wave of eBay-trafficked “new Weiss” has confused and even permanently contaminated the vintage costume jewelry market, it’s also sloshed an enormous cash flow through the sprawling, tangled, two tiered network of those who’ve been selling the fakes. I like to think of this network as a consortium of Tupperware parties on the Dark Side, with the ethically challenged hostesses drawing their living room drapes against prying eyes while working nonstop to boost their sales levels.

If you take a good, analytical look at this network (as both eBay and law enforcement seem unwilling to do), you learn that things don’t just begin and end with the first tier sellers dumping their bogus goods on eBay newbies and unwary collectors (though such hapless souls certainly do form part of the customer base). Rather, each first tier seller has a core group of loyal, high volume, repeat customers, who build on (and who knows, perhaps match or exceed?) their suppliers’ hundreds of thousands of dollars in gross sales. (And these second tier fake Weiss sellers typically have more than one first tier supplier, which is why I use the adjective “tangled” to describe the associations in this crowd…) Now, I’m not suggesting that the second tier go-getters are always or even usually in deliberate cahoots with those they buy from (though they seem to get awfully chummy after doing some repeat business together), just that their keen noses for opportunity have led them to scoop up batch after batch of fakes for resale, returning as needed to replenish their supplies.

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