Monday, January 30, 2006

Related to Fakes

This is a wonderful site. Read and learn.

"Note that any advertisement claiming that a product is chemical-free is essentially claiming that the product consists of a perfect vacuum."

Sunday, January 29, 2006


It has been over a month since I've written here, many blogs started none finished. I’ve been busy.

I’m busy today too, but an article in the New York Times caught my eye. It is about something that has always eluded me, the value of a thing aside from the thing itself.

The article is about fake costume jewelry.

OK. Costume jewelry is not made of precious stones or precious metals. The point is for it to look nice. There are bits of glass and brass etc. made to be shiny and pretty or flashy.

So. There are people who collect name costume jewelry, antiques. And now there are people making fake costume jewelry with the appropriate rhinestones and metal using modern glues, stamping the name of old, known, costume jewelry makers and selling them on e-bay. This drives down the price of the “real” costume jewelry.

OK. Now, I can see having a personal fondness for a shiny attractive piece because your great aunt owned it and wore it, and there is a picture of her as a glamorous young woman with the brooch pinning a lovely scarf. I can see valuing a piece for it’s appearance. I can even comprehend the idea of a piece being valued for the hands that made it. Perhaps a famous or interesting person held it in their hands and glued the rhinestones into their settings. But how can one so value apiece stamped out by a machine with glass glued in by low wage workers more than the counterfeit made now to be just as attractive? Why should the original hold any value simply because it is old?

Similarly why should a simple cotton knit T-shirt be more valuable if it has a name designer on it’s tag or printed across it’s front, or if it was bought from say, Saks Fifth, then the same design and cotton sold at JC Pennys? Again, I understand if one is cotton of a quality knit and the other a cheesy polyester blend. Or perhaps one made by workers earning a real living vs nearly enslaved sweatshop workers in a third world country. I certainly understand copywrite and patents. Without that how would an artist or inventor make a living?

But, what is the deal with valuing the company name and age on an item, paticularly when that maker is long gone or just a high profit corporation?

To me, that added price is… somewhat offensive, wasting resources that could be so much better spent elsewhere, I shudder a little when I see such names. I don’t like walking into such stores.

It might make a real impact if all who pay more for an item due to a name, instead just bought items for appearance and/or material quality, and paid attention to the source of an item, how eco-friendly? How well are the workers treated? Higher labor costs, and care to environmental impact would make items cost more, but wouldn’t that added cost be so much better than that added simply because of the name or age of the item?

Adding value based only on age and name “authenticity” in mass produced items is what seems fake to me.