US customs seize $2m worth of Cartier fakes

Cartier has been selling its Love Bracelets for around 50 years, and while they have dipped in and out of fashion, they’re currently enjoying a resurgence.

Little wonder then that US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized 48 counterfeit versions of the bracelets – which are available in different formats and cost from around $4,500 to more than $50,000 apiece – at the Port of Philadelphia earlier this month.

The officers intercepted the shipment en route from Hong Kong and on inspection it was  found to contain 31 Cartier Rose and Yellow Gold Bracelets and 17 Cartier White Gold Bracelets, all diamond paved. If they were authentic, the bracelets would have had manufacturer’s recommended retail price of more than $2m.

The shoddy packaging and workmanship of the items raised eyebrows at CBP and prompted further investigation. After consultation with Cartier it was determined that the bracelets were indeed counterfeit, and it was also discovered that the consignee had a previous shipment seized for counterfeit Cartier bracelets.

“For these CBP officers, keeping their ‘eyes on the prize’ didn’t mean finding real gold, but instead finding fool’s gold,” said Joseph Martella, CBP Port Director for the Area Port of Philadelphia.

“Our expertly trained CBP officers stopped dozens of illicit consumer products from entering the US yet again.”

Watches and jewellery accounted for 15 per cent of 34,143 CBP seizures last year, the same proportion as in 2016, and was the second-most intercepted product category after apparel and accessories. By value, watches and jewellery accounted for a disproportionate 38% of the total, reflecting the high unit price of these items, making up $460m out of a total $1.21bn.

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