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Identifying counterfeit items Developed by the CITES Secretariat GreenCustoms Knowledge Series No. 29.

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Presentation on theme: "Identifying counterfeit items Developed by the CITES Secretariat GreenCustoms Knowledge Series No. 29."— Presentation transcript:

1 Identifying counterfeit items Developed by the CITES Secretariat GreenCustoms Knowledge Series No. 29

2 2 Questions to answer Is that item real or fake? Is the counterfeit item still a wildlife product that is controlled by CITES?

3 3 This presentation provides tips on identifying fake and counterfeit items for the following groups: –Caviar –Furs and mammal skins –Precious corals –Tortoiseshell –Snake skin –Ivory –Crocodile skin –Giant clams Overview

4 Caviar

5 5 On its own, it is generally not possible to visually identify which species of sturgeon is present in a container, and one species may be sold as another It is also difficult to tell sturgeon caviar from certain substitutes or alternatives (other fish eggs, or artificial caviar) Identification of caviar to species level requires detailed forensic analysis (e.g. DNA testing) Thankfully, caviar in trade is labelled, and this can help ensure compliance with requirements

6 6 Caviar packaging The packaging is not always a reliable indicator, as counterfeit packaging can look even better than the real one Real packaging Forged packaging

7 Furs and mammal skins

8 8 8 Differentiating real from fake –Raw or tanned whole skins will have a an irregular shape and include parts such as tails, legs etc., as well as imperfections or collection marks –Cut pieces may be irregular in size, but will clearly show a leather base –Fake fur is usually made from polyester or acrylic materials

9 9 9 Furs and mammal skins Differentiating real from fake (garments) –Push apart the fur to look at the base Real fur will have a skin/leather base that is whitish, or possibly dyed the same color as the fur Fake fur will have a cloth or woven base –If the base is not clearly visible on a garment, try to see the underside of the 'fur', perhaps by undoing some stitching

10 10 Furs and mammal skins Differentiating real from fake (garments) –If the fur has not been sheared, look at longer guard hairs under a magnifying glass Real fur will be tapered towards the tip, fake fur will be of the same diameter throughout –Remove a few hairs and, well away from the specimen, subject the loose hairs to a flame Real fur will smell like burned human hair, fake fur will not

11 11 Furs and mammal skins Differentiating real from fake (garments) –Experience is a real help –Fake fur does not have the look, feel, sheen or other qualities of natural fur Real Imitation

12 12 Furs and mammal skins Counterfeit skins may be real skins, but are not the species claimed by traders or identified on documentation, labels or other marks –Furs of common species (e.g. domestic cat, rabbit, dog, goat) are dyed or hand-colored to resemble rare species (e.g. counterfeit tiger pelts) –Cowhide is pressed / embossed with a pattern resembling rare species (e.g. elephant)

13 13 Furs and mammal skins Pressed cow leather sold as 'genuine elephant leather'

14 14 Furs and mammal skins Counterfeit tiger skin

15 15 Furs and mammal skins Curiously, real fur (often from Asian raccoon dog Nyctereutes procyonoides, non-CITES) may be labeled as 'fake fur' (or 'faux fur') on clothing

16 16 Furs and mammal skins Counterfeit skins are generally meant to fool persons who are not familiar with the real item –Low value skins are passed off as high-value skins –NOTE: High value skins are never passed off as low value skins, and high value skins are not likely to be made into 'ordinary' products

17 Precious corals

18 18 Precious corals These coral groups are included in the CITES Appendices –Black coral Antipatharia spp., Appendix II –Red and pink coral (Corallium elatius, C. japonicum, C. konjoi, C. secundum - Appendix III, China) –Blue coral Heliopora coerulea, Appendix II –Stony corals SCLERACTINIA spp., Appendix II –Organ-pipe corals Tubiporidae spp., Appendix II –Fire corals Milleporidae spp., Appendix II –Lace corals Stylasteridae spp., Appendix II

19 19 Uses of red and pink coral –Jewelry –Art objects –Herbal or homeopathic medicine Red and Pink Coral

20 20 Red and Pink Coral Is it Corallium? –True Corallium will exhibit a solid, pit-free, longitudinally striated surface –Imitation Corallium such as glass, porcelain or dyed chalcedony can feel cold; plastic can feel warm; striations will not be parallel –Dyed or polymer-impregnated corals of other species can be identified by their porous surface which may or not be filled in with polymer

21 21 Red and Pink Coral Is it Corallium? –Corallium has a solid texture—with extremely few holes being visible in its polished external surface, other than a clusters of pin point holes that are the remnants of the coral’s central canal –True Corallium is expensive

22 22 Red and Pink Coral Is it Corallium? –Corallium can range in color from deep red to pink to almost white

23 23 Red and Pink Coral Corallium rubrum

24 24 Red and Pink Coral Corallium elatius (App. III)

25 25 Red and Pink Coral Corallium secundum (App. III)

26 26 Red and Pink Coral Corallium konojoi (App. III) Corallium japonicum (App. III)

27 27 Corallium look-alikes Sponge coral (trade name) is made by dying red pieces of the gorgonian species Melithaea ochracea (non- CITES) It can be identified by its rough and porous surface; by lighter-hued reticulated pattern or brown patches or swirls that are still visible on polished surfaces; and by red pigment may be visible in defects, stringing holes and on the polished surface Sponge corals may also be resin impregnated to increase their durability

28 28 Corallium look-alikes Sponge coral

29 29 Corallium look-alikes Bamboo coral Keratoisis profunda (Family Isididae, non-CITES) is widely used as a Corallium substitute Bamboo corals possess a skeletal arrangement which resembles bamboo - the skeleton is composed of calcareous plates separated by joint-like gorgonin protein The natural color is creamy white with brown or black

30 30 Corallium look-alikes Bamboo coral skeletons have a smoother surface than sponge coral and can display longitudinal striations like Corallium Sometimes the harder calcitic sections are cut out and dyed to make small beads; larger pieces may retain the banded patterning

31 31 Bamboo coral

32 32 Corallium look-alikes Bamboo coral using the calcitic sections only may be impossible to differentiate from Corallium, unless evidence of red dye can be seen under magnification

33 33 Bamboo coral (dyed)

34 34 Bamboo coral (natural)

35 35 Corallium look-alikes When the internodes of bamboo coral are dyed red or pink, this color enhanced coral can be difficult to discriminate from Corallium — unless evidence of residual dye or wax is observed

36 36 Black Coral Black coral is a term given to a group of deep water, tree-like coral which normally occurs in the tropics (Antipatharia spp. Appendix II) –Though its living tissue is brilliantly colored, black coral takes its name from the distinctive black or dark brown color of its skeleton –The skeleton is made of a tough, keratin- like protein called conchiolin or gorgonin, which is not highly mineralized

37 37 Black Coral Also unique to black coral are the tiny spines that cover the surface of the skeleton (black coral is also known as 'thorn coral' –Properly prepared and polished pieces are near the equal of the stony types in durability and beauty, and can exceed them in value –Black coral polishes very well, and colors range from black to dark brown to golden –Black coral is 'thermoplastic' (it can be reshaped with heat)

38 38 Black Coral Black coral can be identified by the presence of fine radially-arranged spines in unpolished sections, and remnants of the spines may be visible on polished surfaces under magnification –Though superficially black, strong light can shine through surface layers, giving them a waxy brownish-red color against which the spine structure is obvious (best seen in daylight conditions) –Applying a hot pin will release a 'salty burnt hair’ odor –Cross-section cuts appears like a cross-section of a tree

39 39 Blue Coral Blue coral Heliopora coerulea (App. II) is a natural colored blue calcitic coral that has limited value in jewelry due to its porosity –The blue color is caused by the deposition of iron salts in the calcium carbonate skeleton –The blue skeleton is also popular in the marine curio trade and is made into jewelry and ornaments –The porous, relatively smooth surface has pores of two sizes - large pores of mm diameter, and small pores of 0.1 mm diameter)

40 40 Blue Coral (imitation) Imitation blue coral

41 Marine turtle shell (tortoiseshell)

42 42 Marine turtle shell (tortoiseshell) The 13 back scutes are used Although whole carapaces may be traded as stuffed specimens, for bekko trade the scutes will be separated

43 43 Marine turtle shell (tortoiseshell) Only the transparent/translucent part of the shell scute is valued

44 44 Marine turtle shell (tortoiseshell) Polished whole shells are commonly traded Finished items made from the translucent portion of the scutes are also traded Raw scutes may be traded

45 45 Marine turtle shell (tortoiseshell) Tortoiseshell has been used for a very long time, so many antique pieces exist –Mention of tortoiseshell is made in classical Greek literature –The Egyptians used to trade tortoiseshell with the Romans –Tortoiseshell has been used in the making of Japanese musical instruments since the 8 th Century –Tortoiseshell was very popular in household items and art in 18 th and 19 th Century Europe –Tortoiseshell has been commonly used in 20 th Century items, from eyeglass frames to combs to guitar picks 45

46 46 Marine turtle shell (tortoiseshell) Processed tortoiseshell is “nature’s plastic”

47 47 Marine turtle shell (tortoiseshell) Tortoiseshell can be seen on many antique items

48 48 Marine turtle shell (tortoiseshell) It is probably not possible to tell the difference between antique tortoiseshell items and new ones by looking at the shell alone Antique items may require a pre-Convention certificate, or may qualify for the exemption for personal and household effects –See Resolution Conf Implementation of Article VII, paragraph 2, concerning 'pre-Convention’ specimens –See Resolution Conf (Rev. CoP14) Control of trade in personal and household effects

49 49 Marine turtle shell imitation Tortoiseshell has always been valued due to its beauty and rarity, so it is not surprising that imitation (fake) tortoiseshell has been around since adequate substitutes were first developed –The first of these was celluloid, considered the first 'thermoplastic', developed in 1856 –Celluloid is the name of a class of compounds created from nitrocellulose and camphor, plus dyes and other agents

50 50 Marine turtle shell imitation Celluloid is easily molded and shaped, and it was first widely used as an ivory replacement –Celluloid is highly flammable and also easily decomposes, and is no longer widely used –Its most common uses today are the table tennis ball and guitar picks (plectra)

51 51 Marine turtle shell imitation Early imitation tortoiseshell made from celluloid is difficult to tell from real shell

52 52 Marine turtle shell imitation Imitation tortoiseshell is commonly seen today, usually made from modern plastics

53 53 Marine turtle shell imitation One method still used for creating imitation tortoiseshell for the construction of eyeglass frames and combs is to use a cellulose acetate resin cast in a large block –It is a slow curing resin by design, which allows colored pigment resin sticks to be floated on the surface and dissolved in the resin to create the beautiful swirled patterns, often with multiple layers –The block is then sliced very thinly

54 54 Marine turtle shell imitation One test for distinguishing real shell from celluloid imitation tortoise shell is to rub the article on a piece of cloth until it becomes warm, or hold the piece under hot water for around 30 seconds If the warmth brings out an odour of camphor or vinegar, it is a celluloid imitation As celluloid can be flammable, do not use a hot flame or a hot pin in trying to tell shell from plastic 54

55 Snake skin

56 56 Snake skin A snake hatches with a fixed number of scales –The scales do not increase in number as the snake matures nor do they reduce in number over time, but they do grow larger in size and may change shape with each molt

57 57 Snake skin Each scale has an outer surface and an inner surface Except on the head, scales usually overlap The skin from the inner surface hinges back and forms a free area which overlaps the base of the next scale which emerges below this scale

58 58 Snake skin Snake scales may be granular, have a smooth surface or have a longitudinal ridge or keel on it Snake scales may have pits, tubercles and other fine structures which may be visible to the naked eye or under a microscope

59 59 Snake skin Certain primitive snakes such as boas, pythons and certain advanced snakes such as vipers have small scales arranged irregularly on the head Other more advanced snakes have special large symmetrical scales on the head called shields or plates

60 60 Snake skin Snake scales occur in variety of shapes, and can be: –Cycloid –Long and pointed with pointed tips –Broad and leaf-like –As broad as they are long –Keeled weakly or strongly –With bidentate tips –Spine-like, juxtaposed –Large, non-overlapping knobs

61 61 Snake skin To be able to identify snake skins using scales, you have to know which scales you are looking at, what identifying characteristics are present, and the number of dorsal rows (if possible)

62 62 Snake skin Tanning –Snake skins are usually pickled in a salt solution, then dried - and they may be traded as dried skins (known as 'crust' skins) –Snake skins are usually subjected to mineral tanning (usually with chromium in the form of basic chromium sulfate), and in the raw state chrome tanned skins are blue in color –Chrome tanning produces a pliable, stretchable leather which is desirable for use in handbags and garments

63 63 Snake skin Tanning –The last stage of tanning, known as retanning, applies retanning agents and dyes to the material in order to provide the physical strength and the properties desired in the end product –The final stage of processing, known as finishing, is used to apply finishing material to the surface (or to finish the surface without the application of any chemicals)

64 64 Snake skin Tanning –REMEMBER: Tanning can drastically change the color and texture of snake skin, which can affect your ability to identify skins using available resources

65 65 Snake skin Identifying products that are made from or contain pieces of snake skin is much more difficult than identifying whole dried or tanned skins : –There is no size reference, and counting dorsal and ventral scales is almost impossible –Color patterns may be obscured The most immediate concern is determining whether the item is made from real skin, or is fake

66 66 Snake skin Real skins will have scales with edges that you can feel

67 67 Snake skin Fake skin products have a scale pattern that is simply embossed or printed (with no scale edges) The pattern may repeat itself or be too even, especially over a large surface

68 68 Snake skin Real or fake...? Real (Reticulated python. dorsal cut) Fake

69 69 Snake skin Real or fake...? Fake 'Scales' indistinct

70 70 Snake skin Real or fake...? All three items are fakes

71 71 Snake skin Real or fake...? Fake Real (cobra)

72 72 Snake skin Real or fake...? All three items are made with real skin, but the granular-skinned Elephant trunk snake Acrochordus javanicus is not a CITES species

73 73 ?? Not everything with scales is a snake! Snakeskin fruit Salacca zalacca

74 Ivory

75 75 What is ivory? The word “ivory” was traditionally applied only to the tusks of elephants However, the chemical structure of the teeth and tusks of mammals is the same regardless of the species of origin, and the trade in certain teeth and tusks other than elephant is well established and widespread Items from species other than mammals have also been called “ivory”

76 76 What is ivory? Tooth and tusk ivory can be carved into an almost infinite variety of shapes and objects Tusks can be carved in a way that retains their characteristic shape Warthog tusks, teeth from sperm whales, killer whales and hippos can be superficially carved, and also retain their original shapes

77 77 What is ivory? Ivory can also be found in less-recognizable form, such as inlays and small items

78 78 Ivory in trade Ivory has been valued for a long time, with the first recorded use in carving by Cro-Magnons living from about 40,000 to 10,000 years ago in the Upper Paleolithic period of the Pleistocene epoch

79 79 Ivory in trade Japanese artists starting in the 17th century cleverly invented the miniature sculptures known as netsuke to serve a very practical function (kimonos did not have pockets !) Modern copies of old netsuke designs are popular as art objects, and are often made from ivory

80 80 Ivory in trade Netsuke carvings will have two small holes through which a braided silk cord was passed Genuine items and well-made copies will have holes of different sizes, as the larger hole will accommodate the knot Modern netsuke created as tourist items generally have holes of similar size, or holes that do not connect

81 81 Ivory in trade Modern use and trade –D–Decoration, art –C–Cultural objects –M–Musical instruments –N–Name seals

82 82 Ivory in trade Modern use and trade –D–Decoration, art –C–Cultural objects –M–Musical instruments –N–Name seals

83 83 Ivory in trade Modern use and trade –D–Decoration, art –C–Cultural objects –M–Musical instruments –N–Name seals

84 84 Ivory in trade Modern use and trade –D–Decoration, art –C–Cultural objects –M–Musical instruments –N–Name seals

85 85 Kinds of ivory Elephant (Asian, African) Mammoth (fossil ivory) Hippopotamus Walrus (including fossil walrus ivory) Narwhal Sperm whale Warthog Hornbill Natural substitutes –Bone –Composites –Shell –Vegetable ivory Synthetics, fake ivory –Plastics –Polyester resins –Synthetics –Casein –Celluloid

86 86 Real or fake...? It is not so straightforward, or easy to tell... Ivory identification... and in which CITES Appendix? Bone Celluloid Warthog Synthetic III Walrus II Hippo I Hornbill

87 87 Ivory identification Elephant and Mammoth –Polished cross-sections of elephant and mammoth ivory dentine display uniquely characteristic Schreger lines, commonly referred to as cross-hatchings, engine turnings, or stacked chevrons –The intersections of Schreger lines form angles, which are on average deg. (obtuse) in Asian/African elephant ivory

88 88 Ivory identification Elephant and Mammoth –Polished cross-sections of elephant and mammoth ivory dentine display uniquely characteristic Schreger lines, commonly referred to as cross-hatchings, engine turnings, or stacked chevrons –The intersections of Schreger lines form angles, which are on average deg. (obtuse) in Asian/African elephant ivory Mammoth Elephant

89 89 Mammoth (non-CITES)

90 90 Elephant

91 91 Mammoth (non-CITES)

92 92 Ivory identification Remember, Schreger lines appear in cross-section In a three-dimensional carving, it is usually possible to find a side that corresponds to a cross-section However, items that are cut length-wise in thin layers (such as piano keys) will not have these lines, and may exhibit wavy or parallel lines on their surface

93 93 Ivory identification Mammoth ivory will occasionally display intrusive brownish or blue-green coloured blemishes caused by an iron phosphate called vivianite When the discolouration is barely perceptible to the eye, the use of a hand-held ultraviolet light source causes the blemished area to stand out with a dramatic purple velvet-like appearance Even if discoloured, elephant ivory will not have the characteristic fluorescence of vivianite

94 94 Ivory identification Hippopotamus

95 95 Ivory identification Hippopotamus –Upper and lower canines and incisors are the most common sources for hippo ivory Upper canine is oval to rounded in cross-section Lower canine is large, strongly curved, triangular in cross-section Incisor is peg-shaped, dot in centre of cross-section

96 96 Ivory identification Hippopotamus –Close examination of cross-section of hippo dentine with the aid of a 10X hand lens reveals a tightly packed series of fine concentric lines that can be regularly or irregularly spaced –The orientation of the lines will follow the overall shape of the particular tooth, and the centre of the tooth may display an interstitial zone

97 97 Ivory identification Walrus –Walrus tusk ivory comes from two modified upper canines, which have a rounded, irregular peg shape –The tip of a walrus tusk has an enamel coating which is worn away during the animal’s youth –Fine longitudinal cracks, which appear as radial cracks in cross- section, can be seen throughout the length of the tusk

98 98 Ivory identification Walrus –Walrus tusk ivory comes from two modified upper canines, which have a rounded, irregular peg shape –The tip of a walrus tusk has an enamel coating which is worn away during the animal’s youth –Fine longitudinal cracks, which appear as radial cracks in cross- section, can be seen throughout the length of the tusk

99 99 Ivory identification Walrus –“Fossilized” walrus ivory is also traded (carvings, musical instrument parts)

100 100 Ivory identification Old, new and ‘fossil’ walrus ivory Fossil Old New Old

101 101 Ivory identification Narwhal –Upper incisor, spiral in shape, hollow centre in cross-section

102 102 Ivory identification Sperm whale –Whole teeth –Whole teeth with scrimshaw (surface carving) –Tabua Enamel tip, dentine rings in cross-section Many good fakes, using polyester resin

103 103 Ivory identification Sperm whale –The root cavity of whale teeth is generally deep and conical (except in old animals) –The edge of a whale tooth is fairly sharp, thin, and can exhibit cracks due to age and loss of moisture –If the edge has been trimmed it is usually finished smooth, follows the outside shape of the tooth, and is usually unstained –The base cavity of most fakes is shallow and rounded, and may be discoloured from dye immersion to simulate patina on the outer surface

104 104 Ivory identification Sperm whale –The tip of a sperm whale tooth is yellowish, with a sharp line separating tip from the whiter ivory, and may also display sharp, thin and short age lines, crossing from ivory to crown –The patina is usually subtle and not uniform, and will not easily scratch off; it is also a different color than ink of the scribed image –Very few authentic antique scrimshaw have text, and even fewer are dated –With many of the resins now in use, “hot-needle” tests and UV-light examination are not as reliable as they once were

105 105 Ivory identification Warthog –Warthog ivory comes from the animal’s upper and lower canine teeth –These tusks are strongly curved and have generally squared cross-sections –Warthog ivory tends to have a mottled appearance –Examination of a cross-section with a 10X hand lens reveals that warthog dentine shows irregularly spaced concentric lines of varying thickness

106 106 Ivory identification Hornbill –Hornbill ‘ivory’ is derived from the casque of the Helmeted hornbill Rhinoplax vigil

107 107 Ivory identification Natural substitutes –Bone c an superficially look very much like ivory Bone is e xtensively permeated by Haversian pits or canals through which fluid flows These can be seen on a polished bone surface using a 10X hand lens, appearing as pits or scratch-like irregularities

108 108 Ivory identification Natural substitutes –Composites Elephant ivory dust, a by-product of carving and manufacturing, can be bound with resins and molded or cut and polished to make a commercially usable product (e.g. for piano keys) Technically it is still an ivory specimen, but it will not have the usual identification characteristics

109 109 Natural substitutes –Shell Polished calcium carbonate, for inlays and small items –Vegetable ivory (tagua palm nut) Cross-section reveals fine, regularly spaced concentric lines similar to those seen in hippopotamus ivory Vegetable ivory UV fluorescence is very similar to elephant ivory fluorescence –Sulphuric acid applied to vegetable ivory causes an irreversible pink coloring in about 12 minutes Ivory identification

110 110 Asian- style and modern tagua nut carvings

111 111 Ivory identification Synthetics, fakes –Plastics, polyester resins, synthetics, casein, celluloid –Some try to mimic the Schreger lines (such as celluloid, invented in 1869 – which means you can have old fakes)

112 Crocodile skin

113 113 Crocodile skin To spot fake crocodilian products, look for: –creases with an unnatural look –repetitive patterns –pock marks and blistering on the surface made by a mould –different body regions are associated together –dorsal and nuchal scales fold under finger pressure

114 114 Crocodile skin To spot fake crocodilian products, you can also try the burn test: If burning a small part smells like burnt plastic, it is a fake the keratin in crocodilian skin will smell like burnt hair

115 Giant clams

116 116 Giant Clams All 9 species of the Family Tridacnidae are included in Appendix II of CITES –Tridacna gigas –Tridacna derasa –Tridacna squamosa –Tridacna maxima –Tridacna crocea –Tridacna rosewateri –Tridacna tevoroa –Hippopus hippopus –Hippopus porcellanus

117 117 Giant Clams While there may be some trade in meat for sushi (Himejako), most trade is in the form of clam shells (either single or in pairs, or made into curios and souvenirs)

118 118 Giant Clams "Pearls" from giant clams are occasionally offered for sale These are likely polished shell material and are either sold as polished beads or made into necklaces or other items

119 119 Giant Clams True nacreous pearls from giant clams are known, but are very rare and irregularly shaped

120 120 Giant Clams Tridacna gigas

121 121 Giant Clams Tridacna squamosa shell in trade

122 122 Giant Clams Tridacna maxima

123 123 Giant Clams Tridacna crocea

124 124 Giant Clams Tridacna rosewateri (found in Mauritius only)

125 125 Giant Clams Tridacna tevoroa (found in Tonga and Fiji)

126 126 Giant Clams Hippopus hippopus

127 127 Giant Clams Hippopus porcellanus

128 128 Imitations Imitations can be found that are made of porcelain or ceramic

129 129 Imitations Some imitations made from resin can be very realistic in appearance

130 130 Summary Real versus fake Real, but counterfeit

131 131 Summary Caviar Furs and mammal skins Precious corals Tortoiseshell Snake skin Ivory Crocodile skin Giant clams

132 132 CITES Secretariat Geneva


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