Knock It Off!

Squall Leonhart - Sterling Silver Perfect Grade Necklace Set

Previously in THIS POST HERE entitled Achieving a Perfect Grade where I reviewed the Perfect Grade Necklace Set featuring a sterling silver replica of Squall Leonhart’s Griever necklace and a scaled down replica of his Revolver gunblade on a keychain, I mentioned that I used to work with fine and bridge jewelry.

So… yeah.

Once upon a time, I used to work with fine and bridge jewelry (including fine watches) where I was constantly exposed to high end sterling silver and other jewelry crafted from fine metals along with fine watches. In addition to selling jewelry I also inadvertently became something of a jewelry appraiser and jewelry consultant as customers would frequently bring in their (older) jewelry with questions on authenticity and repairability.

In the industry – just like in the collectibles field – there are guidelines to follow when determining a piece of jewelry’s authenticity and quality and after all those years… I think I can say that I know a thing or three about both authenticity and quality.

With that said…

I’m going to just be straight up about it.

It REALLY pisses me off to see all those knockoffs of the official Griever necklace replica passing off as the ‘official’ real deal.

Why?

Because fans are regularly getting jipped out of their money for knockoffs that they believe are the genuine article because the sellers are selling them and marketing them as the real thing.

Even worse, the knockoffs aren’t even good quality, but… do the fans know?

For a lot of them, NO. In fact, a lot of them – many of whom I have encountered in the past – have no clue that they not only own a knockoff but a low-quality knockoff to boot…

Which brings me to this next bit:

Here’s a quick down and dirty rundown on how to identify a knockoff:

  • IF THE METAL IS STERLING SILVER it will be heavier than all other conventional knockoff materials and will bear the mandatory .925 stamp somewhere that indicates its status as genuine sterling silver
  • THE CHAIN IS CHEAP in looks and feel and isn’t smooth, highly polished, heavy, and thick
  • THE PENDANT LOOP FOR THE CHAIN to hook on looks like an upside down U
  • THE STAMP ON THE BACK SIDE, if it has one, IS MISSING PARTS of the official inscription (most notably, the © SQUARE engraving)
  • THE PRICE IS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE because the original non-sterling version was definitely worth more than $25.00 and the genuine sterling silver is worth WAY more than $25.00.
  • IT IS A RE-RELEASE because Square only ever released that particular version in a single run and that’s IT.

If you ever wondered at the quality difference between a knockoff of the Griever pendant and the real thing, I would have to say that you have NO frickin’ IDEA just what a HUGE difference there is.

Even in comparison to the sterling silver knockoff (YES, it most certainly IS a knockoff as it does not have the official stamp on the back like mine does and Square stopped manufacturing that particular official replica ages ago) being sold at myimportstore.org which advertises it as:

Final Fantasy Sterling Silver Jewelry, FF8 Squall’s Necklace (Pure Silver), Final Fantasy 8 Jewelry: A limited edition of Final Fantasy 8 Squall’s Griever Necklace (925 Silver)

This is a specially custom made Final Fantasy 8 Squall’s Griever Necklace, made from genuine pure silver (pendant).

The chain is approximately 25″ long, and is made from stainless steel.

This item is extremely rare and built to last, and it’s a great collector’s item.

It is also ideal who people who are sensitive to other metals.

the real article – the genuine thing, the Real McCoy, whatever you want to call it – EASILY outclasses it.

How?

1) QUALITY of the pendant

If you read the comments, you will see that there is a manufacturing issue that renders the bottom point of the pendant bent. The original sterling silver one is in no way, shape, or form, BENT which is easily proven by looking at my close-up photos.

Also, if you didn’t catch what I wrote earlier, I will reiterate and say that Square only ran the FFVIII jewelry pieces for this particular replica for a very limited time (and in the Perfect Grade sterling silver case, a limited number of 10,000) and EVERY SINGLE sterling silver Griever piece put out by them was stamped/engraved with “Sleeping Lion Heart”, Silver, the required .925 tag, and © Square.

Squall Leonhart - Sterling Silver Perfect Grade Necklace Set

You can verify this stamp by looking at my picture of the back of my pendant and also the picture of the sticker on the back of the box. You can also verify that Square (now known as Square Enix) stamps all of their official merchandise from phone straps to figurines to statues to games to jewelry by looking at any other officially licensed Square Enix merchandise.

Sephiroth Eau de Toilette

Conveniently, I have pictures of a similar sort of stamping/engraving done to an official metal phone strap that came as a decorative item attached to my Sephiroth Eau de Toilette bottle as shown here and in my review post.

Thus, if you ever bought a sterling silver Griever pendant (likely from myimportstore.org or someone who purchased from them or from their same supplier unless the pendant was handcrafted) whose stamp/inscription (if it even has one) does not match the one in my photograph, you can be assured that what you bought is unfortunately NOT the genuine article.

2) QUALITY of the chain

Again, read the comments about the chain and about how cheap it looks and feels and how it has even broken off for some. There’s no doubt about it; the chain that comes with the knockoff is a CHEAP Junk Shop-worthy chain.

The funny thing is, in all actuality, stainless steel is a really good metal to use for jewelry owing to its inertness and it is normally quite hardy in addition to being stable which is why there is a grade of stainless steel called “implant grade” which is used for surgical implants and body jewelry. Furthermore, a lot of cookware is made of stainless steel because of the same stability and durability. Bearing this in mind, if the stainless steel on those necklaces aren’t holding up, then there’s something wrong with the quality there!

Squall Leonhart - Sterling Silver Perfect Grade Necklace Set

In comparison, the chain that came with the original is HEAVY, THICK (seriously, think of a juvenile snake), HIGHLY polished, and of all things it does, it does NOT discolor in the same manner. If you looked at my pictures, you will agree that I am simply stating a simple fact.

Here’s another idea of how solid the real chain is:

That little clasp/clip that clips one end of the chain to the other so it can be looped around the neck? The end of the clip has stretched out a bit after ten years of wear because of the total weight it was forced to support.

Yeah. Heavy.

Remember that aside that I wrote about O rings? Here’s a perfect example of how a pendant and its chain can stress a connector piece too much.

3) MONETARY value

$200.00 USD for THAT thing?

Really?

For only a necklace whose only sterling silver part is the pendant and whose chain looks and feels cheap and has proven itself to BE cheap and, given what I have explained about the properties of stainless steel which you can easily research and confirm yourself, may not even be stainless steel to begin with?

Yeah. NO.

It’s not only a knockoff with questionable quality, but a ripoff as well compared to both the original prices for the official replicas – BOTH the necklace-only non-silver run AND the limited edition 10,000 Perfect Grade boxed set – and the market trend for silver.

If these knockoffs were actually a hoard of the originals, then the pricing is understandable as both the inherent value and material value has appreciated over time. But these are unofficial KNOCKOFFS that have quality control issues besides.

So why pay more – a lot more! – for a knockoff?

Yes, silver prices are skyrocketing through the roof, but… they’ve been selling their pieces at THOSE prices even BEFORE the prices for silver went climbing.

In other words, in case I didn’t say it clearly enough:

RIP. OFF.

Squall Leonhart - Sterling Silver Perfect Grade Necklace Set

Squall Leonhart - Sterling Silver Perfect Grade Necklace Set

This one up here whose pictures are worth a thousand words and whose quality and craftsmanship in ALL WAYS has lasted me constant use for ten years with minimal changes in quality?

Or this one down here whose chain – according to first person reviews! – pictured is actually NOT the chain that is shipped (and, according to the same reviews, the chain looks and feels cheap to boot) and whose pendant has a bent tip?

My Import Store - Sterling Silver Griever Necklace

Yeah.

Even if you can’t hold it in your hands and then wear it around your neck to see with your own eyes in person and feel for yourself what the non-photographic differences are, the differences that can be seen through photographs alone – and especially given what the complaints are about the chain; the company is falsely advertising as the chain shipped is NOT the chain pictured! – stand out and NOT in a good way.

Someone else beat me to the punch by posting their thoughts on the knockoff version in a product review and I couldn’t agree more though I would have been harsher.

My review?

Fool’s Gold!

This “limited edition” may look like a handsome collector’s piece at first glance, but don’t be fooled by the picture, price, or the marketing. Read the reviews and see for yourself!

Limited edition? Rare and built to last? Who the hell are they kidding? The originals were out of print YEARS ago.

This product is only “limited” and “rare” by the number that THEY decide to release it in – nothing more – so that THEY can control the price and milk their potential buyers for the highest price that they can command. When the limited edition version from Square was over, it was OVER – end of sentence. On the other hand, you can just bet that this “limited edition” is going to be here for a while, enticing interested shoppers with its marketing.

Stainless steel chain? What kind of stainless steel chain breaks without wear and looks and feels cheap to boot? Obviously a CHEAP one, if it is even stainless steel in the first place! If stainless steel was a naturally “cheap” material, it wouldn’t be used for surgical implants or for high quality cookware! In relation to this, Square most certainly did NOT scrimp on either the craftsmanship or the material used for the chain of their official replica as the chain is HEAVY, consistent in its link patterning, THICK in both link and the chain itself (the chain is nearly a full centimeter wide), SMOOTH like a snake chain, and buffed to a HIGH SHINE.

Bent tip? The original doesn’t have a bent tip. It also doesn’t have that upside down U shaped loop at the top which is a hallmark characteristic of less expensive Griever knockoffs.

$200.00 USD? Seriously? NO. For a knockoff pendant (meaning, there is no official name brand backing it/supporting it) that isn’t even a perfect replica (or at least one that doesn’t have the flaw in the end tip) and whose chain is CHEAP and not even the same chain that is pictured in the pictures, it is NOT worth the $200.00 AT ALL considering that the original replicas didn’t cost that much. Even with the increased price of sterling silver, a knockoff with questionable quality is just NOT worth it.

Finally, for those of you wondering if this is a licensed replica, I can tell you that it most certainly is NOT as it does NOT bear the appropriate stamps/engraving on the back side that Square (now known as Square Enix) stamps on all of their official jewelry.

Overall, no product is ever perfect, but THAT kind of money for a pendant whose quality can’t match the original’s and whose chain can’t even begin to compare?

Even if I didn’t own the original, I would NOT buy this version regardless of how much I might want a replica for my own.

$200.00 for a knockoff that can’t even maintain consistency between its marketing pictures and the actual product and whose actual end product is of even worse quality than the quality of the product pictured could never be worth it and I refuse to support a company that not only supports knockoffs but also engages in false advertising.

Yeah. Definitely harsh, but I stand by my words because I know what the truth is.

I have been an original owner for ten years and I have worked with sterling silver for almost half of those years. Where some things are a matter of personal taste and opinion, there are some things that are a matter of fact – facts that I have taken care to explain, illustrate, and even demonstrate.

But… hey.

If YOU are happy with whatever version you have, great. It’s YOUR money and if you’re happy with how you spent it, awesome!

Just don’t tell anyone who has ever encountered the real deal and expect them to agree with you when you say that, “it is just like the original!”

‘Cause it isn’t.

IT. JUST. ISN’T.

Over and out,
Aith

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29 Responses to Knock It Off!

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