How To Identify Counterfeit and Reproduction Sunglasses

Fake, Counterfeit, and Reproduction Vintage Designer Sunglasses on Ebay & Etsy

The scope of the problem with sellers intentionally and unknowingly selling fake, counterfeit, and reproduction vintage designer sunglasses on Ebay, Etsy, and other "anonymous seller" markets has outgrown the ability of the sites to police the marketplace. It's not lost on counterfeiters, mostly located in Malaysia and China, that prices for vintage designer sunglasses in most cases exceeds that for new sunglasses from the same makers.Counterfeiters often buy one pair of authentic vintage sunglasses of a particular style, often those that include original warranties and stickers to aid in the deception, and then they mass produce copies of that style. While they sometimes sell directly, it is more common to see them collude with online sellers such as sinecos360 and edcipo on Ebay and DeRoom on Etsy who have become adept at mixing in fakes with authentic styles in their listings. One common tactic is for them to buy cheap aftermarket lenses and then replace scratched lenses in an authentic frame; a simple Ebay search for lenses turns up many offerings such as Fuse which are made to fit vintage designer sunglasses styles so it's easy to see how they do it. In fact, anyone can do it which only exacerbates the problem. While we can tell almost immediately in 95% of the cases when an item is a counterfeit or has replacement lenses, most individuals simply can't and it is near impossible to tell from pictures alone.


To identify fake counterfeit sunglasses on Ebay, Etsy, and elsewhere is very difficult without the expertise like we have developed since 1998 here at the Vintage Sunglasses Shop. But here are some things to look for and consider:


  • Jagged, imprecise lines in etched marks on lenses
  • Out of place marks on lenses and the inside arms of frames
  • Polycarbonate plastic lenses instead of mineral glass in vintage B&L Ray-Ban, Revo, Giorgio Armani, Persol, and Vuarnet sunglasses
  • Missing marks that will always be present on authentic frames and lenses
  • Cheap construction techniques that result in gaps at hinge points, visible residue around joints, poorly fitting lenses, and the like
  • Extensive seller listings of "new old stock" from the 1990s and back when common sense tells you it's likely not possible unless you have the connections of a real business like the Vintage Sunglasses Shop
  • Complete boxed sets inclusive of stickers, warranties, and tags are often a red flag - most consumers didn't keep them and counterfeiters intentionally manufacture them and include them to aid in deception


Aside from the real possibility of getting cheated and not even knowing it, even if you do discern you've been sold fake counterfeit designer sunglasses on Ebay or Etsy it's going to be your word against a seller. And sellers are clever at disguising their fakes just like they are using vague and imprecise terms to describe condition thus protecting themselves against returns. Aside from wasting your money on counterfeit sunglasses, you can really harm your eyes because the lenses in most fakes lack even basic UV protection.


If you're reading this and want us to authenticate something you've purchased or are looking at on Ebay or elsewhere, we never do that. Authenticating vintage sunglasses and protecting our customers is the most important service we provide, an expertise developed over 20 years of selling fine eyewear around the world. When you shop at online auctions, sadly you're on your own.

About The Vintage Sunglasses Shop

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