As the proprietor of a blog with the word ‘knives’ in its title, I get more than my fair share of direct-email solicitations to buy edged garbage. Mass-produced Pakistani ‘Damascus’ knives, from multiple nameless factories in the same city? Done that. Personalized letters from Chinese factory export managers, offering to sell me brands which are only actually produced in the US? Been there.
But a particularly audacious email hit my inbox today, urging me to go to ‘Aliexpress.com’ and make a large purchase of Japanese-made Rockstead folders for just $100 each.
Rockstead folders for $100 each? Available for immediate shipment? In quantity? This instantly piqued my interest and my suspicions.
By Rockstead they couldn’t possibly mean ‘Rockstead,’ the folding holy grail of all that is sharp and shiny? The scalpel-sharp blades with RHCs in the mid-60s, so rare and desirable that collectors will pay $2000 and wait in line for six months to buy one used?
Some Internet sleuthing quickly pointed me toward the truth. Aliexpress is an online marketplace for Chinese merchandise, much of it reputedly counterfiet, with a spotty reputation for actually delivering the goods ordered.
More Google-Fu and a visit to the real Rockstead website confirmed that genuine Rockstead knives are incredibly expensive, exclusive, and rare. When the Japanese manufacturer apologizes in advance for ridiculous wait times, how could a Chinese warehouse have hundreds of them on hand for immediate delivery at The Mother Of All Discounts, 95% off?
Which still leaves me very puzzled: even if these counterfeit knives turn out to be solidly made from well-hardened D2 tool steel, what knife guy would be such a thrill-seeker that he’d be willing to risk the contents of his debit card for a no-recourse international purchase from a vendor of ill repute?
Not any of us, I’d hope. Caveat Emptor, my friends.