Three bracelets from Tiffany & Co.’s “T” collection. The New York jeweler has withdrawn from International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition, supposedly because Alibaba, which is known to sell fake Tiffany jewelry on its websites, was admitted into the group.
New York--Tiffany & Co. resigned from the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition this week, though the jeweler said the admittance of Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba to the group was not the reason for its departure.

The New York-based jeweler said in a statement issued to National Jeweler Friday morning that it “resigned its seat on the IACC Board of Directors and withdrew its membership due to its concerns related to certain governance matters that recently came to light. The decision was not made in protest of Alibaba’s membership in the IACC.”

While Tiffany said its exit was not spurred by the entrance of Alibaba, the jeweler is not the first brand to leave the organization on the heels of Alibaba’s arrival in April.

Gucci and Michael Kors also have withdrawn from the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit designed to counter knockoffs and piracy, with Michael Kors calling Alibaba the “most dangerous and damaging adversary” to the more than 250 brands that are IACC members.

Alibaba is the e-commerce company that made headlines in the jewelry industry earlier this year when Israeli-based journalist Chaim Even-Zohar published several reports about a listing on the website offering lab-grown diamonds with “GIA natural diamond certificates.” It is unclear if the company or companies that posted this listing, which has since been removed, ever had any diamonds to sell or if it was a fraudulent offer from the start.

Alibaba also finds itself in the crosshairs of companies like Tiffany, Gucci and Michael Kors because of counterfeit products having been sold on the various websites operated by the company.  

After admitting Alibaba in April, the IACC issued a statement last week defending the action, noting that the IACC’s board of directors--which included Tiffany--unanimously approved the e-commerce giant’s admission “based on their demonstrated commitment and concrete results (to combat the online sale of counterfeit goods) through the IACC MarketSafe program.”

The IACC statement also noted that it “stands by its collaborative approach and is committed to lean into the future and lead a coalition of the willing. The problem of counterfeiting is too pervasive and complex for any single company or industry to combat on its own.”

Editor’s note: This story was updated shortly following publication on Friday to include Tiffany & Co.’s statement, which was received after deadline.
 

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