Go to ebay. Search on tibet opal and take a look at some items being sold. Look at the starting bid and the shipping country.
Never mind, for the moment, that the seller apparently thinks 'opal' simply means any precious or semi-precious gem. Could be an honest language problem. BUT - 99 cents for a silver/sapphire snuff box?
Are they cheap imitations? Or is some Chinese critter robbing Tibet blind? Either way, if the seller is indeed located in China, they must be doing this with the okay from the Chinese government. Internet access doesn't come easy in the People's Republic - it just ain't allowed.
Here's a pipe. Five bucks.
Teapot. Five bucks. Has a dragon on it so it "will bless you escape from calamity." Didn't work too fucking well for the Tibetans, did it?
Maybe there's a big reserve. Maybe some Tibetan somewhere gets a kickback. Maybe they're cheap imitations and it's the ebay bidder who gets ripped off.
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