Kennedi, I’ve encountered this issue many times. I’m a glass
beadmaker, although I would hardly categorize my work - especially
the large collectible pieces - as “findings”.
Jewelry designers were my bread and butter at one time. It was
always something I was concerned about: the designers would put their
names on the pieces, but what really made their work a "cut above"
was MY one of a kind beads. (That’s why they kept coming back to me!)
I wanted their customers to know who had made the beads, but I had no
way of really enforcing that if I wanted to keep my designer
The way I handled it was to promote the collectibility of my beads.
At the same time I talked to the designers about the issue, and told
them that their jewelry made with my beads was worth more to their
customers if I was given credit as the beadmaker. So most of them
were more than happy to give me credit on the hangtag or sales
receipt when they sold the piece. Everybody was happy.
If you’re using artist-made focal elements in your jewelry, and you
know the name of the person, I suggest you at least give the artist
credit. Even if the artist is not a well known name, it can only help
the sale of your own work because it says that your elements are
handmade and not commercial.
I’m a lawyer by the way, although this is NOT my area of expertise,
so don’t quote me! But I think it’s reasonable to assume that
buttons, beads, clasps and the like are made for the purpose of
putting into other work. And if the bead artist sells the piece
separately, unattached to any jewelry item (even if it’s a big
collectible bead), there’s an implied assumption that the buyer might
incorporate it into another creation. At the point of sale, it
belongs to the buyer to use for its intended purpose of putting it
into something else. However, if a reasonable person would assume
that the item in question was meant to “stand alone” as an artistic
creation, then it’s a different matter entirely.