In answer to your question, Robert, yes and no.
I think the majority of us get bits of inspiration from other pieces
that we see. Maybe its a new way to set a stone or a surface pattern
or an overall shape. If you take a concept that you've seen and then
take it to a new level, adding your own creative influence, I think
that's okay. Don't simply copy another designer's work. I recently
attended an arts fair where someone was selling knockoffs of designer
jewelry. I informed the woman at the booth that doing so was a good
way to get sued, especially since she was selling some imitation
David Yurman pieces. The most disappointing thing is that this person
may have had some skills, but they were letting foolish greed
overshadow their creative potential.
My suggestion is to take your concept and expand upon it. Don't copy
the other design that you saw. Maybe the "feather" is created from a
collection of Inuit totems, rather than a feather with other images
on top of it. Or change the shape or size of the feather. Maybe its
several feathers linked together in a unique way. Take the original
rough concept and create something that no one has ever seen before.
I hope that helps! JoAnna Kelleher Director of Operations/Designer
Pearl Exotics Trading Company 4397 W. Bethany Home Rd., #1281
Glendale, AZ 85301 Phone: (623) 845-0998 Fax: (623) 845-0917