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Is this jewelry design infringing?


The original question, which was posted 2 days ago, has not yet been answered.

If you believe this thread is useless, then stop responding to it.

What is not useful in this thread are derogatory statements such as this one:

…What was stuck on the disks? plastic half round beads!!!
It shows how stupid some people are. A real crap product unworthy of this forum.

And then you cry:

…you deny those who expressed their opinion the right of reply.
Thats not fair in my opinion.
So what was it that you didnt like?

The original question was “have you made a ring like this and do you have a picture?”. You indicated you have made this type of design and you have a picture, yet you have not shared your photo.

You denigrated the design of this ring which was made by one of our members. Then you said the ring was unworthy of this forum, which frightened one of our newest members into wondering if she is in the right place.


Leanne, that was just one grumpy person. Please hang in here and enjoy community with many helpful, interested jewelers who are well balanced individuals.

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In response to the original infringement posting, this appears to be a variation on the ‘troll’ phenomena, which is usually a shoddy shakedown operation - I’m surprised the attack was not accompanied by a ‘fee for licensing’ schedule. Safely ignore them, or threaten all manner of countersuits for the fun of it; they are bottom feeders, preying on the unwary and unexperienced.

By the time I quit doing juried shows, signage warning of instant death should a patron photograph anything in an artist’s booth had rally proliferated. 2-D artists actually do have a substantial problem here, given the high resolution of current cameras and cell phones. Some 3-D artists, ceramicists and iron workers in particular, have had their ‘ideas’ swiped, and later seen them reproduced in mass quantities by offshore manufactories; a few have secured seizure of inventories and cease and desist orders against the knockoffers, likely at great legal cost.

With fine art/fine craft jewelry, this is not so much of a problem. I made hand fabricated silver pieces for years, worrying a little at the outset that it wouldn’t be too long until the offshore slave labor compounds would begin cranking out look-alikes. It never happened for 2 reasons. First, nearly all imported silver work is cheesy junk. Flimsy - the cost of silver discourages them from making substantial pieces which will wear well. They rely more on the cheap labor to over-ornament. Poorly done - covered with fire stain, solder blobs, glue, etc. Second, they almost always use indigenous stones, poorly cut and unattractive. I found making durable (heavier gauges of silver), well finished, pieces with very attractive cabs put me far ahead of Balinese, Mexican, etc sweatshops.

In short, it your work looks anything like most of the crap sold on etsy, its time for an upgrade in materials, design, and/or workmanship. This will keep you way ahead of the mass importers, and provide entry to a grade of patrons who appreciate the difference between a $100 ring, and a ring which came out of a 72 slot tray all bought wholesale for $100.

I have followed this thread closely. And I have really reached no set opinion. Perhaps it is because I view my work as craft jewelry and not the art jewelry I see from Jim or Ted or many others. Much of what I learned, I learned from Dad but the most I learned from doing on my own. I have volumes of design note books filled with stuff that clearly is not the purpose of the meeting I was sitting through at the office. I have pages of earrings that started out as what I saw on someone’s ear but by the time I was making it it had morphed into something unrecognizable as the inspiration.

My son is now working at his own bench using the books that I tried on for formulae and advice. Tim McCreight’s masterful work. And a gray spiral college shop manual filled with examples and basic techniques. With all this stimulation I think it is impossible not to have some similarity at some point. And the best part of one off jewelry is you can never truly repeat it.

Ill post an unfinished craft piece that is vaguely similar to the original in question. I make these so there is an affordable piece of jewelry at my shows for the young woman on a budget. It’s fun to make and it is substantial. Is it 100% my design? Of course not but it is hallmarked by me and that proves it’s my work. That’s good enough for me.

Don Meixner

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I think It’s scam. Like phone calls saying you owe more taxes. I’m glad to be informed, think it’s vital. BTW Richard- does the claim come from Nigeria?
Cathe Linton

My very first thought when I saw the photo of the ring was that it looked like something done at the beginner’s bench level course. “Come up with a ring design that uses cabochons”. That someone would tell another person it was a copyrighted idea seemed, and still does seem, ludicrous. Were I in the person’s shoes and told that such a basic design was copyrighted - I would have asked for proof and just for kicks and giggles; given them my attorney’s email address or had my attorney write asking for the proof. That being said, I don’t think I ever really understood who was asking the question; who had said it was copyrighted and who was being impacted.

I don’t know the dynamic of what transpired between the person who wrote in the question and the person claiming copyright - but, that this thread went horribly off track seems self evident by her last annoyed response and then members in the group attacking each others’ responses. Don’t do that. It is insulting - we are not a group of consultants being paid for our time. If you want to type 17 paragraphs, go right ahead. If someone else wants to post a single line… also their right. Maybe they just felt someone else summarized their sentiments well enough. Maybe all they had to say was in that one line. One of the things I always liked about this group was how varied the responses were because if I am not open to all honest feedback, the feedback is useless.

As we ALL know, the “infringement” ax is easy to hang over someone’s head. As we ALL know, there is a king of that in our industry whose whole multi-million dollar business is built on an ancient Greek cable/twist design. Deep pockets; in-house attorneys are essential to that strategy. That the person-who-shall-remain nameless was smart enough to copyright an ancient, hence un-original design… kudos.

I have had two instances where my designs were knocked off by people hired to work on them - a CAD/Casting/finishing firm and a hand wax carver. Of course, they don’t see it as ripping me off because they changed it enough. What was a bracelet; became a pendant in one case and a bracelet was widened in another case. In the latter; the firm used my bracelet to show their client and then widened it; kicked it up with diamonds - but the core of the design was exactly the same. So, I wrote it off as lesson learned and that there are no allegiances despite the fact I had paid them for the work. Did they change it enough to not be infringing upon the design? Absolutely. Would they have created those pieces without my initial design? No. Is it produced enough to justify contacting a lawyer? No. And, at best, I would probably have asked for a portion of the sale - but, I am onto other things and again, life lesson.

Obviously, I am not a production house (yet) but at present, I am now exceptionally careful about piecing out components when it involves casting with me putting together the completed pieces The CAD is done in one place; the casting in another and finishing/construction - completely in-house. Additionally, anyone involved in my projects, is now signing a NDA/NCA. I don’t have these concerns with my custom work.

It is also interesting to note that there have been MANY grumblings of production catalogs knocking off work shown on Etsy. They can browse as easily as the next person and put something quickly into mass production that a person is making by hand at home. Such is the nature of the beast and the pitfall of advertising online for the world to see.

As for her (relatively snarky) comment; “there are no originals now” as if to disparage the collective - I shrug at that - I think there are but they are far and few between. I know that sometimes it isn’t about originality but also about the quality of the work - we are both masters and slaves to the public opinion/trends. I am old enough to know everyone has an opinion but not all opinions have value - the same way I know that “original” doesn’t become a blanket to cover unfinished shoddy work.

In summary: If you have a production based business where your identity is tied to a recognizable design element - copyright. If you are a custom designer - don’t copy other people’s designs - period. It is a loser move.

As for the dismissive comment about the value of the group and what it once was - I delete more of the emails than I used to in no small part because I am able to visit the topic to see the complete thread - I just wait until the thread has about 20 responses and scan over the whole thing. (Nice improvement). I find less diversity in the responses so, that disturbs me. I do not like when I hit reply to Seth; change the topic and yet, it still generates with the same original topic subject line. (just an FYI)

Thank you for your time in reading my 17 paragraph response.



“I was talking to the person that wanted to spend time and money on the ring that has three little round disks of silver on the top, going into legal matters .You are correct, I won’t be waisting my time reading Ganoksin in the future.”

  I have been on Orchid over 15 years.

If you were bothered by one post, perhaps, better you find another sandbox to play in.
There are people who get value from Orchid.
Peace and Blessings!

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I write on another website specifically, again for jewellers. Many times I
get a real thrashing of negative replies to a posting that I make. Do I get
pi$$ed off and leave the ‘show’? No way. In this life you just gotta be a
tad thick-skinned. Some folks there hate my guts, so what! In real life
it’s the same thing…get over it!! Turn a page! Life is too short to be
angered or peeved at a posting, or a message…Go for a coffee, take a
mini-holiday for a few days…I do and then return! If you leave, just
think of the fantastic amount of helpful information you’re gonna
miss!..:>) Fond regards!

Gerry Lewy



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Orchid is a resource for people who have knowledge and experience and share that knowledge and experience.
It is interesting that I posted questions relative to a situation a friend was having, and there were replies that were not in relation to what I asked.
My friend in Mexico started teaching women who work in agricultural fields, farm labor, to make glass beads and she evolved to making metal products, jewelry components, and sells them in the U.S.
Something that could affect any one of us,
is the copyright issue.
My friend was threatened with a lawsuit.
I was trying to help her by getting info from anyone who has experience in a realistic way of dealing with a loss of income, which if any of you were threatened with, would become an uncomfortable situation to have to navigate.
This person has employees she supports. Real world.
I am glad this convo went the way it did, it shows me the level of understanding, support, lack of, and how people can go so far off trail with their imagination and ability to judge and criticize, which was not part of the exercise, just voluntary by not paying attention and focusing on what was asked.
Between Orchid and Facebook, there were people who contributed where a path to resolution, which was the point, was found.
Reminds me of the saying “if you want a friend, be a friend”.
Thank you for your personal opinions and stories however irrelevant.


“Thank you for your personal opinions and stories however irrelevant.”

Hahaha…that’s funny! :slight_smile:

I know it’s VERY frustrating to some but personally I enjoy (and sometimes prefer) the tangents that these threads often take. Probably an indication of my somewhat disorganized mind.


Finally, something that might answer your friend’s concerns in a truly substantive way:

I think a key part in that post is that Etsy won’t get involved unless a lawsuit is actually filed. I hope this helps.


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This is a logical ask. Copywriting designs is a tricky one. I myself was going through the process. Anyone who has been a designer has been infringed upon. I would ignore this person, it is a hard case to even get heard. If you do, these types of cases are often thrown out. I concur with some other folks here on this thread, most jewelry has been inspired by the past. The same goes for fashion.

Hope that helps.

Take it with a grain of salt. When I was a newbie lurker I asked the most basic stupid questions. After a few responses, I stopped asking and lurked more! I have found the there are two groups here, artists and business people. I am a business person with not an artsy bone in my body. The wealth of knowledge here is more than you will gain going to a school so be patient and learn from the masters. Do not take anything personal, comments are directed at the jewelry maker in you and not your inner being, YOU. First rule of sales. Keep making, keep selling and keep learning.


@seth-ganoksin-admin, how is this question not appropriate for public discussion and commentary? Maybe I misunderstood your comment but I see this as a very valid topic for all of us here.

Thank you for taking the time to explain the situation.
I hope it works out for your friend.

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Ask to see their patent pending

Just quickly had another look for you, this design is very similar, if not a copy of an ancient design. As it is an ancient design it is definitely in the public domain, so good luck trying to patent the design.

This forum will support you if you require it.

By the way guys 'I’m back".

It’s expected that people will clash on occasion, it due to the fact that everyone is passionate about what they do.

Sometimes tact goes wanting.

@ellenlyonsdesigns I think you misunderstood my comment. The first issue (which I resolved) was that this discussion was a tangent that stemmed from a question about makers marks and what sizes they should be / where they should be located. This is a different topic, about a specific jewelry design and whether or not it is infringing, so I made this a new thread. Discussion in an around that topic is totally fine, I simply divided the threads.

I also offered my own opinion that, because @richard_hart4 was discussing a specific and pending legal matter, that he may not wish to have a public-facing dialogue about the specifics of that situation for legal reasons. However, such is only my opinion and what people choose to discuss is entirely up to them.

My priority is simply keeping threads organized, so the Orchid archive remains as usable as possible. If a thread about X randomly turns into a thread about Y, Z, and Q, then the archives become less searchable and usable for all of you.

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I’ve seen that design, executed at various sizes, and varying results. I can’t see how anyone could claim infringement on that.