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Signature to Identify your work?

Hi there Folks,

I have been thinking about adding some kind of signature or logo to
Identify my jewellery, I make intricate Vintage style Beaded pieces,
each piece is unique or very limited in addition.

They sell from 600- 2000 Euro a go, I am worried that some
opportunist may swan along and copy my designs and sell them at a
cheaper price, which could so easily happen.

Anyway I want to add something to identify my work, I have a few
ideas…some kind of spacer, made of silver or Platinum? But I
don’t want it to ruin the design…Oh what to do?? A
specially designed clasp could be the answer, but I don’t use Clasps
on all my necklaces, I make most free of Clasps to make them fit any
neck size.

I’m not sure what to do? A certificate of Authenticity may do the
trick, but I would really like the signature on the piece of
jewellery. Anyways, I would like to hear your thoughts on the matter,
as I really value your opinion and experience.

Yours very Sincerely
Tina Ashmore
Dublin, Ireland

Hi Tina,

Here in the U.S. it is quite common for jewelers to stamp a copyright
symbol along side their maker’s mark. I have never seen anyone do
this in Ireland or the UK, but I think the message would be the same,
“This is my copyright design and you should not copy it!” If someone
does copy it you still have a lot to do to make them stop, but taking
the first step of serving notice with a copyright symbol will help if
things get legal. It also does serve to discourage at least some
copycats. (I stamp a copyright symbol on my models if I am casting
and also write it on the rubber mold if I send the molds to an
outside caster.) You can buy little tags for putting the marks on

If you go to you will see what I mean.
On this page some of the chains have tags between the clasps and the
chain. sometimes these tags also serve as the loop that you hook the
catch into. Something like this could be made up that would give you
a little space to discretely place your signature and copyright
notice.It would be a very small space to engrave without special
equipment, but there are jobbers that do this kind of thing.

Stephen Walker

I attach a small tag to the piece you can buy sterling and gold
blanks from suppliers and some even will engrave your logo for a

Trish, how about a “difficult to duplicate” logo hang tag in
Sterling or gold? It could be a design incorporating the T and A in
your name, or a picture of some sort. You can then cast the logo,
and hang the tag on ever piece you make - or incorporate it into your
design somehow.


What about having a stamp made of your logo and attaching a little
metal tag with the stamp on it? I believe Microstamp sells
miniature tags in different metals (I know they have sterling) and
they will custom make a stamp for you. You can attach the tag to
the clasp or the back of any neck piece and if you make brooches,
you can stamp the back of the brooch.

Vicki Embrey

Hi Tina,

Since I’ve gotten into the clasp business over the past two years,
I’ve had several requests from artists to design a logoand/or clasp.
Please go to my and contatct me off line if
you’re interested in having me do something for you.

Best regards,
Maude Lorah

Hi Tina,

Knowing the bead technique you use ( or a picture) would make
suggestions easier. Are these sead beads that are woven together or
larger beads strung together? If you are using large glass beads how
about trying to create your signature/logo on them with glass
painting mediums that are baked in the oven? If any of your designs
incorportate beaded cabachons, back them with thin leather and sign
with permanent marker. How about making beads/spacers/ or end caps
out of pmc with your logo on them? Hope this helps.



It would help to be able to see pictures of the pieces. No point
coming up with ideas that wouldn’t work on your designs.


master mark of Seattle made my stamp in my own handwriting, Try them


I suggest you talk to the Assay Office in Dublin, they should be
able to advise. I know that the London Assay Office will laser cut
logos as well as hallmarks, so Dublin may be able to do the same.

Bill Bedford

Hello friends,

Thanks once again for your help, check out some of my work and tell
me what you think…as you will see they are very detailed
pieces, but I guess a small blank engraved with the copywrite symbol
and my name on it may do the job.

It would have to be placed in a discrete place though.

Hey! would I be breaking any laws by adding a copywrite symbol when
my designs are not officially copywriten???

“Very much looking forward to your feedback”


Now, see, Maude Lorah’s post with her web site
( is a lovely example of the benefit of
people “advertising” on this forum. The clasps on this site are
beautifully designed and cleverly practical, unlike any I have seen
before. How would we ever come across these things just by chance?

Thanks, Maude,


    Hey! would I be breaking any laws by adding a cocopywriteymbol
when my designs are not officially cocopywriten? 

In the US you own the copyright of a work or design just because you
are the author. If you register the copyright with the government by
filling out the paperwork and depositing a copy or photo with the
copyright office at the Library of Congress, you only make it easier
to prove your copyright than if you just mark it copyright. You
actually can claim copyright without even signing the work, but it
becomes difficult to prove and impossible to collect damages if you
ever try to enforce it. I think that most countries are pretty much
in agreement about intellectual property, but there could be some
differences in Europe that I am unaware of.

I once had a copyright infringement suit for a piece that I had
marked copyright, but had not registered. My lawyer told me that the
first thing I should do was to register it with the copyright office,
even though the design was already 10 years old. I only contacted the
lawyer after a “cease and desist” letter that I wrote myself was
rejected by the copycat. I was assured by the lawyer that marking
everything “copyright” with my name, including illustrations, catalogs
and websites was the correct and prudent thing to do even if I did
not register the designs. The lawyer wrote a much more convincing
letter demanding the destruction of all molds, didestructionf copies
of the design, removal of images from catalogs and websites including
those of resellers. She filed a complaint in federal court and the
copycat very quickly gave in.

Some types of designs are easier to defend than others, but that
should not prevent you from marking your work copyright. These things
rarely go all the way to court. Usually it is a matter of squaring
off with cease and desist letters and the suggestion of expensive
legal action that makes each party take a reckoning of how much it is
worth to them. My little adventure cost quite a lot, but I learned a
lot from it.

BTW, the copycat of my design cast his own copyright notice on the

Stephen Walker

    Hey! would I be breaking any laws by adding a copywrite symbol
when my designs are not officially copywriten 

“When it’s created, it’s copyrighted” And, take a moment to send in
pictures and get the “official” copyright, it’s easy and cheap. You
can even do “the collected works of Tina…” for just one fee.
Much, much, much has been written on this subject on this list,
please check the archives.

Also, Tim McCreight’s The Complete Metalsmith, Pro Version, has a
brief, but concise and helpful page on copyright.


Elaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay

    Thanks once again for your help, check out some of my work and
tell me what you think 

Gorgeous, whatever they are?

    Hey! would I be breaking any laws by adding a copywrite symbol
when my designs are not officially copywriten??? 

DON’T DO IT!! The Org that owns the copywrite symbol will woast you
awive then eat you for wunch!

But you OFFICIALLY OWN the copyright in the works already and the
law explicitly allows you to mark them with the c-in-a-circle
copyright symbol without getting anyone’s permission and without
registering your copyright ( But just the
copyright symbol is not enough, you must provide a full notice which
in the case of jewelry typically includes the copyright symbol and a
mark or name by which you can be recognized (and found).

James E. White
Inventor, Marketer, and Author of “Will It Sell? How to Determine If
Your Invention Is Profitably Marketable (Before Wasting Money on a
Patent)” Info Sites:,

Dia Duit Tina,

I’ve looked at your designs and thought about it for a while. If
you added a special signature bead, clasp, or spacer, then previous
customers might be a little put off that their items didn’t have it.
I’m assuming that many of your customers are repeat customers or
have been referred by other customers. So I think perhaps a
not-so-obvious route might be something to think about.

If you had a custom charm done up with a design on the front and your
initials or hallmark/trademark on the back and put it on both sides,
perhaps customers would not be so likely to ask you to “add” it to a
previous design as say a single special bead or clasp (which you said
you don=92t always use anyway). If they did, you could add it easily
via a jump ring or thread and French wire. It would look deliberate,
and it would not be as easy to copy as say a regular makers tag.

Oh, and just in case you want more info on protecting your work from
copycats, I did find this site for you.


Tina McDonald

I was told that if you send a photograph of the work to yourself,
and do not open the envelope, that this is as good as
copyrighting…(the postage date is on the envelope.)

I do not know if this is true, maybe one of you could shed some
light on this method.

as far as a signature for my work…I spent the money on a
stamp…which I not only did not like, but usually marred my metal on
the opposite side of the stamp. I have now resorted to signing my
name very very tiny with a small (itty bitty teeny tiny) hart bur
and have been very pleased with the results.

-julia potts
julia potts studios

Dia is Muire duit, Tina agus Tina,

Tina McDonald makes excellent points. The only thing I would add is
that to be totally on-the-ball with a copyright notice it should
include the date (year). Your customers may also like the idea of
dated work. Making new dated signature tag/charms every year may be
expensive and troublesome if you are outsorching them. You could
establish date by the assay marks if you make the pieces of silver or
gold and have them hallmarked at the Assay Office. The upfront cost
would be greater because you would need to pay the fee for assay
registration and have a punch made with your maker’s mark, but after
that you could just send the pieces to Assay as you need them.

Stephen Walker

    I was told that if you send a photograph of the work to
yourself, and do not open the envelope, that this is as good as
copyrighting....(the postage date is on the envelope.) 

Apparently, this is not true. Though it does have good memes, which
must be why it persists. Here is the official word from the US
Government, via

  Visual Art Works 

  Follow these steps to register your pictorial, graphic,
  sculptural, or architectural  work: 

  Step 1 

  Make sure  your work is a visual arts work. Visual arts are
  pictorial, graphic, or  sculptural works, including
  2-dimensional and 3-dimensional works of fine,  graphic, and
  applied art. Here are examples of  visual arts. "Useful
  articles" may  have both copyrightable and noncopyrightable
  features (read details). Some architectural works also qualify
  as visual arts works.  (read details). 

  Step 2 

  Put into one envelope or package: 

  	*	 a completed application Form VA 
  	*	 a $30 payment to "Register of Copyrights." 
  	*	 nonreturnable copy(ies) of the material to be registered.
             Read details on deposit requirements. 

  Step 3 

  Send the package to: 

  	Library of Congress
  	Copyright Office
  	101 Independence Avenue, S.E.
  	Washington, D.C. 20559-6000

  They also have an extremely helpful FAQ and "Copyright
  Basics," including all of the questions that have come up
  here.  I urge you to read it. 

Elaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay

I’m always amused by this subject as it comes up repeatedly on
Orchid, but in my humble opinion, in the last 30 years I could count
on one hand (maybe part of a second) the number of new designs I
have seen created that are truly “unique” and “new” By this I mean
something that has never, in the history of jewelry making dating
back 4-5000 years, actually been done before and deserving of true
copyright protection. Actually I have noted that it seems that the
people who spend the most time and money protecting their copyright
(the best example is David Yurman) actually have copyrighted designs
they really did not create (Yurman’s are based almost exclusively on
Celtic jewelry made 1000 years ago).

But here’s the real problem as I see it. How much time are you
going to spend attempting to protect something that may be unique
(but that may have been done by someone else but you just haven’t
seen it yet)? How much money are you going to make from a
particular line or look and is it worth your time to go out and deal
with lawyers and lawsuits and everything else involved. I mean
aren’t we all jewelers??? Do you want to spend your time making
jewelry or fighting other jewelers? Time is something you can never
get back (the older I get the more I realize this). If you take all
of your efforts defending your product and devote it to continually
turning out new ideas on the bench you don’t have to worry about
whether someone else is copying your work because you’ll already be
one step ahead of them.

In my book the same thing applies to all of the peripheral elements
of running a business. YOU don’t need to know how to fill in a tax
return. Let an accountant do that. In the time required for you to
research and fill out the darn thing you could have made enough new
pieces to pay the accountant and a bookkeeper. You don’t need to
spend days trying to take the perfect picture for your ad because
there are photographers out there who can do that while you spend
your time making beautiful new things. Do what you do best (for
most of you that’s making jewelry and being idea people)! Let
someone else deal with the rest of it.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
1780 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140