Did you know that as soon as you create a design, take a photograph, or make an original piece of jewelry, you automatically own the copyrights to your creative work?

Every jewelry designer has rights. Rights to reproduce the design. Rights to claim the rights of similar designs. Rights to distribute copies of the design or instructions. Rights to sell copies of the design or instructions. Rights to transfer the ownership of the design or instructions. And rights to display the design or instructions publicly.

Which means, if you are creating jewelry in a similar design, with similar beads, as the person you are artistically inspired by, you are essentially infringing on their copyrights. Even if the piece of jewelry that you are creating isn't "exactly" the same, but the color combination is similar and the overall design sense is the same, that is still copying. I've done it before. Sometimes it happens and I don't realize it. I'm sure sometimes it happens to you and you don't realize it. But sometimes the person that is being copied, does realize it and it really does hurt feelings, and seriously does fall into the copyrights jurisdiction.

It's okay to be inspired by a designer. I am constantly inspired by many many designers out there. But I have worked my tail off trying to create a line of jewelry that I can call my own, that screams my name, that can be identified in a crowd. Almost 3 years, I have worked at my designs, to make them my own. A lot of techniques I use in my work, are
not innovative. But mixing these techniques with the use of certain beads, and color combinations does create a unique piece of jewelry that I can call my own.

One other point I'd like to make, just because you claim that you are inspired by another designers' work, doesn't make it okay to create a similar piece and sell that piece of jewelry on the internet or anywhere.

Thank you for reading this.


  1. Great reminder for everyone. You sure do have your own unique style that is recognizably yours (like when I saw the cover of the new book, I knew it was yours).

  2. Thank you for this post Lorelei!

  3. Good thoughts, Lorelei. As you know, the Art Bead Scene blog recently had a series of posts on this subject with links to information and answers to frequently asked questions! Thanks for continuing to remind us about the delicate concerns around copying the work that someone else has created, it's something we should discuss more often.

  4. And you really do make pieces that are clearly "Lorelei". Whenever I see one of you pieces in a magazine, I know it's yours before I read the byline! That's amazing:)

    I don't know what inspired this post (though I can guess, of course), but I hope it works out.

  5. Very nicely put, Lorelei. And yes, your pieces are distinctly yours and immediately recognizable. That's part of what makes you a great designer. I actually was thinking about this last night when I was designing a necklace for my mother-in-law. I started putting it together and it looked distinctly "Lorelei" to me. I realized that I had been looking at your designs a ton, and it was really influencing how I moved ahead even though I hadn't consciously been trying to make anything like your designs. While I guess that might have been okay, since I wasn't selling the necklace, I felt uncomfortable and totally reworked the design. Now, it's a "Kristin," and I'm so glad. :-)

  6. It's really hard to reinvent pieces all over as fashion and jewelry seems to be evolving but really stays the same. The key is to imprint with your very own style...which you do so well!

  7. It's about time you said this! :)

  8. Anonymous5/13/2009

    great post!

  9. excellent post Lorelei!!!

    why people have to limit their imagination and creativity (purposefully) is something I will never understand.

    it is one thing to be "inspired", it is another thing to "replicate".

    Hope you are feeling better.

  10. It's been going on since the beginning of time. But it doesn't hurt to say "hands off" every once in a while. I find for myself that when I'm working in "my zone," things move effortlessly -- well worth the time and trouble it takes to create a repertoire of your own.

  11. I recently posted about this same issue on my blog, and you've helped clear up some confusion I was having about the subject.

    Off to post an update.

  12. Yes, kind of difficult to avoid being derivative after about 8,000 years of human artistic expression. There is pretty much nothing new under the sun (thank God the ancient Sumerians are no longer around to sue us because they did some great stuff). Only so many colors in the color wheel and combinations thereof, only so many gemstones and substances in the world to hang around your neck. No one can "own" a color palette, there aren't enough to go around. And yet, still, Lorelei's pieces are utterly unique, at least to this half-millenium. Takes a lot of talent and flexible thinking to do that.

  13. Lorelei, your work is uniquely you. Cheeky me even went into your earliest sold items and even way back when you were uniquely you! But I do think it is a good idea for all of us to think about what we do and how we do it, from time to time. Great design like yours is easy to be influenced by but that is where finding your own voice comes in.

  14. Great post Lorelei! Thanks for giving voice to it.
    That is something that all designers struggle with...especially the unintentional replicas that we have all made... I can relate to the holding it close mentality and also the letting it fly free for my own designs. I want people to be inspired by my work to create their own, not to knock off a copy and call it theirs! You have a great point of view that you show in your work. I would be oh so thrilled to own one of yours (if I could get to Etsy quicker!) but I would never dream of trying to repeat it. That is not creative nor inspiring. I have been following these threads about copyrights and it is all very interesting and I really appreciate the time it took to channel those thoughts. Here are your Words Of Wisdom for today...
    "And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." ~ Anais Nin
    Thanks for sharing!
    Enjoy the day!

  15. Thank you for posting this cause you do wonder where does it cross the line? I have read a great deal of stuff about copyrighted material but this makes a lot more sense.

    Funky Monkey Girls,

  16. you said it so beautifully...thanks for posting on such an important topic...
    your work is truly your own, is obvious you work hard at making each piece you create scream your name...

  17. I would like to thank you for how profesionally you handled this. I have read blogs in the past where the designer has shown the person's work, and given their name in an effort to humilate them. I do not believe that that is professional behavior and showing mercy in that manner will come back to you in the end. Keep up the good work.

  18. So eloquently expressed! Thank you

    BTW, congrats on the book cover. Stunning!!

  19. RIGHT ON!
    I am inspired by other too but recently got steamed when an etsy seller cut and pasted my item descriptions into her listings and essentially copied my designs. UGH! I never thought it would get me so mad.

  20. Anonymous6/16/2009

    excellent post and very well put.
    thank you sweetness


Post a Comment

I'm sorry to have to turn on the word verification here, but I got fed up with spammers comments!

Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.