The world is old and the things in it are not new, either. Let's talk about plagiarism in jewelry?
Inspired by some recent posts and discussions with my jewelry friends.
What is plagiarism
Plagiarism is the practice of taking someone else's work or ideas and passing them off as one's own.
Plagiarism in jewelry may take vario s forms: models, ideas, materials, promotion tricks, packaging etc.
Any designer from time to time comes across it in different forms. It may be loosing breath in front of your colleague's table at an artisan market presenting exactly same pieces as you used to show him as your own prototypes. It may be surfing Pinterest, stopping at some photo, trying to remember how your piece could get in that setting and then seeing another signature on it.
It may be also the reverse. Any artist knows the challenge of searching for inspirations and finding a piece that makes you regret it's not you who made it. And being so in love with it, you try to figure out how to take the idea without stealing...Sometimes you succeed, sometimes you don't.
There is also another side. A strange thing, but even searching for originality and uniqueness, many people still choose the same things. How many times have designers heard from their clients: "Oh yaaa, these pieces are really original and awesome!! Do you still have those tiny round silver studs?"
There are also such things as trends, common taste...Don't forget about good ideas coming to different bright minds around the planet at the same time. There are so many things around that make it really hard to be unique and to sustain your living with that.
Plagiarism in jewelry industry
As in any industry, plagiarism goes all the way through the industry.
It touches any levels:
- Damien Hirst is sued over his jewelry line.
- Big companies as Claire's, Pandora, Tiffany are accused of stealing ideas from independent designers. In their turn, they are fighting copies (like Costco getting sued by Tiffany) and fakes.
Being a jewelry-obsessed person I surf and see a lot of jewelry. And you know what? Many independent designers who complain about being copyied are also not the only ones using this or that technique or design. Which does not reduce their uniqueness, by the way!
Plagiarism and uniqueness
I don't want to give the overused examples of how and what great artists and big companies are copying. My position is that there is nothing new on this planet. Also, sometimes it not worth the game to invent the bicycle.
The only thing which can be new and add value - it is you. When you take an idea - add your energy, your interpretation, your power to put it out to people. Bring it into light, change, transform, intersect with other ideas and disciplines. Make an old idea new!
We associate Elon Musk with Tesla. Do you know that it was not he who founded it? He joined it later and made it great. Same thing, we all know Xerox. It was not the inventor of the technology who turned it into a global corporation.
I am not here to inspire you to "borrow" the ideas of others, I am here to show a wider horison.
If you are inspired by something - take it and change it! Don't copy! It is simply boring! If you see your ideas taken - don't get sad, it means, your ideas are good. Keep going on and changing, creating new things. No "borrower" of ideas can compete with a person who made a long way, grew those ideas with own hands, made them famous and got a looong experience curve (saying it with the business language).
Honestly, to sum up, I don't know the answer. This is just my opinion, it will be great if you share yours with all of us!