Posts Tagged jewelry
With so many options to choose from, it can sometimes feel like it’s impossible to find the perfect wedding band. If you don’t know the wedding band basics, comparison shopping can be a nightmare. But why take on so much stress?
With just a little bit of background information, comparing which features will work best for your custom wedding band will be a breeze. In a new article posted on LEONMEGE.COM, you’ll find everything you need to know about wedding bands. From metal choices, finishes, engravings, to different wedding band styles, you’ll be completely covered.
Your wedding band is meant to represent your eternal love, all the more reason to be confident in your style choices! Be sure to find everything you need to know about wedding bands here.
I recently received an email from an astute and highly moral man seeking to recreate a ring design he’s seen. I was so inspired by the email that I’ve decided to share it with you all as well as to post my response:
May I ask you a question based on the blog post you wrote on “Fraud or Inspiration? — Ethical Practices in Jewelry Design”?
Could you help me on a specific example? I am thinking about getting custom work done by a jeweler in my area. However, the custom design I would like to have done is based on an original design done by another jeweler. I have done my own sketch and have changed the design slightly to better fit what I believe my girlfriend would like. Do you think it would be ethical for this local jeweler to do my custom work? Can I let them have a picture of the original design so that they can see what I’m basing mine off of? The picture would be able to help them in ways that my low-level drawing cannot.”
I don’t believe you should have any reasons to be concerned about infringing on another artists’ work. However, you should still be careful not to overstep the boundary between inspiration and art plagiarism.
Historically artists were copying works of old masters in order to learn from them. It was always completely acceptable as long as these pieces were not offered for sale or misrepresented as being originals. Anyone can create a different version of any design as long as:
- it is a singular end product
- it is an entirely manual process of recreation with the minimum use of technology
- the original design is given proper credit and necessary acknowledgements
- no registered copyrights or patents are infringed
Your first course of action should be to contact the manufacturer of the original piece and ask for a custom version. It is important to give them this opportunity. If the original manufacturer will not be able or willing to create a custom version, the next logical step is to go to an independent jeweler. It is important for the jeweler to be a reputable and creative person. You want to ensure that he/she has a history of artistic expression and created their own original designs in the past. A bench repairman who specializes in exact replicas is not acceptable.
It’s ok to provide the jeweler with an image of the ring. However, it must be explicitly stated that no molds of the finished piece will be taken.
After the piece is completed, you might want to send the original manufacturer an image of the finished piece and express gratitude for the design used for inspiration.
In summary, it’s ethical to create a single piece of jewelry entirely by hand (without the use of CAD/CAM or taking a physical mold of the sample piece), which is based on the image of a particular design. When it is done through a meticulous manual process of recreation, re-designing, and re-inventing, the end result is no less ethical then the movie The Birdcage being based on La Cage Aux Folles or The Man with One Red Shoe following in the footsteps of Le Grand Blond avec une Chassure Noire.
To the reader:
There are a few possible variations of the above scenario in which replication would NOT be considered art plagiarism:
1) The customer possesses the piece on his person as the rightful owner and wishes to replicate it. It must be reiterated that this is acceptable provided that the piece will be done by hand and no mold will be taken.
2) The customer is unaware that a comparable design exists. He/she makes a drawing of the piece. One fine day, walking through a shopping mall, the customer sees this piece created by another company. It is discovered that the jeweler matched this customer’s sketch to some other mold he/she had already owned.
3) If the customer has a pair of earrings and one is lost, it is alright to create an exact replica of the other one. This is due to the fact that it would be comparable to a simple repair. Two earrings are in actuality one item. One earring is an element of the other. Just as if an element of a ring or pendant is missing or broken it is alright to replace it, so is it the case with earrings if one is missing.
In case you were wondering, John notified us that he did contact the original designer and they gave him permission to recreate their design.
*****UPDATE***** The Diamond District took our advice! A little over a month after we wrote this post, we saw an MSNBC article about plans to renovate the Diamond District. Links to the article and the official report by NYC authorities is at the end of the post.
Diamond District Today
New York City’s Diamond District is currently a hub for a $24 billion per year industry. It’s embarrassing to walk every morning and see this famous street that looks akin to a landlord dressed like a super.
A huge chunk of the country’s wealth is gathered here. Yet, no one would know this. Walking down 47th Street, one is encountered with massive trucks, hawkers, scattered flyers, and cracked pavements. The sidewalks are so slanted that one would have to wear hiking boots to stay upright. National upscale brand retailers do not dare to show their faces here.
Even though most stores and exchanges on 47th Street proclaim to be selling to the trade only they are in fact retailers. However shopping here has the allure of visiting a Motor Vehicle Bureau in Kazakhstan.
We have to change this.
The Glory Days
The “glory days” of 47th Street were in the 80’s. In those days celebrities, politicians, famous athletes, and socialites visited the Diamond District on a regular basis. On any given day one could see a dozen or so stretched limousines waiting for their owners. Along with Times Square and Wall Street, the Diamond District was considered to be among the most prestigious streets in New York City.
Unfortunately forces of economy and the flight of the manufacturing sector to Asia put a choke hold on many businesses on 47th Street. Many businesses were shut down. This has lead to less funds being available for street maintenance. The Diamond District fell into a permanent state of chaos and disrepair.
A simple plan was conceived by Leon Mege while observing a police officer guarding a dying mouse in the middle of the street. The plan will double the sales and rake in tax revenue that could be useful to maintain our congressmen’s fitness, so pictures they tweet will look good.
The best solution would be to close the street to motor traffic. This will be impossible to achieve given regulatory restrictions and politics involved.
Instead, I propose to convert the street from a three lane to two lane traffic. It could be achieved by alternating days the delivery trucks could park on either side.
This will allow us to extend the sidewalks and renovate the pavement. An increase in foot traffic and comfortable browsing will make more people stop, look at the store windows, enter and buy jewelry.
A new diamond tower is being built on 47th Street, which will revitalize the Diamond District. Therefore, we already have some of the groundwork laid out for us. With this additional improvement, New York City could transform this section of Midtown into a retail powerhouse. Nationally recognized jewelry retailers will find it necessary to open outlets on the street. This in turn will make traditional 47th street vendors eager to stay. This street will become one of the greatest tourist attractions not only in New York City, but in the United States. Tourism equals money.
- Room for information kiosks.
- Plants to make the street lively – diamonds will look better reflecting green foliage rather than yellowish-grey collars of unemployed setters.
- A few benches for those exhausted from deciding between SI1 and SI2 diamonds.
- A few kiosks for water so people will stay on the street and continue shopping.
- Public restrooms.
- Improved security – check points for cars will make any potential getaway impossible.
- Drivers will try to avoid the street, pedestrians will feel safer to cross the street, so both sides are accessible in one stroll
- The area of a several blocks radius from 47th Street will be revitalized, not just one street
- Jumbo screens could be installed at both ends of the street to visually separate the Diamond District from the hectic dynamics of Midtown and bring revenues from advertisement to the district management.
- Only trucks for pick-up and deliveries will be allowed from 9 am to 6 pm. This will ease traffic.
- Sidewalks can be inlaid with a New York City version of the “Hollywood walk of fame” – diamond symbols adorned with names of famous jewelers.
- With increased revenue, buildings will be forced to renovate the dilapidated store fronts into attractive glass and granite edifices.
People will travel to New York just to see the New Diamond District. Retail sales will soar. Increased tax revenues will create a surplus, the likes of which the city has never seen before. So much money will be generated that the city will run out of options to spend them all. Special crews will be dispatched to dig potholes just so another crew will have something to fill. Fruit vendors will wear cashmere uniforms and hot dog sellers will have their carts gold plated. Cops will be patrolling the streets in the cruisers with headlights set with round brilliant diamonds.
A new conference center will have to be constructed in one of the newer skyscrapers just so jewelry competitions and other jewelry-related programming could be broadcast. Of course new 24-hour TV and YouTube news channel, Diamond News, will need to inform everyone of the breaking diamond news (no pun intended). The city will have to extend the monorail from JFK directly to the futuristic Diamond Center transportation hub to be built right underneath the street. This multimode terminal will no doubt be able to receive cabs, trains, helicopters and even small cruise boats. Eventual direct arrivals of bullet trains from Europe and Japan cannot be ruled out. In the distant future spaceships filled with cut and sorted diamonds will travel to galaxies far-far away spreading the word about 4c’s and bestowing benefits of annual checkups and free cleaning on savage aliens.
The only thing we need to make it all come true is to get rid of one lane on one street. Get me the mayor who would implement this change! I’ll even endure seeing his or her underwear in my Twitter feed.
Go to these links (Thankfully they listened!)
Although this blog post doesn’t have much to do with jewelry, it is certainly one we believe you ladies will enjoy, as it deals with your next passion: men (of course jewelry comes first).
So, how do you determine if your man is predisposed in character to cheating?
Step 1: Evaluate if your guy is a nerd. If not, proceed to Step 2a.
Step 2: Take him to Staples with an item purchased in Office Max.
Step 2a: Take him to Home Depot with an item purchased in Lowes.
Step 4: Have him attempt to return that item to the wrong store.
Step 5: Pay attention carefully as the cashier scans his item and realizes it was purchased at a competing chain store. Watch his face intently. Does he look away? Does he look ashamed? Does he show signs of any remorse?
If not, if he stares the cashier straight in the eyes without flinching and smiles, sorry ladies, that man has an elevated potential to cheat.
*Feel free to improvise with any two competing chain stores. Most of them carry the same or similar stock so it’s difficult to tell which one it was purchased at.
*Disclaimer: Leon Megé is not responsible for any conclusions you might draw when conducting this experiment, any broken plates, or any other incurred damages.
Leon Megé is soon joining Hollywood. Having now mastered ultimate heights of jewelry craftsmanship and design, Leon Megé decided to take his career to a new level and enter show business. Check out our latest feature movie release:
What? You never thought of proposing with a lone diamond or other gemstone? You didn’t think of letting her choose the setting? Well, here’s why you should:
1) The element of surprise is a myth. Women are very intuitive, so chances are she already suspects you’ll be proposing soon.
2) You will never know with absolute certainty that she’ll like the same style/setting that you do.
3) To not do so would rob her of the thrilling experience of choosing her own setting, of the process of employing her imagination, of the satisfaction that she received the exact ring she’s dreamed about since she was six years old.
4) It is next to impossible to measure her finger size with complete accuracy without her knowledge.
5) Women usually know more about jewelry than men.
6) If she’s disappointed with the size of the stone, you can always say “It’ll look bigger once it’s set” (it always does).
7) You shift the responsibility of a mistaken design onto her and your future mother-in-law. Thereby, you will spare yourself many sleepless nights.
8) She will appreciate the creativity and innovation on your part (don’t worry we won’t take credit for the idea). Besides, it will be a great engagement story which she’ll be sure to rave to everyone she knows about!
9) You don’t have to wait 1-2 months to propose until your custom made ring is ready (or until you sift through countless designs of stocked rings, with the hope –not certainty- that she’ll like it.)
10) She can easily appraise the stone instantly (as we’re sure your future in-laws will insist on).
There are so many advantages to proposing with a loose stone! We’d like to share a few true stories about how customers solved their engagement ring headaches with this method of proposal:
Case 1: Customer X [name deleted for protection] purchased an antique cushion cut diamond from our Diamond Concierge®. Sealed in an exquisite box, the stone was suspended between two invisible layers of film. He proposed. She said, “Yes!” (which we guarantee she will when you get your ring designed by Leon Megé. *See fine print).
When they came in to see us the next week to choose the setting, he was in complete shock that his fiancé chose to go with a halo ring over the non-halo. It turns out that when they were looking at rings in the week prior, she passed on all the halos she saw because they looked like cocktail rings, rather than elegant engagement ring designs.
Case 2: Customer Y [name deleted for protection] spent months in despair searching for a ring for his one and only. He’s been to so many jewelry companies that he didn’t see the forest behind the tree. He didn’t realize that any stone looks only as good as the piece of jewelry which holds it. Eventually, he found our company. Alas, he didn’t have any more time to wait for the custom setting to be completed. Reluctantly, he proposed with a loose stone. He was worried that his Chinese ancestry wouldn’t approve of such boldness. After a conversation with our diamond specialist, Mr. Perry Chen (who is also a specialist in Chinese customs and traditions), he was assured that such an action would be acceptable.
When Customer Y, his fiancé, and her mom came in to choose a setting, his fiancé was beaming with happiness. She was ecstatic that she had the opportunity to choose her own ring. As per her mother’s suggestion, she chose a classic three-stone design. Her mother also assured us that it was a perfectly acceptable custom to get engaged with a loose stone.
*Fine print: She must stand on one leg with her left hand to her nose, right leg on her head in order for the guarantee to be valid. Otherwise, we are not responsible.
Do ethics exist in the jewelry industry? Sure jewelers can use conflict free diamonds, clean gold, and employ workers of legal age, claiming that now they’re flawless diamond clean and devoted to ethical practices. However, what about fraudulent practices including art plagiarism and design infringement? The most accurate term for this wrongful appropriation in the jewelry industry is inspired by…
The difficulty arises from the fact that most engagement rings are based on three traditional styles: halo, non-halo, three-stone. Everything else is an evolution of one of these styles. Just like cell phones are an evolution of the rotary phone. Designing in bridal jewelry rarely means creation. More often it’s modification. Therefore, for a jewelry producer to claim that they created some completely radical new design means they had too many trips to Starbucks. It would be the same thing as saying one turned a phone into a lamp.
When a jeweler makes a one-of-a-kind ring, he/she uses artistic license to build on any existing design. However, the fact remains that some designs are still distinguished enough to be known to belong to a specific jewelry producer. What separates an ethical jeweler from a bottom-feeder is that he/she can recognize this fact.
By all means, they can use an existing design, but one should make it distinguished enough to be different from the original and hopefully improved. For example, an iPhone is still a phone (just like a ring can belong in one of the three basic categories). However, since the technology is completely different from a Motorola phone it is refining the cell phone and making a new distinct creation. Contrastingly, changing the color of the buttons on a Motorola, and calling it a Motorolski doesn’t mean one created a new design but rather copied an existing one. Likewise, making a minor change to a ring doesn’t mean one created a new design. Art plagiarism is plagiarism no matter how you look at it.
Saying one’s design is “inspired by [name deleted]” doesn’t necessarily mean that the jewelry producer is any less guilty of fraud. Inspiration means being influenced by someone/thing to produce a creation of one’s own. It DOES NOT mean taking someone’s creation and changing the color.
Copying is on such as rampage in the jewelry industry, it has almost reached the status of the proverbial tailor copy.*
The 3 most common ways to copy a piece of jewelry are:
1) Casting blindly from a mold: completely unacceptable (especially if it’s a prominent designer’s product). Over the years we have been repeatedly asked and repeatedly refused to copy well known designs such as: Tiffany Legacy, Uternity, Cartier 1895. This would be a vile action. A student would get expelled from college for this practice; professionals should get jail time.
2) CAD imaging: how majority of copies are produced do and it is very unfortunate that we can’t exile them from the jewelry industry for this. With this method, the original semblance is there but not the quality.
3) Copying by hand: when a jeweler produces a handmade piece only once as a reproduction. This considered to be an ethical practice by industry leaders so long as there is no mold created. This would be akin to Andy Warhol creating his 32 Campbell Soup piece, or Weiwei creating the Coca Cola vase. It’s considered a work of art and not an infringement on the Campbell Soup or Coca Cola name.
I personally do not subscribe the last method even though it is considered ethical. It’s my policy to reinterpret a design instead and make it distinct enough to be called new. I can see how a handmade replica would become a work of art on its own, but I consign myself to stricter standards appropriate for designers of my rank.
What you need to ask when choosing an ethically produced design
What does “inspired by” really mean?
Is there any difference from the original? (If there is none, it’s not an inspiration; it’s a copy.)
If there is a difference, is it made for the sake of change? A gimmick to distinguish itself? Or… is it an improvement –rethinking and refining the original?
Based on the answers you get to these questions, you can decide whether you want to wear a fake, an original, or a truly inspired piece of jewelry.
*Proverbial tailor copy
A man asks a tailor to make a copy of a suit. He comes to pick it up and notices a cigarette burn on his new suit. Shocked, he asks the tailor why it’s burned. The tailor replies, “there was a burn on the original.”
China: an affluent and rapidly developing influence in our world will have an impact on just about every industry. Jewelry is no exception. Currently, China’s buying rate of diamonds and gems is growing exponentially; as Asia is growing richer, she is going on a shopping spree.
What does this mean for you? Well, although the US is still a major market for jewelry, the center is shifting toward Asia. This means that with the increasing affluence of Asians, the diamond/jewelry market is getting hot and demand is increasing. However, the supply remains static. Therefore, the price will be increasing for quality gemstones. These will be natural unenhanced quality larger stones such as sapphires, rubies, and emeralds. They will become so scarce that in certain price groups these stones will be simply unavailable.
Diamond prices will certainly also increase due to the high demand from Asia. After all, 1 billion people in China are certainly an elephant on the market that cannot be ignored.
So, dear readers, get the stones while supplies last and you can still afford them.