Jewelry Knock-Offs

I’m a pretty enthusiastic fashion watcher. I enjoy admiring the high fashion lines and noticing how the ideas/concepts trickle down into everyday wear. One thing I have noticed, however, is that sometimes it’s less of a trickle-down and more of a blatant rip-off. Why? Because under existing U.S. copyright law, fashion and accessories just aren’t that well protected.

I decided to compare some similar high-end and low-end jewelry to see just how blatant the copying can be:

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Left: Shourouk ($850). Right: Hautelook (about $80).

So this isn’t too blatant. The piece on the right is more inspired by the piece on the left than it is copying it. I’ve been seeing a lot of jewelry featuring rhinestones and brightly colored opaque jewels. It’s a fun trend.

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Left: JCrew ($150). Right: Ebay or literally anywhere on the internet ($5-20).

Everyone and their mother was wearing this necklace in the summer of 2012. As you can see, an exact replica can be found pretty much anywhere in any color you can possibly imagine.

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Left: Ryan Storer ($630). Right: Baublebar ($32).

So ear cuffs are pretty big these days…I wouldn’t call this a rip-off so much as an inspiration.

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Left: Elizabeth Cole ($342). Right: Melody Eshani ($122).

It’s not really clear who copied who from cursory googling, but clearly someone was copied. Relatedly, Elizabeth Cole seems to get copied quite frequently. You can find a (much less attractive) version of its fishbone earrings on Amazon. Forever 21 has also copied Elizabeth Cole more than once, doing an exact replica of its mohawk earrings and its chain earrings in black.

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Left: Percossi Papi (about 950 €). Right: Hautelook ($15).

This is so blatant that there’s really nothing to say about it….other than of course I own those knock-offs because I adore Percossi Papi but don’t have a spare thousand dollars lying around.

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Left: Lizzie Fortunato ($189). Right: Hautelook (about $20) and Baublebar (about $25).

I actually own the ones on the left! I was super surprised to visit Baublebar one day and find a green version of them staring back at me. Blatant knock-off not even attempting to hide it! ….Well, I love green so I bought them too. So I guess I own the ones on the right as well. No judgment.

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Left: Lanvin ($2,295). Right: Hautelook ($15).

This is also pretty blatant. The pricey bird on the left has been seen on Beyoncé and several magazine covers. The one on the right can be seen around my wrist because I totally want a knock-off of something fashion queen Beyoncé has worn.

So this has barely scratched the surface of the many jewelry knock-offs that occur. I just thought it was an interesting subject to consider. Is it fair? Should fashion and jewelry designers be given more protection under the law? Or is this article correct in arguing that it’s good for the industry? Are designers who sell products for thousands of dollars really being cheated by knock-offs that cost $20? Something to consider.

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2 thoughts on “Jewelry Knock-Offs

  1. dear, thanks a lot for your kindness and your words, we didn’t know about these copies, to be in net-a-porter expose us very much. i know our jewels are expensive but we are creating so many models since 40 years, studying, drawing, paying seriously all our workers in our own workshop in rome, investing in exhibitions and trusting in culture, such kind of copies are at a incredible low prices, incredibly less than the costs we support, probably produced in some places where the workers are not well paid or done with some computerized machine while we are still trusting men’s work. We are a family artistic company and we have not a huge production, i can understand people would like to have our jewels anyway, but also the salaries as not to be a copy of a real salary, to copy in this way is a steal and thieves do not need to be encouraged. I hope this globalized world will help and not kill human ideas, and i wish all jewels lovers to be happy with their treasure, personally i prefer the quality not the quantity, they usually are not going together. thank you for showing us this copy, sorry for being so long,but i love and i trust our work so much and since a very long time. have a very nice weekend. best. maria teresa percossi papi

    • Wow, thank you so much for your response. I am a long-time admirer of your jewelry, and I really appreciate your company’s perspective on this problem. I agree that directly copying your beautiful designs essentially amounts to thievery and is unfair. I just graduated from Georgetown Law School, and I am actually planning to write a law journal article on the problems with the lack of protection for jewelry under U.S. copyright law.

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