1. Plagiarising from Stone Mania
2. Stealing Our Policies - Verbatim
3. Audacity or Ignorance?
4. Where Will it End?
5. Copyright Infringement Notice Served
6. Protect Your Business from Plagiarism
Plagiarising from Stone Mania
Plagiarism is the practice of taking someone else's work and ideas to pass off as your own. Although online the practice violates Google's User Policy, it remains a serious problem.
In recent years Google has become wise to plagiarism and has worked hard to try and address the problem. Most people who plagiarise from another website will do their best to make the material looks as if it's their own work before republishing it. Lumina Jewellery however were more than happy to just paste material that had been plagiarised from my website directly into their own. What was even more shocking was that it didn't stop there. I would go as far as to say this company owned by Sara and Picky Saund, may well only have come about because they discovered Stone Mania.
Having landed on the website of Lumina Jewellery whilst doing research for an article I was writing in 2017, the style of their jewellery immediately caught my attention. In fact everything about their website looked strangely familiar. Just like on Stone Mania there was an "Order & Returns Policy", a "Shipping Policy", "Terms & Conditions" and a page called "Our Photos". Not only were the names exactly the same as pages I had on my website but the position of the links on the homepage was also the same.
Having clicked each link I found myself reading information that I'd written some years earlier. The only detail that had changed was the name of the company. Even the internal links on each page were still in place. Of course they redirected to pages on their website instead of mine.
Unbelievably Lumina Jewellery were trading using Terms and Conditions and an Order and Returns Policy that I had written for Stone Mania. Nothing had been changed.
The more I looked at their website the more shocked I became. They had copied the design of my website, the way my products were presented and even replicated photos I had taken during buying trips to India.
Like Stone Mania they did markets and retail events and from their photos I could see their stand was set up almost exactly the same as mine. Even their display equipment was almost the same.
Husband and wife team Sara and Picky Saund set Lumina Jewellery up in 2008. Two years later in 2010 their website was launched. In an article on the homepage that talks about the company Sara says; "although this site acts mainly as a portfolio of our work, we are more than happy to do mail order and can process payments over the phone".
By 2014 thanks to Stone Mania, they had a fully functional website with a whole new look.
Explaining on their homepage how they came to set up Lumina Jewellery Sara writes:
"It was a very deliberate lifestyle choice for us. What we wanted was a way to work together which would allow us to use our brains and our creativity and also allow us to spend time together as a family. Neither of us have any formal training in jewellery design but we were both drawn to working with stones".
The truth however was quite different. Instead of using their "brains and creativity" to come up with something of their own, they instead plagiarised everything they had from Stone Mania. In fact I believe they probably saw me at one of the markets or retail shows that I used to do and liking what they saw, went on to set up Lumina Jewellery.
I had never seen another company selling jewellery that was so similar to my own. Everything in my collection was made entirely by hand by a small team of local artisans in India. I specialised in gemstone rings and pendants many of which were large and chunky.
The style of their jewellery, how it was made, where it was made, the wide variety of different gemstones and the fact they specialised in rings and pendants was more than just a coincidence. They explained their gemstones are chosen in Jaipur prior to each piece of jewellery being made. They then explained how they work closely with local artisans who make each piece of jewellery by hand. They included photographs of themselves choosing stones and of pendants being made. Apart from the name Lumina Jewellery and a few other very minor details, I could have been looking at my own website and reading about my own business.
By using the internet archive service Wayback Machine I could pinpoint fairly accurately when the plagiarism had started. My pages first appeared on their website in late 2014. In March 2015 I updated the four pages that had been plagiarised by Lumina Jewellery but the text on their website was the original version.
I had written the Terms & Conditions, Shipping Policy and Order & Returns Policy for my business and all three were specific and detailed. Why should Sara and Picky Saund bother creating something of their own when they can just help themselves to whatever they need from another business?
Stone Mania Policies Used by Lumina Jewellery
And the original version on the website of Stone Mania;
The only changes that had been made to the Shipping Policy were the company name and some minor details towards the bottom. They had even kept the line that said "jewellery will be sent in a stylish gift pouch". I wonder whether they ever bought anything from Stone Mania to see what our "stylish gift pouches" were like. Maybe they even bought the same pouches whilst in India.
The screenshot of the Shipping Policy from Stone Mania is slightly different because the earliest snapshot I could find on Wayback Machine was taken after I'd updated the page. Prior to being updated, it was almost identical to the one seen on Lumina Jewellery's website.
I feel quite offended that Sara Saund didn't like what I wrote on the "Our Photos" page! It's not difficult to see however where her version came from.
Audacity or Ignorance?
With regards to design, there were so many similarities to my own website before it was updated in 2015. The Lumina Jewellery company name and logo were in the same position. The menu bar at the top of the home page was the same except they'd used a different coloured font. The header which featured photos of their jewellery on a rotating loop was the same except mine was on a white background. Even the search box, shopping cart and company tagline were in exactly the same positions.
The colours they had chosen were uncannily similar to those on my website. They'd clearly had a logo designed but the fact it featured a kind of octagon shape was not just another coincidence.
When creating a design for a website a graphic designer needs something to work from. I think it's clear to see where that came from.
Even their tagline “The natural beauty of gemstones combined with creative use of silver to breathtaking effect” was vaguely similar to mine which at the time was, "Transforming magnificent gemstones into breathtaking pieces of jewellery”.
The way gemstone rings were organised on their website was exactly the same as on Stone Mania. They had a section called 'Stone Directory' but instead of writing about each gemstone individually as I did in my Gemstone Directory, there was just a long list of names.
The audacity of these two was quite unbelievable. Creating a website takes time, money and effort and since launching the online side of my business in 2002, I've invested a significant amount of all three. Sarah and Picky Saund clearly think whatever they see online is theirs for the taking.
Just when I thought I'd seen everything, I saw from one of their photos they did retail events around the country. Having looked at their stand I knew immediately who they were.
I had seen Picky Saund at a few fairs in recent months and had looked closely at his collection on more than once occasion. It caught my attention not only because of the similarity of the gemstone rings and pendants but also because of the wide variety of different gemstones. I had never seen another business whose collection was so similar to my own in so many ways.
The first time I saw them was at the travelling French Market in St Albans. I saw them again at the Rock n Gem show at Kempton Park and finally at Winchester Cathedral Christmas market. Needless to say I had traded for many years in all three locations. I even spoke to Picky whilst visiting the Christmas Market in Winchester after I stopped trading there. I introduced myself and explained that I had a company called Stone Mania. I didn't find him to be particularly friendly and now understand why. Little did I know, he knew exactly who I was.
Where Will it End?
Wanting to see what else I could find out about Lumina Jewellery I turned to Facebook and found this photo. I have erased their faces to comply with privacy laws. If you're wondering why photos of loose cabochons is relevant, you'll see when you look at the next photo which was taken by me whilst buying stones for my own collection whilst in India.
I used to have many photos like this on my website and on social media platforms. Each time I bought cabochons to use in my collection I would take a photograph.
This was now getting beyond a joke but the worst was yet to come. Take a look at the next couple of photos. The first is also from the Facebook page of Lumina Jewellery. I'm assuming it's them with their supplier in India choosing labradorite stones.
What follows is not another photo of them choosing labradorite but is instead a photo that I took whilst at my supplier in India choosing labradorite. This photo has been on our website for several years (right here) and the original which can be seen here was taken on 6th January 2007. Lumina Jewellery began trading in 2008.
This was more than plagiarism, it was downright freaky!
I then found myself looking at a photo of their retail stand. Note the way my stand is set up and the way the jewellery is displayed. The following photo is from one of the very first county shows that I did in 2004. The next photo is Lumina Jewellery at the Royal Berkshire Show many years later.
In 2007 I had new wooden display boards made to match my existing countertop cases. This photo was taken whilst trading at the Winchester Christmas market. It was taken one year before Lumina Jewellery began trading.
Copyright Infringement Notice Served
I had seen more than enough and immediately filed a copyright infringement notice with Google. I also sent an email to Lumina Jewellery confronting them about what I had found.
They were not brave enough or courteous enough to reply. What they did do however within minutes of receiving the email was remove all of the plagiarised pages from their website.
Sara Saund clearly believed deleting the pages would remove any trace of them. She's obviously never heard of an internet archive service. Websites like Wayback Machine enable you to go back in time to see how a page once looked.
Despite deleting all pages that had been plagiarised from Stone Mania, they'll remain freely available to whoever wants to view them for many, many years to come. I can still look at pages from my original website from 2002!
Sara deleted the plagiarised pages on 17th April 2017. The screenshot below of one of those deleted pages was taken eight months later in December 2017.
When I updated this article in 2020, I added a link to the original plagiarised Order and Returns policy on Lumina Jewellery's website.
Here's the link but be patient, being an archived page it is slow to load. The best part is that she's even included a copyright notice! The sheer audacity defies belief.
Protect Your Business from Plagiarism
This article shows there are people out there like Sara and Picky Saund of Lumina Jewellery who are ready and willing to plagiarise other people's work.
Why should they go to the bother of creating something unique of their own when they can take everything they need from another business? Worse still, another business within 50 miles of them.
After many years of being in business and being aware of the existence of plagiarism, I have never heard of, or seen anything to this extent. I find it incredibly weird and creepy. It almost feels as if these two have been been stalking me.
When most people set up a business they usually want to create something unique, exciting and original of their own. It's very clear that's not the case with Sara and Picky Saund of Lumina Jewellery.
Despite stealing so much from Stone Mania, they then had the audacity to write on the home page of their website; "It was a very deliberate lifestyle choice for us. What we wanted was a way to work together which would allow us to use our brains and our creativity".
Stone Mania has come a very long way since the company was established in 2002. Everything that I've achieved comes from years of hard work, dedication and an unwavering desire to succeed. As it's plain to see from this article and the accompanying photos and screenshots, Lumina Jewellery have a very different mentality.
The next screenshot which I took from the feedback section of their Google business listing sums them up perfectly. If you're going to pose as a customer and leave a review for your own business, at least have the common sense to use a different name!
The final screenshot in this article was taken from the original website of Lumina Jewellery via Wayback Machine. It states they were looking to do something together and were drawn to working with stones. I'll always wonder whether the idea of working with stones came about before or after they discovered Stone Mania.
My advice to these two people is don't plagiarise other people's ideas and hard work, use your "brains and creativity" and come up with something unique of your own.