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Lumina Jewellery Guilty of Plagiarism

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Contents

1. What is Plagiarism
2. This is Plagiarism
3. Audacity or Ignorance?
4. Where Will it End?
5. Copyright Infringement Notice
6. Protect Your Business

What is Plagiarism?

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 address it.  Most people who plagiarise from an online source do their best to make the work look as if it's their own before republishing it.  Lumina Jewellery however were more than happy to simply copy material from my website and paste it directly into their own.  Even more shocking was that it didn't stop there.

I can say with some degree of certainty that Lumina Jewellery owned by Sara and Picky Saund, is likely to only have come into existence after having discovered Stone Mania.

Having landed on their website purely by chance 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.

They had links on their homepage which lead to an "Order & Returns Policy", "Shipping Policy", "Terms & Conditions" and a page called "Our Photos".  The names of the pages and position of the links which led to them were in exactly the same position as on my website.

Having clicked each link I found myself reading information that I had written some years earlier.  The only detail that had been changed was the name of the company.  Even the internal links that I had built within each page were still in place.  Of course they now redirected to other pages on their website instead of mine.

Lumina Jewellery were actually using Terms and Conditions and an Order and Returns Policy that I had written for my business.  The only wording that had been changed was the name of the company, everything else was exactly the same.

The more I looked at their website the more shocked I became.  They had copied the design of my site, the way my products were presented and even replicated photos I had taken whilst on buying trips in 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.   

google notice re plagiarism

Husband and wife team Sara and Picky Saund set Lumina Jewellery up in 2008.  Two years later in 2010 they launched their website.  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 really quite different.  Instead of using their "brains and creativity" to come up with something original of their own, they had plagiarised everything from Stone Mania.  Looking back, I believe it's likely they saw me at one of many markets or regional 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 so similar to my own.  Everything in my collection was made by hand by a small team of local artisans in Jaipur in India.  I specialised at that time in large and chunky gemstone rings and pendants.

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 not just coincidental.

On their website they explained their gemstones were chosen in Jaipur prior to each piece of jewellery being made.  They said they work closely with local artisans who make each piece 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. 

Using an internet archive service enabled me to pinpoint fairly accurately when the plagiarism had started.  My pages first appeared on the Lumina Jewellery website in late 2014.  In March 2015 I updated the four pages they had plagiarised 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.  Clearly they were perfect for what Sara and Picky Saund needed for their newly created business. 

This is Plagiarism

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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 the internet archive service was taken after the page had been updated. Prior to then it was virtually identical to the one on the website of Lumina Jewellery. 

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I feel quite offended that Sara Saund didn't like what I wrote on the "Our Photos" page.  It's not difficult to see where her version came from.

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Audacity or Ignorance?

With regards to the design of their website, there were so many similarities to Stone Mania prior to it being redesigned in 2015.

The company name Lumina Jewellery and logo were in exactly the same position.  The menu bar at the top of the homepage 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 on my website it was on a white background. Even the search box, shopping cart and company tagline were in exactly the same positions.

This wasn't a website that was being hosted on a platform like Shopify or Wix where the template may have been similar.  Like my website, it had been built from scratch. 

The purple and yellow colour they'd used was also almost identical to what had I used for Stone Mania.  They clearly had a logo designed but the fact it featured a kind of octagon shape was not just another coincidence.

Stone Mania company logo ""

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”.

comment from a forum post

Their rings rings were organised by size and in alphabetical order according to the gemstone which was identical to my website.  They even 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 individuals 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 regional retail events.  Having looked at their stand I immediately knew who they were.  I had seen Picky Saund at several fairs in recent months and had looked closely at his jewellery because his collection was so similar to my own.

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 Racecourse and finally at Winchester Cathedral Christmas market. Needless to say I had traded for many years in all three locations.

After I stopped trading at the Christmas market in Winchester I went back to visit the following year.  Having seen Lumina Jewellery I spent some time looking at their stand.  I even spoke to Picky and said I had a company called Stone Mania.  I spoke about the style of his jewellery and said it was very similar to my own.  Despite no other customers being present at the time he wasn't very friendly and now I 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.  It was taken by me whilst buying stones for my collection in India.

small groups of cabochon stones
tiffany stone cabochon gemstones

I used to have many photos like the one above on my website and on social media platforms.  Each time I bought cabochons I photographed them.

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. 

labradorite cabochon gemstones

What follows is not another photo of them choosing labradorite but is instead a photo that I took whilst at my supplier in India.

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!

labradorite cabochon gemstones

I then found myself looking at a photo of their retail stand at a regional show.  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 regional shows I did in 2003.  The next photo is Lumina Jewellery at the Royal Berkshire Show many years later. 

large jewellery stand at a country fair

jewellery retail stand at a county show

In 2007 I had new display boards made.  This photo was taken at the Winchester Christmas market.  It was taken one year before Lumina Jewellery was set up.

Jewellery retail stand at a Christmas fair

Copyright Infringement Notice Served

I had seen more than enough and filed a copyright infringement notice with Google.  I also sent an email to Lumina Jewellery.

They were not brave enough or courteous enough to reply.  What they did do however literally within minutes of receiving the email was remove the plagiarised pages from their website.

copyright infringement notice ""

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 she had 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 even though that site is long gone.

Sara deleted the plagiarised pages on 17th April 2017.  The screenshot below was taken eight months later in December 2017 from Wayback Machine.

When I updated this article in 2020, I added a link to the original plagiarised Order and Returns policy on the Lumina Jewellery website.  Here it is but be patient, being an archived page it's slow to load.

The best part is she even included a copyright notice!

The sheer audacity defies belief. 

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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 who at that time sold exactly the same products and was located 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 they were stalking me. 

When most people set up a business they usually want to create something unique, exciting and original of their own.  Clearly that's not the case with Sara and Picky Saund of Lumina Jewellery.

Despite stealing everything they had from 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 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, Lumina Jewellery have a 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 leave a phony review for your own business, at least have the common sense to use a different name!

review posted by the owner of Lumina Jewellery on his own Google listing

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 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.

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