Lumina Jewellery – Caught Red Handed

It may surprise you to know that there are companies out there who have absolutely no interest at all in creating a personalised website for their business that’s unique and tailored specifically to their own needs but who are instead, happy to steal design ideas and complete pages of content from other businesses.  That’s exactly what Lumina Jewellery which is run by Sara and Picky Saund did, they came across Stone Mania at least five years ago and decided that what we had created, was everything they wanted for their own business so set about taking as much from us as they possibly could. Purely by chance, I happened to land on their website a few days ago and this is what I found.

Let me start off by explaining something called plagiarism, this is the practice of taking the work or ideas of someone else and passing them off as your own.  Sadly some people feel this is perfectly acceptable and believe that due to the size of the internet, they’ll never be caught.

I have written about plagiarism many times over the years in various blogs but the focus of my articles has usually been about the accuracy of information that you read online in relation to crystals, rocks and minerals which is my business and my hobby.   Usually when someone plagiarises an article they will try and disguise the fact that the work is not their own by changing some words or adding in or removing a few lines.  By doing this facts and accuracy often become confused or lost and once the amended version is published, there’s a good chance it will be plagiarised again and the process of making it look like an original piece of work will then be repeated.  As this cycle continues, the article will shift further and further away from how it was originally written.  Plagiarism violates Google’s guidelines and procedures are in place to ensure those who are caught are punished and this will usually be done by the offending pages being taken down or even the entire website being blacklisted.

Lumina Jewellery like Stone Mania sells ladies gemstone pendants and some of their designs are quite similar so having landed on their website, I was curious to find out more about them.  The first page I clicked on was their Order & Returns policy because I had written a page for my website with exactly the same name.  I could hardly believe what I saw when the page loaded, this was MY Order & Returns Policy, the page that I had written for my website.  Almost nothing at all had been changed except of course for the company name which had been changed from Stone Mania to Lumina Jewellery.  I had written this long and detailed page back in 2003 when I built my website and it had been in place until about five years ago when the site was redesigned and updated.  At that time I also updated many of the information pages including Terms & Conditions and the Order & Returns Policy so I knew they had copied it at least five years ago.  I then noticed they also had a page called Shipping Policy which wasn’t a particularly unusual title but upon opening it, that too had been plagiarised and no changes at all had been made to that page either.  A third page called Our Photos which explained how we took photos for Stone Mania’s website had also been copied but that had been reworded in places.

The very detailed Order & Returns Policy on the website of Lumina Jewellery and they’d even kept our hyperlinks in place!

 

 

And the original page on Stone Mania

 

And then the Shipping Policy on Lumina Jewellery’s website

And the original on Stone Mania

 

This is their version of the page from our website called Our Photos

 

And this is the original

 

I then began noticing how the design of their website was strangely similar to Stone Mania before we had it redesigned and updated in 2013.  It had been some time since I’d seen the last version of our website so I asked the guy who hosts my site if he could dig out an old copy and upon doing so, it confirmed my suspicions, they had based the design of their site on ours.  The company name and logo was in the top left corner, they had a shaded bar featuring links to various pages, a large rotating banner which featured photos of their jewellery, the search box, shopping cart and tag line were all in the same place as they were on an even earlier design of our website but that was too far back for me to be able to obtain a copy.  There were just too many similarities for it to be coincidental.  The colours that they’d used, purple and yellow were almost the same as the lilac and yellow that we had in two of the octagon shapes in our logo, as it was back then.  Their logo which sits to the right of their company name, the one that’s also a kind of octagon shape, where did the idea for that design come from I wonder?

 

 

The original Stone Mania logo that was on our website until we had a new one designed in 2009. Two of the colours that we used were yellow and lilac

 

Even their tag line, “The natural beauty of gemstones combined with creative use of silver to breathtaking effect” although terrible, bore an uncanny resemblance to a tag line that we use in relation to our gemstone pendants “Transforming magnificent gemstones into breathtaking pieces of jewellery”.  The ladies rings on their website were organised into size groups which was very unusual to see online but it’s something that we used to do when we sold rings, they even had a section called “Stone Directory” but instead of writing about each gemstone individually, they just put a long list of gemstone names there.  Obviously they hadn’t managed to copy all the pages from the Gemstone Directory on my website yet!

This is a screenshot from one of my forum posts from 2009, it shows the tag line that we used to use before it was removed when we adding crystals, rocks and minerals to our collection.

 

 

I was just stunned that anyone could be so audacious, designing and building an online business takes a huge amount of time and effort and since being launched in 2003, we’ve put an enormous amount of work into our website and business as a whole and continue to do so on a daily basis.  We work hard to ensure ideas are original and that our site is well maintained and most importantly, that it’s kept up to date with new technology. Clearly Sara and Picky Saund of Lumina Jewellery feel there’s no need to go to such lengths when they can steal designs and information from another business and better still, one who has a very similar product.

I also discovered that Lumina Jewellery move around the country doing shows and fairs like Stone Mania did before we decided to trade solely online and then it occurred to me, I had seen their stand at a few different shows when I had returned in later years as a visitor.  It caught my attention because in all the years I had been trading, I had never seen a display of gemstone pendants and rings quite as large as ours, it was what we specialized in and until 2011, we sold little else.  The pendants on our large display boards always attracted plenty of attention and our regular customers recognised our stand as soon as they saw them.  The other thing that surprised me was how similar the set up of Lumina Jewellery’s stand was to Stone Mania.  I’ve seen them at three different shows, a circuit market in St Albans, one of the Rock n Gem shows and also at Winchester Christmas market and needless to say, I had traded at all three of those venues for many years.  I had even spoken to Picky in Winchester and commented how similar some of his pendants were to mine.  I could see their pieces were made in Jaipur in India just like ours were but there was a significant difference in the quality of the silver and craftsmanship.  They were basically made in the same way that ours were when we first started buying in India many years ago but we had come a very, very long way since then.

Out of curiosity I then searched for their Facebook page and guess what?  This is a screenshot from one of their pages, I have erased their photo due to data protection.

I wonder where they got the idea from to take photographs of loose gemstones before they were mounted into pendants and rings?  In 2007 we had many photos like this on our website that we had taken whilst buying stones.

 

This is another photo from Lumina Jewellery’s Facebook page, it’s them I assume with their suppliers choosing labradorite for their collection.  Nice stones!

 

 

But hey, wouldn’t you know it, we had a photo just like that on OUR website and it’s still there today!  This is US choosing labradorite for our collection, but those are not our hands, they’re our suppliers, I’m taking the photograph!  (I’m just trying to be funny!) The above photo was not taken by me so it’s their own photo unless they’ve stolen it from someone else which is a very good possibility.  Is this yet another coincidence?  You decide.

 

Here’s a nice photo of their stand at the Royal Berkshire Show, we used to do all the county shows around the UK as well.  Those boards full of pendants look very familiar as do the trays of rings on the counter and the display case in front of the board on the right side.  Nice black table cloth and I like the drapes behind the counter.  Wonder where I’ve seen that set up before?

Oh yes of course, we have boards just like that and we also had a huge selection of rings on our stand for people to try on.  This lovely photo was of our chalet at the Winchester Christmas market with our newly made boards and display cases.  I think it was 2006.

 

 

And this was Stone Mania at one of our very early shows back in 2003 or 2004, that’s quite some time before Lumina Jewellery started trading.  Looks very similar to their stand don’t you think?  Note the black cloth and I much prefer the drapes Lumina Jewellery has behind their stand to ours!!   Another coincidence?  I wonder……

 

Soon after landing on Lumina Jewellery’s website I filed a DCMA (a copyright infringement notice) with Google, plagiarism violates their guidelines and all such pages are reviewed and usually removed and permanently blacklisted.

I also sent an email to Sara Saund of Lumina Jewellery confronting her about what I had found on her website but needless to say, she didn’t reply.  What she did do very quickly though was remove the plagiarised pages and now they look like this

 

 

 

Sara probably thought having quickly deleted the pages, Google would no longer be able to find them and nor would I, however erasing a page from the internet does not mean it can no longer be found, especially once it has been cached.  Google takes regular snapshots of pages of a website and they’re dated and stored until it crawls them again to take a more recent snapshot.  I took these screenshots after Sara had deleted the pages so they may not be on her website anymore, but they’re still available to view through Google.

 

 

 

Sadly there are people out there who think it’s absolutely okay to plagiarise others’ work and many believe they’ll never be caught.  I have to say I’ve never heard of anyone stealing pages to put on their website that have been written specifically for another business to explain policies and procedures and literally not change a thing other than the company name.  To be honest I find that really weird.  Clearly Sara and Picky found us online, probably after seeing our stand at a show or in a market and decided our business model was exactly what they wanted for themselves so instead of using their own ideas and doing research to create a unique business that they could be proud of, they just copied everything from Stone Mania.  I can only assume they believed with the internet being so vast, they’d never be caught but that shows just how naive they really are.

Stone Mania has come a very long way since the company was established in 2002 and we owe everything that we’ve achieved to many years of very hard work, absolute dedication and possibly most importantly of all, an unwavering desire to succeed at building a unique and successful business.  As it’s plain to see from this article and the accompanying photos and screenshots, Lumina Jewellery have been caught red handed and don’t deserve to have a business at all.  One thing I am really curious about however, is did they even have a jewellery business before discovering Stone Mania or did they steal that idea from us as well?

My closing comments are simple, if you have information online that you want to keep safe, use a programme like copyscape regularly to ensure people don’t plagiarise your work especially considering these guys will now be on the lookout for new material for their website.

And most importantly always remember, Karma works in mysterious ways.

Karma – the spiritual principle of cause and effect where intent and actions of an individual (cause) influence the future of that individual (effect).  Good intent and good deed contribute to good karma and future happiness, while bad intent and bad deed contribute to bad karma and future suffering

 

Blue Topaz


Blue topaz is a popular blue coloured gemstone which is usually faceted for use in ladies jewellery, it’s also one of the birthstones for the month of December with the other being turquoise.  There are three varieties of blue topaz, Sky, London and Swiss and the shade of blue that each exhibits is slightly different.  Sky Blue topaz is the lightest of the three and possibly the most well known and it can occasionally be mistaken for aquamarine.  The London and Swiss blue varieties are a much deeper colour and because they take longer to treat, they can also be considerably more expensive.

Whilst natural blue topaz is available, it is extremely rare hence the vast majority of stones are heat treated in order to obtain the colour of choice.  In fact most natural topaz tends to be clear and only once heated does it begin to change colour.  As well as various shades of blue, topaz can also turn pink and yellow and each colour or shade of colour is determined by the the type of treatment the stone’s exposed to and also the specific temperature.

Although the variation in colour in blue topaz is minimal within each of the three blue varieties, finer grade stones will clearly be more spectacular and the difference between a lower grade and finer grade stone will be easy to see even by those with minimal expertise in this field.

The heating of gemstones is nothing new and it’s a process that has been around for thousands of years.  It would be pretty accurate to say that some of the heat treatments that are used are as old as the gem trade itself. Pliny the Elder [23-79 AD] ancient Roman author, naturalist and philosopher wrote about “giving crystal quartz the colour of emeralds” and “how to change one gemstone into another” which is a reference to the artificial colouring of natural gemstones.

The application of heat in a controlled environment will enhance or change the colour of many gemstones.  Different treatments are used for different stones and whilst some may see this as cheating, many of the world’s finest rubies, sapphires and emeralds have been heat treated to enhance or change their colour.  A ruby which has not been heated is considered to be extremely unusual.  Amethyst is another stone which is often heated in order to enhance or change its colour and due to the fact that natural citrine is so rare and hence expensive, the vast majority of this yellow coloured quartz is actually heated amethyst.

Stone Mania is a London based mineral dealer who imports, wholesales and retails crystals, rocks, minerals and ladies gemstone pendants from Africa, Asia and the USA.