A few weeks ago I was selling my beads at a local bead show. And of course, when you are selling at a show, that means you are shopping too!
I found one dealer who was selling silver findings. I was looking for some unique clasps, when what to my wondering eyes appeared but Green Girl Studios' shell clasps. It was perfect for the seashell inspired necklace I was creating. But wait, why did it only have one shell and some weird ugly loop for the other side? My beady senses were tingling. I looked around, they had the sunflower, the bird and a few others. All at quite a discounted price. I felt a little sick to my stomach to see that one of my favorite artists were knocked off and being sold right here at my local bead show. What can I say, I'm a little naive!
I took them up to the dealer and asked the origin of the clasps? Did you purchase these from the artist, I inquired? No they came from Indonesia. I explained that these were copies from a famous beadmaker called Green Girl Studios. She gave me a shrug and blank expression. I put down my tray of beads and politely said I would not be shopping with her.
So how can you avoid buying knock-off art beads when you are shopping at a bead show. It's very simple, ask the seller. A reputable seller will know who the artist is and will probably give you some background information on the creator. Don't commit a designer faux pas by picking up a few of the cheaper copies. It's just not worth the measly dollars saved to know that you are cheating a family out of their bread and butter! And what a cute family behind Green Girl Studios, you can see the very real designer on her blog.