GUYS GUYS GUYS! I’m still fuh-reak-ing out. Raymond Lee Jewelers has the most re-pinned engagement ring on Pinterest. I was just minding my own business, happily pinning 20 engagement rings under $2000, when my e-mail, Twitter notifications,and google alerts started exploding. Why?
This beauty is popping up all over. So far:
Have all swooned over the amazing #RingSelfie our E-commerce director snapped one day, in between running our awesome online showroom (she’s multi-talented.) And nope, I can’t blame them or the 60,000+ Pinners who love it. So expect to see even more of this ring in your various newsfeeds. Which reminds me to preemptively re-post this little ditty as a reminder to smart shoppers and certain Pinterest-fueled websites that don’t like to credit image owners.
If you’ve ever been on Instagram or Pinterest, you probably are. Both networks are rife with fake engagement rings – and I’m not talking moissanite here, people.
I’m talking about the lovely accounts that poach other people’s product and intellectual property and share it to increase their large followings, then charge smaller accounts for “promotion” – usually around $100 per 10k followers (figure from this post, and in my experience that’s pretty dead on.)
I’m also talking about jewelers and “jewelers” who are big, fat, liars. Your pants are on fire! That is, if you had any pants to begin with. By pants I mean engagement rings. These accounts are more sinister, screenshotting other jewelers’ photos (and in some cases taking editorial shots straight from the online site) and passing the product off as their own. Even going so far to post RLJ ring selfies with eBay listings for totally different product.
I’ve seen several accounts inviting their audience to e-mail them or DM them for specifics about a one of a kind antique ring they sure as hell can’t deliver (because it, along with the photo, belongs to Erstwhile or Trumpet & Horn.)
And I’ve recognized my co-workers’ signature style and signature birthmark in photos from jewelers who make up elaborate stories about their “custom” ring. Uh, that’s Verragio. And you’re not an authorized retailer. And if you’re touting that ring as your own handiwork, please read:
Let’s take this ring for example.
You’ve seen this pic before. Probably floating around on Twitter or the Gram, insisting it’s a “Tifany” ring. I can only assume this credit comes from the robin’s egg blue nail polish, but most people should realize that this is most definitely not Tiffany-style design. True engagement ring devotees would recognize Verragio’s trademark feminine style anywhere.
But the rampant spread of this ring – it went viral after an Elite Daily feature – perfectly demonstrates how easy it is for anyone to screenshot a pic and claim a ring as their own. I’ve seen this ring pic taken without credit from everyone. Ranging from two large Pinterest accounts affiliated with the same link farm wedding website to Vanessa. Freaking. Hudgens.
— Designers & Diamonds (@bling_blog) April 26, 2016
It’s super frustrating to the creators of the content – it takes time and energy. And it’s even more frustrating to the women who find their dream ring, only to find that they can’t, um, find anywhere to buy it. It’s a bad user-experience, and it’s bad internet karma.
So, what can you do to protect yourself from fake engagement rings & Instascammers?
Look for a few red flags.
- All their ring pics look wildly different. There’s no unifying style, or even a consistent variety of designers (Like A. Jaffe, Gabriel, Henri Daussi, Simon G., Tacori & Verragio, for instance.)
- No designer credit on easily recognizable rings. If you could pick out Tacori 201-2PR from a mile away, but the account hasn’t shouted from the rooftops that they’re a proud Tacori retail partner, alarm bells should go off. Retailers work hard to secure the best designers, and we like to brag about our selection. Fake retailers work hard to gain a wide audience without tipping off designer legal teams they’re abusing a brand’s product and likeness.
- On Pinterest? If the url doesn’t take you to a product page or blog post with that exact image, they may have changed the link to redirect you to their site using someone else’s pic. I’ve seen my Verragio pics changed to redirect to another jeweler’s selection of the same designer. This is shady and rude, but there’s not much I can do about it besides fill out Pinterest’s loooooooooong IP complaint form.
- They never ever geotag their showroom or anyone else’s. This doesn’t apply to legit online retailers, but in conjunction with the other red flags, it will tip you off. There’s a huge IG account that exclusively steals other jewelers’ photos and calls it “inspiration.” They never geotag. Ditto for all the tiny, Hydra-head-like accounts that multiply overnight.
- They misspell Tiffany as “Tifany.” Seriously that one pic just gets under my skin.
If you’re reading this it’s too late.
If you’ve fallen in love with a ring and unfortunately found it on a catfish account or site that didn’t credit, all hope is not lost. The first thing you can do is a google reverse image search.
- Open a new tab and visit google image search through the link above.
- Right click the imposter image in question and select “open image in new tab”
- Copy the image url in your browser’s address bar.
- Go back to your google image tab. Click on the camera icon in the right hand side of the search bar.
- Paste the image url & click “search by image”
If, like me, you find yourself reverse searching several times a week it’s worth it to use the chrome browser. You can see in my screen shot that I could’ve saved myself a whole bunch of copy + pasting by just clicking “search Google for image.”
You should be taken to a page with results for that exact image and visually similar images. If the pic has gone viral already, there’s a lot to wade through, but you can occasionally get lucky. Of course, you can always just email me because odds are it’s a stolen RLJ or DBRL pic 😉
Related: How an Engagement Ring is Made
If you’re on Pinterest, you can use the magnifying glass in the top right hand corner of a pin to search for visually similar pins. And hopefully find the OG image. You also can get lucky on the “weddings” main page, where the original pin will be if it was the first to go viral (which is how IP thieves find it in the first place.)
Why don’t you just watermark your posts?
We do, sometimes. But it’s much more aesthetically pleasing without them, and making pretty pictures is the entire point of Instagram. It’s hard to see our hard work spread over the wide world of tumblr without any credit, and the entire e-commerce department vents & laments about it once a month at least. But reading this post about watermarking changed my mind. I still waffle, and I still go through periods where I watermark all the things. It’s a journey.
I also try very hard to assume the best of people, and most do adhere to Instagram etiquette and basic human decency by tagging us in the image or the comments (or my preferred method, BOTH!)
If you’ve been fooled before, I’m sorry. As someone who’s actually ordered Instascam product before (cheers, DHGate!) I know how much it sucks. And if you ever l-o-v-e someone’s Instagram post so much you just have to share it with your own followers, ask permission first and tag them second. And if you are writing a listicle titled “The 50 Most Amazington Ballsington Engagement Rings You Ever Did See”, please credit aforementioned amazeballs rings at the least and link to their retailers if you’re awesome. And if you’re combing through IG to poach high performing ring selfies that you don’t sell, never have and never will? Well, a pox on you.