Counterfeit Angel Wings
Counterfeit copies of wings (pictured above) have been illegally manufactured using TierraCast part 94-5600 “Angel Wings”. The illegal copies are offered for sale in various bead stores and jewelry outlets in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. These items are both unauthorized copies of the legitimate part (found on page 2) as well as a potential health hazard due to the high lead content discovered from sample testing.
The copies are most easily recognized by their colored ink accents, these counterfeit copies are also available in silver and gold finishes that are difficult to distinguish from the safe, legitimate TierraCast copyrighted design.
If uncertain as to the nature of the wings in your possession, return them to the store from which you bought them and ask for verification that they were purchased directly from TierraCast or one its reputable distributors.
Hazardous Angel Wings
The business operates a domestic manufacturing facility under the strict California environmental standards using a Britannia pewter alloy that exceeds the current Consumer Products Safety Commission policy guidelines for lead content in “children’s jewelry”.
The company first introduced a cast metal bead in the shape of a pair of extended “angel wings” in August 2003. This item quickly became popular assembled in the shape of an angel figure, often with a larger cone shaped bead at the bottom to simulate a skirt and smaller bead atop the wings as a head. This figure has attracted extraordinary attention in the McAllen / Brownsville area where the Hispanic population in particular has used the wings assembled in jewelry with colored beads to honor the Seven Angels.
In the Spring of 2006 it came to our attention that counterfeit copies of this exact wing design were being sold in the Rio Grande Valley area. At first they were virtually undetectable copies in silver and gold plate with black ink accents but are now also available in a silver color with colored inks in the folds of the wings.
We retained a local private investigator to confirm the sale of the counterfeit copies and to provide us with samples for our inspection. Our initial decision to have the metal content of the counterfeit items tested was to provide legal evidence in support of our claim of copyright infringement. Once we received the test results however, the lead content was so high that we realized that the counterfeit items posed a serious health hazard to area residents, especially to children and pregnant women.
Lead content in jewelry, particularly that directed toward children, has become an increasingly important health issue. In February 2005 The Consumer Products Safety Commission adopted an interim enforcement policy regarding lead content in “children’s jewelry”, setting 600 parts per million (a little over .05%) as a trigger level for potential recall due to concerns of lead poisoning. Further details of that policy can be found at http://www.cpsc.gov/BUSINFO/pbjewelgd.pdf
The test results for the two samples submitted to West Coast Analytical Services returned lead levels of 56% and 62%.
I personally visited the greater McAllen / Brownsville area on June 21 & 22, 2006 and was able to buy these counterfeit copies from sixteen retail locations. During that visit I found only one store, Earthly Treasures in Edinburg, exclusively carried the legitimate and safe Tierracast, Inc design.
Tierracast, Inc is in the process of providing cease and desist notices to those sixteen locations in a concerted effort to identify the infringing source and stop the unauthorized sale of these hazardous parts. Barring cooperation from the identified vendors, Tierracast is prepared to file suit in Federal Court against one or more of the retail outlets.
President, Tierracast, Inc
Clarification and further details are available from:
- Angel Wings Heath Hazard
- What Is So Important About Copyright?
- Lead Testing
- Federal recall of “metal charms"
- All Pewter is not the Same
President, Tierracast, Inc