Rip Off Britain Emma Farley: Yorkshire jeweller's anger at cheap fakes of her handmade hedgehog earrings

A Yorkshire jeweller is to feature on BBC One consumer affairs show Rip Off Britain today after fake rip-offs of her popular hedgehog design earrings were sold online.

This morning’s episode of the BBC show is due to feature the story of Emma Farley, who lives near Pocklington.

She launched her nature and wildlife jewellery back in 2013 to help raise funds for her hospital rescuing and rehabilitating wild hedgehogs and educational work to raise awareness of how people can help wildlife in their gardens.

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Her best-selling hedgehog design is hand-sculpted and made in recycled silver and sent in environmentally-friendly packaging along with a guide to helping hedgehogs.

Emma Farley, 45, of Knapton Lane, York, runs a hedgehog rescue centre and jewellery business. Picture: James Hardisty.Emma Farley, 45, of Knapton Lane, York, runs a hedgehog rescue centre and jewellery business. Picture: James Hardisty.
Emma Farley, 45, of Knapton Lane, York, runs a hedgehog rescue centre and jewellery business. Picture: James Hardisty.

But last summer, she was alerted by a social media follower that the design had been copied and then was being sold on the fashion website, Shein, using her own images to promote it, including those of her own hands.

The design is virtually identical but uses a cheap metal alloy instead of silver and cheap gems instead of the real gems that Emma uses.

Unlike Emma's, the earrings arrive in plastic packaging with no information about how to help wildlife. The fakes were sold for a couple of pounds in contrast to Emma's which retail at £50 and help raise vital funds for her wildlife work.

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The fakes were also sold on other websites including eBay but Emma says that after a “David and Goliath battle” they have now been banned from sale.

She said: “I am very proud of my hedgehog design earrings, so I’m grateful to Shein for acting promptly and removing the copies from their website as soon as they became aware of the issue. I am now pleased to confirm the matter has been resolved.”

She says it has been a stressful situation to deal with.

“I am about small, individual, handmade and with great concern for wildlife and the environment,” she says.

"They are mass produced using cheap unethical materials and having stolen my unique design. The sterling silver ear wires I use are more expensive than the entirety of the fake design they are selling.

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" My real hedgehogs look alive, whereas the fakes look dull and also somewhat menacing. I really wanted to be involved with Rip Off Britain to highlight this issue.

"I know now that I am far from being the only small maker affected by this issue, with reputations and livelihoods being damaged as a result.

"Someone always pays the price for fast fashion - whether it's a small, independent designer or the people forced to make the fakes in terrible conditions for low pay.

"Please think about where you shop and shop local and with an independent maker where your pennies will make the greatest impact."

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A Shein spokesperson said: “In the case of Emma Farley and her hedgehog inspired jewellery, we confirm that as soon as we were alerted to the potential infringement, we responded quickly to remove the product from sale.

“IP protection is a high priority at SHEIN, and we resolve infringement claims quickly.”

Emma’s hedgehog hospital is currently closed following her relocation from York to East Yorkshire but she set up a makeshift hogspital during the recent floods and is continuing her educational work with practical tips for how people can help hedgehogs and other wildlife in their gardens on her website and social media.

Information and advice about helping hedgehogs and wildlife can be found at

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