As I said, it all goes back to intention and motivation. If you can ask yourself the question, "What was my inspiration for this bead?" and the answer is honestly something like, "Oh, I was inspired by a bikini somebody was wearing on the beach in Indialantic, Florida," then your intention is pure. If you are inspired by another bead you saw some where, then not. Can two or more artists, working from completely different places, points of view, intentions, motivations come up with a similar conceptual idea? Yes. Is that derivative? No. And you can bet it was a momentary meeting of the minds, and each will be off on their own pathway.
I believe people on a jury should be well versed in the world and work they are jurying to be able to make a judgement in this matter. The only time I ever feel bad about being rejected is if the jury was not qualified. To me, it's a very big deal to be on a jury, and you'd better know a lot about the stuff you're going to be looking at.
But to shrug your shoulders and call the idea of coming up with something unique--or looking at it the opposite way-- to consider that everything good and great has already been thought of or done by now sounds rather hopeless. I don't agree, and I hope to discover something new and different on my journey. So we can agree to disagree then.
My vote for the jury thing remains the same: that is that the names be known at the end before the final decision, but not at the beginning for the initial cuts.
Not that any of us have a say in it anyway, since whoever puts on a show can make their own rules. This is a hypothetical discussion really...
BTW, thanks Sharon! I might just go make a fish right now!