FTC Revises Guide for Platinum Jewelry Marketing

New Guide Simpler, Better Reflects International Standards, Agency Says

For Release

The Federal Trade Commission has revised its guide for the marketing of jewelry made wholly or in part of platinum, a precious metal that is more costly than gold. The guide provides for different markings on articles made of platinum, depending on the relative "fineness" or parts per thousand of pure platinum versus platinum group metals (iridium, palladium, ruthenium, rhodium and osmium). The FTC said it has revised the Platinum Guide to simplify it and bring its guidance into closer accord with international standards. The revised guide adopts the international standard. The guide also continues to permit some markings not currently included in the international standards on products marketed in the United States, but the retained marking system has been simplified.

The revisions announced today follow the FTC’s announcement in May 1996 of revisions to other sections of its Guides for the Jewelry, Precious Metals, and Pewter Industries, which assist the industry and consumers by helping marketers avoid deceptive or misleading represen tations about such products. At the time it announced the revisions to the remainder of the Jewelry Guides, the FTC requested additional comments on the Platinum Guide.

Effective immediately, the revised Platinum Guide provides that items consisting of:

  • 950 parts or more per thousand of pure platinum can be marked "platinum" without the use of any qualifying statements;
  • 850 to 950 parts per thousand can be marked in accordance with international standards of "950 Plat." or "950 Pt.," "900 Plat." or "900 Pt.," "850 Plat." or "850 Pt." (the revised guide permits the use of a two or four-letter abbreviation for platinum);
  • 500 parts per thousand of pure platinum and at least 950 parts per thousand platinum group metals can be marked with the parts per thousand of pure platinum followed by the parts per thousand of each platinum group metal (example: "600 Plat.350Irid." or "600Pt.350Ir."); and
  • less than 500 parts per thousand pure platinum cannot be marked with the word platinum or any abbreviation thereof.

A notice published in today’s Federal Register summarizes the 806 comments the FTC received in response to its request for additional comments about the Platinum Guide, and explains the reasoning for the changes. The Commission vote to revise the Platinum Guide was 5-0.

An FTC alert for consumers titled Puttin’ on the Glitz: What to Know When Shopping for Jewelry offers consumers a number of tips and useful information to consider when purchasing jewelry.

Copies of the alert, the Platinum Guide Federal Register notice and the entire Jewelry Guides are available from the FTC’s web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC’s Public Reference Branch, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-326-2222; TTY for the hearing impaired 202- 326-2502. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710.

(FTC File No. G711001)

Contact Information

Media Contact:
Bonnie Jansen
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2161 or 202-326-2180
Staff Contact:
Bureau of Consumer Protection
Constance M. Vecellio, 202-326-2966
Robin P. Rosen, 202-326-3740