Bling in the New Year

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If you advertise or sell platinum jewelry, you’ll want to stay “in the loupe” and read recent revisions to the FTC’s Jewelry Guides that address the marking — and marketing — of jewelry made of platinum and non-precious metal alloys and when disclosures are appropriate.

Platinum jewelry can be alloyed with precious platinum group metals (PGMs) — iridium, palladium, ruthenium, rhodium, and osmium — or non-precious base metals like copper and cobalt. Recently, platinum items have been alloyed with higher percentages of non-precious or base metals — from 15 to 50 percent. These alloys contain from 500 to 850 parts per thousand pure platinum, but the total of pure platinum and other PGMs is less than 950 parts per thousand or less than 95 percent of the item.

It's okay to use the word “platinum” when advertising these pieces, but the amounts of pure platinum and other metals should be stated using the full name and percentage of each metal.  Don’t use abbreviations or “parts per thousand” in ads for platinum/base metal alloys. For example, jewelry that’s 75% pure platinum and 25% copper should be labeled like this: 75% Platinum 25% Copper. An item that’s 60% pure platinum, 35% cobalt and 5% rhodium should be labeled like this: 60% Platinum, 35% Cobalt, 5% Rhodium.

What disclosures should you make? The bottom line is that product descriptions shouldn’t be misleading, and they should disclose material information to jewelry buyers. If the platinum/base metal-alloyed item you’re selling doesn’t have the properties of products that are almost pure platinum or have a very high percentage of platinum, you should disclose that to prospective buyers. They may want to know about the value of the product as well as its durability, luster, density, scratch resistance, tarnish resistance, its ability to be resized or repaired, how well it retains precious metal over time, and whether it’s hypoallergenic.  For any product that’s been alloyed with 15 to 50% non-precious or base metals, you may say it has these properties only if you have competent and reliable scientific evidence that it doesn’t differ in a material way from a product that is 85% or more pure platinum

To learn more, read Advertising Platinum Jewelry.

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