The Federal Trade Commission has amended its Jewelry Guides to help prevent deception in jewelry marketing.
The Guides (formally, the “Guides for the Jewelry, Precious Metals, and Pewter Industries”) explain to businesses how to avoid making deceptive claims about precious metal, pewter, diamond, gemstone, and pearl products, and when they should make disclosures to avoid unfair or deceptive trade practices.
In 2012, as part of its systematic review of its rules and guides, the Commission sought public comments on the Guides’ costs and benefits, and whether they should be repealed, amended, or retained in their current form. It also sought comments on specific issues concerning composite gemstones, pearls, diamonds, and precious metal alloys.
Using comments and information obtained during a June 2013 public roundtable, in January 2016, the agency proposed, and sought public comments on, revisions to the Guides regarding below-threshold alloys, precious metal content of products containing more than one precious metal, surface application of precious metals, lead-glass filled stones, “cultured” diamonds, treated pearls, varietals, and misuse of the word “gem.”
Based on the overall record, the Commission has approved revisions to help align the Jewelry Guides with Section 5 of the FTC Act by tying guidance to consumer expectations, and to address technological developments and related changes in industry practice, providing needed clarification and greater flexibility for businesses.
Specifically, the revisions address (1) surface application of precious metals, (2) alloys with precious metals in amounts below minimum thresholds, (3) products containing more than one precious metal, (4) composite gemstone products, (5) varietals, (6) “cultured” diamonds, (7) qualifying claims about man-made gemstone products, (8) pearl treatment disclosures, (9) use of the term “gem,” (10) misleading illustrations, (11) the definition of “diamond,” and (12) exemptions recognized in the assay for gold, silver, and platinum.
The revisions also remove outdated or redundant provisions, guide marketing of certain products to more accurately represent their properties, and remove existing restrictions on product marketing that are unnecessary to prevent deception.
The Commission vote to approve the Federal Register Notice containing final amendments to the Jewelry Guides was 5-0. The Notice is available on the FTC’s website and soon will be published in the Federal Register. (FTC File No. G711001; the staff contact is Reenah Kim, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202-326-2272.)
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