Glittering Gifts: Getting What You Bargained For

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Jewelry sales often rise in February because of Valentine's Day, and to help ensure that Cupid's gifts don't lose their luster, the Federal Trade Commission recently released a new consumer education brochure, "All That Glitters ... The Jive on Jewelry."

The publication explains key terms about gold, platinum, silver, gemstones, diamonds, and pearls. It also lists several shopping tips for consumers, including:

  • Ask about the store's refund and return policy before you buy;
  • Check for the appropriate markings on metal jewelry;
  • For simple gold jewelry, without special design or workmanship, comparison shop for the best price based on the item's gram weight and the price of gold;
  • Ask if the pearls are natural, cultured, or imitation;
  • Ask whether the gemstone is natural, laboratory-created, or imitation;
  • Ask if the gemstone has been treated. Is the change permanent? Is special care required?
  • Make sure the jeweler writes on the sales receipt any information you relied on when making your purchase, such as the gem's weight or size. Some jewelers also may supply a grading report from a gemological laboratory

Copies of "All That Glitters ... The Jive on Jewelry," and other consumer education materials are available on the FTC's web site at: or by writing or calling: Consumer Response Center, Federal Trade Commission, Washington, DC 20580; 202-326-3128; TDD for the hearing impaired: 1-866-653-4261. The FTC enforces the Jewelry Guides and while it cannot intervene in individual disputes, consumers can alert the agency to problems by contacting the Consumer Response Center.

Contact Information

Media Contact:
Office of Public Affairs
Staff Contact:
Laura DeMartino
Bureau of Consumer Protection