Just in Time For Valentine's Day: FTC Releases Updated Brochures on Buying Jewelry

Publications Designed to Help Educate Consumers and Businesses

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For Release

With Valentine's Day quickly approaching and more consumers heading to the mall and the Internet to buy jewelry for that special someone, the Federal Trade Commission has released two newly updated publications designed to make shopping for jewelry both safer and easier. One publication, "All That Glitters...How to Buy Jewelry," offers useful facts about precious metals, diamonds, gemstones and pearls. The other, "In the Loupe: Advertising Diamonds, Gemstones and Pearls," gives merchants and advertisers valuable advice about how to describe their products accurately and disclose required information in both online and traditional ads.

"The brochures can help consumers learn about jewelry so they can put their hard-earned cash where their hearts are," said Jodie Bernstein, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. "And businesses also can get useful information to help them ensure that their ads provide complete and accurate information to consumers."

For Consumers: "All That Glitters"

"All That Glitters...How to Buy Jewelry" contains information that is essential to anyone in the market for jewelry, for Valentine's Day or any time. The brochure explains key terms about gold, silver, platinum, gemstones, diamonds and pearls. It details the difference between natural and laboratory-created gemstones, and describes a wide range of gemstone treatments that are used to alter the color, durability and overall appearance of stones. In addition, "All That Glitters" explains the difference between natural, cultured and imitation pearls, and provides information about diamond carat weight claims. The brochure includes a jewelry shopper's checklist with important tips such as: checking metal jewelry for appropriate markings and asking sellers to write important information about the purchase on the sales receipt.

For Businesses: "In the Loupe"

Designed for businesses and advertisers, but useful for consumers as well, "In the Loupe: Advertising Diamonds, Gemstones and Pearls" explains how products may be described in accordance with the FTC's Guides for the Jewelry, Precious Metals and Pewter Industries. The publication presents information on making diamond carat weight claims using decimals and fractions. It also highlights the requirement that sellers disclose gemstone treatments to consumers, when the treatment is not permanent and when the treated stone requires special care; and it provides information on advertising natural, cultured and imitation pearls. "In the Loupe" also warns businesses about the possibility that traditional diamond testers, used to distinguish diamonds from other stones, may not accurately detect certain lab-created stones such as moissanite.

NOTE:  Both publications mentioned in this release and the FTC's Guides for the Jewelry, Precious Metals and Pewter Industries are available from the FTC's web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357); TDD for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710.

Laura J. DeMartino,
Bureau of Consumer Protection

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