FTC Amends its Guides for the Jewelry Industry

Changes Address Disclosures for Permanent Gemstone Treatments Such as Laser Drilling

For Release

The Federal Trade Commission today announced that it is amending its Guides for the Jewelry, Precious Metals and Pewter Industries, commonly known as the Jewelry Guides, to require disclosure of permanent treatments to gemstones that significantly affect the value of the gemstone, which would include laser drilling of diamonds. Disclosing these types of gemstone treatments will ensure that consumers obtain accurate information about jewelry products and that sellers avoid unfair or deceptive practices. Failure to provide disclosures could be a violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act.

The amendments announced today revise Sections 23.13 and 23.22 of the Guides based on comments received following proposed revisions outlined last summer. These sections of the Guides address the treatment of diamonds and other gemstone products. Previously, the Guides addressed only the disclosure of gemstone treatments that are not permanent or that create special care requirements for the gemstone. The revised Guides advise that sellers disclose other treatments that, while permanent and not creating special care requirements, significantly affect the value of a gemstone. 

In addition, Sections 23.13 and 23.22 of the Guides have been combined. Section 23.13, in the diamonds section of the Guides, now directs readers to Section 23.22, which addresses treatments to all gemstones. Section 23.22 contains new text that states that three types of gemstone treatments should be disclosed: 1) treatments that are not permanent; 2) treatments that create special care requirements for the gemstone; and 3) treatments that significantly affect the value of a gemstone. 

The Jewelry Guides are among the oldest of the Commission’s business guides and are relied on extensively within the industry. They were most recently revised in 1996 to make them compatible with international standards and to address several gemstone treatment advances.

The Commission vote to approve publication of the Federal Register notice was 5-0. It will be published shortly and also will be available from the FTC’s Web site at www.ftc.gov. The amended Guides will become effective on April 10, 2001.

The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them. To file a complaint, or to get free information on any of 150 consumer topics, call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357), or use the complaint form at https://www.ftc.gov/ftc/complaint.htm. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies worldwide.

Media Contact:

Mitchell J. Katz,
Office of Public Affairs

Staff Contact:

Robin Rosen Spector,
Bureau of Consumer Protection

(FTC File No. G711001)

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