16 CFR Part 23, Guides for the Jewelry, Precious Metals, and Pewter Industries; Project No. G711001 #00021

Submission Number:
Jackie Endres
Initiative Name:
16 CFR Part 23, Guides for the Jewelry, Precious Metals, and Pewter Industries; Project No. G711001
I am, more than anything, a consumer. The jewelry market has changed a great deal, and not for the better. For years I've designed and made jewelry, now retired, but I still do it for fun, and I purchase only quality metals and gemstones. The Guidelines you offer, if read, aren't followed, and some, that are ignorant and uneducated souls who sell jewelry, gemstones, or metals on auction or other online sites, have been taking advantage of consumers for years! They've never followed any of your Guidelines! Even if they've read them, their competition doesn't follow them, so they don't either. They don't want the competition to have an unfair advantage over them. What this results in is a lot of very misleading information to the consumer in order to sell a product. If one seller gets an advantage, it becomes unfair. When they all do it, the consumer doesn't have a chance! Who are you there to protect? Please...See for yourself and go to Ebay.com, Etsy.com, Amazon.com or any site selling so called 'Jewelry', and you'll be wringing your hands, or breaking out in a cold sweat when you read how this stuff is being sold! They intermingle words like "Solid Sterling Silver Plated", or sometimes leave the word 'plated' out until 5 paragraphs later, or in small print. I just left Amazon and here's what I found. It's the same problem everywhere. Consumers who aren't in the trade, have no idea what they're buying! One listing used this heading, "14K Gold-Filled ring", and further down in smaller print it said "gold plated over copper." Your Guidelines are supposed to be "GUIDES" for sellers so that buyers feel safe and are not mislead! Well, they are mislead! With cheap prices and deceptive practices. These practices go against your Guides. There's so many examples of unfair practices, I don't know where to start, but here's another. A site advertised an .87 Ct. ring with a Round Sky Blue Aquamarine in white gold filled metal, enhanced with White Topaz gemstones. The picture showed a beautiful center stone in a pretty light blue that was a good size in relation to the rest of the ring, extending far beyond the 2mm thick ring. Estimating, the stone was at least 4 times the size of the thickness of the ring. On further examination, in fine print, the listing disclosed this was a sterling silver ring, not white gold filled, possibly an error (?) but the size of the aquamarine was actually a mere .2 millimeters, which was the same size as the ring. The .87 Ct. was probably for all the gemstone weight combined, including 25 white topaz. Confusing and misleading to the consumer, and it's not merely a mistake. It's designed to make the buyer think they are getting a lot more than they will receive. One reviewer stated that the stone wasn't even blue, it was clear, and very tiny! I'm more knowledgeable than most, and I've been fooled. It's hard not to be when they outright lie about the product. I've gone as far as sending Ebay a copy of your Guides for the Jewelry, Precious Metals, and Pewter Industries, and recommended they ask sellers to follow them. They said they already include it. Only nobody follows it! And you make this important point yourself: "Guidelines are interpretations of the law, but do not have the force of law in and of themselves." So if there's no accountability, and no punitive action for infractions of the Guide's recommendations, including lies and fraud, what then is the point of writing Guides? In a time where there is no Honor and little Trust, the only group being harmed is the buyer, and aren't they the ones you're trying to protect? If there's a way I can help, please let me know...I've already written to a lot of the offending sites, but you have more clout than I do! ~Jackie Endres