The jewelry industry – with the precious materials in its products and the international scope of its supply chains – is often subject to complex government regulations that go beyond ethical principles to include matters of the law. Since 1906, Jewelers of America has advocated on behalf of the jewelry industry and ensures our members are up to date on regulations that can affect their businesses.

When the government holds jewelry businesses accountable for legal requirements, Jewelers of America publishes regulation guides that our members can use to manage their business and comply. We summarize current and recent regulations that could affect jewelry businesses below. Log in for the JA Member Guides on these topics >

Russia

(updated 3/11/2022)
The U.S. has announced additional sanctions including those on diamonds from Russia. For the most up-to-date information read our alert.
Jewelers of America continues to follow the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, where Russian forces launched a full invasion on Thursday, February 24 that has led to multiple civilian casualties and serious breaches of international law. In response, the United States and Western governments have come out strongly in condemning and sanctioning Russia. Jewelers of America believes the crisis will continue escalating in the coming days. While the U.S. has not directly “sanctioned” diamonds, precious metals or precious gemstones from Russia or Belorussia, the current sanctions and continuing Anti-Money Laundering (AML) requirements effectively prevent U.S. companies from legally – and responsibly -- sourcing materials from those countries.

The current crisis began on Monday, February 21, as Russian President Vladimir Putin deployed troops to the self-declared separatist states of Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DNR and LNR) regions after a speech recognizing them as “independent” states.

In opposition, the United States and other Western Governments started to roll-out restrictions on economic activity and sanctions. President Biden signed an Executive Order targeting certain regions of Ukraine on Tuesday, followed up by U.S. sanctions on two major Russian state-owned financial institutions, members of Putin’s inner circle and their families and measures that limit Russia’s power to raise money abroad, effectively banning U.S. businesses and persons from transacting with those named financial institutions and entities. According to the Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC), these first actions did not yet appear to directly affect Alrosa or any other diamond only businesses – a fact that has since changed. JVC advises – and JA agrees – that U.S. businesses must determine if any of their suppliers or customers are using bank accounts connected to the sanctioned financial entities and if so, immediately cease transacting with those accounts. For more information, read the full update here.

Burmese Rubies & Jade - Updated

Following a military coup in Myanmar (Burma) on February 1, 2021, President Joe Biden initially signed an Executive Order on February 12 that includes sanctions on gemstone companies with direct links to military leaders involved in the coup. Additional sanctions were added in March and April 2021 (see latest update). The move bans the companies from conducting business in the U.S. or working with U.S. companies. The sanctions also include military leaders who participated in the coup.

This comes just five years since former President Barack Obama signed an executive order officially lifting the remaining trade and economic sanctions on the country, including those on Burmese rubies. At the time, Myanmar had implemented much-needed democratic reforms, including the country’s first free elections in 25 years in November 2015, resulting in the U.S. removing the sanctions.

As far back as October 2007, Jewelers of America took a stand on the human rights issues in Myanmar, asking members to inform their suppliers that they would no longer buy gems mined in Myanmar in accordance with the association’s Code of Professional Practices. JA also sent letters to legislators asking for the introduction of legislation to specifically ban Burmese-mined gems. Congress responded in 2008 with The Tom Lantos Block Burmese JADE Act, prohibiting the importation of Burmese jadeite and rubies and jewelry containing those gemstones.

Jewelers of America will continue to monitor the situation in Myanmar and work with policymakers to support the development of best practices. We’ll continue to provide Jewelers of America guidance to members as needed and strongly advise our members to support international human rights within their sphere of influence in line with JA’s Code of Professional Practices.

Children’s Jewelry

Retailers should inform their suppliers of children’s plated metal jewelry and other children’s items (such as rattles) that they must provide proof of the lead-content testing and certification required of manufacturers and direct importers of children’s jewelry. For more information read the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Guidance on the CPSIA for Small Businesses, Resellers, Crafters and Charities.

Gold

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act includes provisions that target conflict minerals, including gold from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and surrounding countries. As a result, jewelry companies that are publicly traded will be required to disclose their use of conflict minerals, including gold. Jewelers of America believes that those companies that are not required to comply with the law will still feel its affects throughout the gold and jewelry supply chain. 

Money Laundering

Under the US Patriot Act, a division of the Department of the Treasury requires dealers in precious metals, stones or jewels to establish an Anti-Money Laundering compliance program. Dealers are defined as any person or company who annually purchases and sells more than $50,000 in precious metals, precious stones, jewels, or finished goods deriving more than 50% of their value from precious metals, stones or jewels. Review the JA Guidanceto see if your business requires an Anti-Money Laundering plan.
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