The Federal Trade Commission is seeking input through June 3rd on its proposed revisions to the Guides for the Jewelry, Precious Metals, and Pewter Industries, which have not been significantly updated since 1996. Comments must be submitted by Friday, June 3, and an industry coalition -- led by the Jewelers Vigilance Committee -- is working on presenting unified positions on the changes to strengthen the jewelry industry's response and best impact the FTC's revisions. The Jewelry Guides are a critical tool for the industry as they explain to businesses how to avoid making deceptive claims and the proper disclosures needed during the sales process. 

Significant changes have been proposed, and Jewelers of America is working with the Jewelers Vigilance Committee and the industry coalition that is gathering important research and sharing the jewelry industry's feedback with the Federal Trade Commission to inform its changes.  We will keep JA Members updated as the industry coalition finalizes its responses to the proposed updates.

For our members who may want to submit their own comments, Jewelers of America has summarized below three of the proposed changes that may directly impact jewelry retail and supplier businesses. Jewelers of America encourages our members to submit their own comments to the Federal Trade Commission on the suggested revisions. You can view all proposed changes here.

How To Submit Comments



3 Key FTC Proposed Revisions 


 

Use of the term “cultured” to describe synthetic diamonds

 

Current FTC Guidelines 

Not addressed


FTC Proposed Change

The FTC would make permissible use of the term “cultured” to describe laboratory-created/grown diamonds if the term is immediately accompanied by “laboratory-created,” “laboratory-grown,” “[manufacturer name]-created,” “synthetic” or by another word or phrase of like meaning.


Jewelers of America Position

Use of the term “cultured” to describe synthetic diamonds is confusing for the consumer and will lead to deceptive trade practices. The term “cultured” should be limited to organic processes only and should not be used to describe laboratory-created or imitation stones. Use of the word “cultured” is also inconsistent with international standards, such as one adopted by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in 2015.

Lead-Glass Filled Stones

Current FTC Guidelines 

Not addressed


FTC Proposed Change

The FTC proposed a two-tier system for these products that differentiates between products made up of one piece of precious or semi-precious stone infused with lead glass and products that contain small bits of precious or semi-precious stones bound together by lead glass.

The Commission also proposed that rubies and corundum filled with a “substantial” amount of lead glass may not be advertised as “ruby” without additional qualifying language such as “treated” or “composite.”


Jewelers of America Position

The terms “composite” and “manufactured composite” should be used to describe all gemstones filled with lead glass or any other binding material, whether or not the stone is one piece or small bits. The FTC proposal is inconsistent with the dictionary and industry definition of “composite,” which describes a manufactured product made up of gemstone material that is combined with another product to create a single stone. Sellers can’t differentiate between products with one piece versus bits of precious or semi-precious stones bound together since it is currently impossible for marketers to know this information without destroying the product.

The word “substantial” should be removed in describing amounts of lead glass filling or other binding material in a product. Any amount of filling – not just “substantial” levels – should be disclosed.

Use of the terms “gold” or “sterling silver”


Current FTC Guidelines 

In the current Jewelry Guides, any jewelry product below 10K (for gold) and 925PPT (for silver) cannot be described as either gold or sterling silver.


FTC Proposed Change

FTC would revise their guidelines to allow jewelry product to be described and stamped as gold or silver, even below the current thresholds, as long as the fineness is indicated and the marketer has evidence of no material difference.


Industry Coalition Status

The industry coalition is working on forming a position based on data gathered from surveys and input from industry stakeholders. The industry coalition agrees that allowing sellers to stamp product as “gold” or “silver” below current thresholds without additional disclosures will confuse consumers and reverse long-standing jewelry education and practices. As the coalition finalizes the details of its position, we’ll update Jewelers of America Members.
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