National Jeweler Network

Market Developments

Sterling, Zale settle diamond brilliance suit


Akron, Ohio--After less than a year, Sterling Jewelers Inc. and Zale Corp. have managed to resolve their dispute over one diamond’s supposedly superlative brilliance, though the terms of the settlement are completely confidential.

On Friday afternoon, Zale Corp. issued a press release stating that the two parties in the case had reached a negotiated resolution that will become effective as of March 1, 2014. Details regarding the settlement are confidential and will not be disclosed.

Akron-based Sterling Jewelers filed suit against Zale in Ohio federal court in November charging its rival chain with false advertising and deceptive trade practices for calling its branded Celebration Fire diamond “the most brilliant in the world.”

In its suit, Sterling alleged that Zale’s brilliance claims about the Celebration Fire were false as were claims the diamond’s brilliance is backed up by scientific evidence.

Sterling argued that because Zale only compared its Celebration Fire diamonds to those carried by “leading national jewelry store chains” it did not represent a comprehensive enough analysis to make the claim that it was the most brilliant, as it ignored diamonds carried by regional chains, independent jewelers, national chains not considering “leading,” the Internet or any seller of jewelry outside the United States, court papers state.

In the suit, Sterling also argued that even in the “limited subset” of diamonds tested by Zale, the tests did not constitute competent and reliable scientific evidence that the Celebration Fire was the most brilliant in the world, with diamond brilliance being a quality that can be measured.

In its original suit, Sterling wanted the court to issue an injunction barring Zale from “false advertising” where the Celebration Fire is concerned and to correct any allegedly erroneous impressions the advertising may have made through corrective advertising and a written notice to the public.

Zale said the lawsuit was without merit.

The case was sent to mediation in April but in June news surfaced that the parties had failed to reach an agreement in mediation and the case would go to trial in March 2014.

Neither chain had any additional comment on the settlement.