By Brecken Branstrator
Roberto Coin has filed a lawsuit against New York-based stone dealer Kings Stone regarding the latter’s claims the jeweler misrepresented certification of the black jade used in its designs. Pictured here is a cuff and huggie hoop earrings featuring black jade and diamonds in 18-karat rose gold, introduced by Roberto at the January 2018 Vicenzaoro show.
New York—Roberto Coin Inc. and Kings Stone are embroiled in a lawsuit amid allegations that the former misrepresented certification of the stones in its black jade jewelry line.

According to court documents, Roberto Coin and Kings Stone started discussions about the latter providing black jade to the jeweler in 2012, and Roberto Coin began placing significant orders shortly thereafter.

As Kings Stone began supplying black jade to Roberto Coin, it also provided certifications from China’s National Gemstone Testing Center stating the stones were amphibole jade.

Kings Stone owner Joseph Goldstein claims the company continues to be the only supplier of NGTC-certified black amphibole in the world.

In mid-2014, Roberto Coin terminated the partnership and started using a new supplier of black jade for its designs.

Goldstein said he discovered in early 2018 that Roberto Coin was still marketing the black jade line as “black amphibole jade certified by the NGTC,” despite the termination of their partnership.

He then approached multiple retailers that carry the line, asking them to verify the NGTC certification of the material, which, Goldstein claims, they could not.

Shortly after, a few major retailers, including Borsheims and Bloomingdale’s, pulled the black jade jewelry line from their showcases.

Borsheims and Macy’s Inc., which owns Bloomingdale’s, both told National Jeweler they don’t comment on pending litigation.

Following the retailers’ decision to pull the line, Roberto Coin filed a complaint against Kings Stone and Goldstein in July 2018 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, alleging false advertising and deceptive business practices in violation of federal and state law.

According to the complaint, Goldstein told Roberto Coin that he intended to file a consumer class action again the company for selling jewelry containing “non-authentic” black jade.

It also alleges he made “false and misleading statements” that the black jade in its jewelry was “non-authenticated” and threatened the brand’s retail customers with consumer class action if they continued to carry the line.

Roberto Coin said in its complaint that it has reports from several gemological labs certifying the black jade used in its jewelry.

When it switched suppliers in 2014, the company claims the new supplier, CaterG, provided them with an analysis from Hong Kong Gems Laboratory calling the material “natural amphibole material,” as well as additional lab analyses certifying that the material was “amphibole jade” or “black nephrite jade” (nephrite is part of the amphibole mineral group).

The new supplier also sent a sample of its black jade to NGTC in April 2018, after Goldstein started approaching the retailers, and the lab confirmed that the stones are amphibole jade, the brand said in its lawsuit.

“RCI always has conducted its business in accordance with the highest standards. It strongly disputes the claims by Joseph Goldstein and Kings Stone,” attorney Gayle Pollack of Morrison Cohen said in a statement provided to National Jeweler.

“In fact, RCI filed a lawsuit against them to stop them from continuing their false advertising campaign. Rather than try this case in the media, RCI looks forward to being vindicated in court.”

Goldstein filed a counterclaim in August 2018, alleging the jewelry brand has engaged in fraud regarding the marketing and sales of its black jade jewelry.

The claim states that Kings Stone is the only supplier of NGTC-certified black amphibole jade and that Roberto Coin misrepresented the black jade it sold. 

Goldstein also claims the NGTC has confirmed that no other suppliers have received certification for black amphibole jade prior to April 2018, when CaterG sent its material to the lab to be certified black amphibole jade, meaning any use of vocabluary around NGTC certification by Roberto Coin between the time the company terminated its relationship with Kings Stone and April 2018 would have been unlawful.

The counterclaim also notes that when Goldstein asked the retailers to provide proof of NGTC certification, they could not, instead sending a pamphlet from Roberto Coin describing the certification.

The NGTC did not respond to an email asking for clarification about the certification by press time.

Goldstein gave the following statement to National Jeweler: “In all of the legal paperwork filed, not once did Roberto Coin refute the fact that they had used the NGTC for four years straight for their black jade without it actually being certified by the NGTC.

“Roberto Coin could easily settle this allegation very simply—by just producing the NGTC certs used for four years on his black jade and the lawsuit would disappear. Instead, they continue to avoid the fraud issue itself and claim that they are above reproach due to their stellar reputation. No one is above the law—not even Roberto Coin.”

Kings Stone is seeking a permanent injunction prohibiting Roberto Coin from marketing its black jade jewelry with “false representations” that it has obtained certificates from the NGTC, “unless and until (it) has obtained NGTC certifications.”

In addition to monetary damages, Roberto Coin is seeking a permanent injunction preventing Goldstein and his company from “attacking the ‘authenticity’ of the jade” in its jewelry, and wants him to be required to provide “corrective” advertising to each of its retail customers he has contacted.

Get the Daily News >
National Jeweler

Fine Jewelry Industry News

Since 1906, National Jeweler has been the must-read news source for smart jewelry professionals--jewelry retailers, designers, buyers, manufacturers, and suppliers. From market analysis to emerging jewelry trends, we cover the important industry topics vital to the everyday success of jewelry professionals worldwide. National Jeweler delivers the most urgent jewelry news necessary for running your day-to-day jewelry business here, and via our daily e-newsletter, website and other specialty publications, such as "The State of the Majors." National Jeweler is published by Jewelers of America, the leading nonprofit jewelry association in the United States.