By Hannah Connorton
hannah.connorton@nationaljeweler.com

New York--The Federal Trade Commission has agreed to the Jewelers Vigilance Committee’s request for an extension on the deadline to file comments about the latest proposed changes to the jewelry guides.

The new deadline is now June 3, which gives potential commenters an extra two months. (The original deadline was April 4.)

The FTC’s guides for the jewelry industry dictate the terms that can, and cannot, be used to market jewelry.

Recently, the FTC issued proposed revisions to these guides--which are not final--and invited members of the public who want to make comments on these changes to do so.

The current draft of revisions is available on FTC.gov, and comments can be registered on the FTC web site as well.

Comments also can be mailed to: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite CC-5610 (Annex O), Washington, D.C. 20580.

The latest proposals from the FTC include a list of 75 questions to which it has requested answers.

JVC CEO Cecilia Gardner said in January that the JVC and other industry organizations will work on drafting responses to the latest revisions. In addition, the JVC plans to respond directly to a number of requests made by the FTC, including for more metallurgic testing on surface applications and for consumer perception data on surface-coated materials.


A few of the FTC’s proposed changes are outlined below.

1) The use of the term “gold” in connection with alloys
Gardner said current FTC rules do not allow the use of the word gold to refer to any substance that’s less than 10 karats; Tiffany & Co., for example, cannot use the term “gold” in connection with its alloy Rubedo and instead refers it to simply as a metal.

Under the FTC’s proposed changes, the industry would be permitted to use the term gold to refer to alloys but must disclose the karatage of the gold and list the other metals present in the alloy as well.

2) The disclosure of rhodium plating
In its revisions, the FTC is proposing another major change to metals terminology--the disclosure of rhodium plating, which currently is not required.

3) A clarification on lead glass-filled rubies
Gardner said the proposed revisions clarify that the term “lead glass-filled ruby” can be used to refer only to material that contains some measure of red corundum. If the material is non-red corundum and colored glass is added to make it appear red (i.e., to make it look like a ruby), then it must be described as lead glass-filled corundum.

In addition, the FTC stressed that the seller must disclose any and all information about the special care the material requires.

4) The incorporation of the term “cultured” in reference to lab-grown diamonds
Gardner said when the industry submitted its latest comments on the guides to the FTC back in 2012, it asked the FTC to prohibit the use of the word cultured in connection with lab-grown diamonds. The industry contended that the term should apply only to organic processes, such as the one used for pearls.

The FTC, however, has now proposed incorporating the word cultured into the guides, but only if it is immediately accompanied by the terms lab-grown or lab-created.

5) The use of varietal names
The FTC’s proposed revisions dictate that terms such as “yellow emerald” and “green amethyst” are deceptive and misleading. The gemstones must be described exactly as they are. In the two examples given above, it would be “golden” or “yellow beryl” and “prasiolite.”


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