Jewelry Guides and Information
Commission Advisory Opinions
§ 15.25 Impropriety of description of "14 K" for item not entirely gold
(a) The Federal Trade Commission rendered an advisory opinion that it is improper to mark of describe an earring as having a "14 K post" when the post is not entirely gold.
(b) "Under Rule 22(c)(1) of the Trade Practice Rules for the Jewelry Industry," 1 the Commission advised, "an article may not be so designated unless it is 'composed throughout of an alloy of gold'; since this article will contain substantial electroplatings of base metals, it plainly is not composed throughout of gold."
(c) The requesting party has stated that the earring in question would be constructed as follows:
(1) The ornamental front part would be basically brass, but no quality claim is contemplated as to this part of the article.
(2) The front part is attached to a post made for penetration of pierced ears and held in place by a clutch type back made basically of brass. No quality claim for the clutch type back is contemplated.
(3) The post will be 14 karat gold. After being soldered to the ornamental front the entire article will be electroplated with copper, then electroplated with nickel, and finally electroplated with high karat gold.
[31 FR 5287, Apr. 2, 1966]
§ 15.61 Improper use of terms such as "gold filled" or "rolled gold plate"
(a) The Federal Trade Commission has informed a marketer of jewelry that it would be improper to use terms such as "gold gilled" or "rolled gold plate" in describing gold filled jewelry articles which are electroplated with nickel and finished with either gold flash or gold electroplate.
(b) The Commission said that a purchaser of such an article would not get the type of performance expected from gold filled articles because points of wear would expose the coating of white nickel at a very early stage and the ornamental value would be seriously reduced.
(c) "Being electroplated with nickel," the Commission said, the "gold filled material would not serve its function and a person buying the article on that basis would not get what he had been led to believe he was getting. In fact, Rule 22(b)(4) of the Trade Practice Rules for the Jewelry Industry specifically contemplates that the surface coating, not the inner portion, be made of 'gold filled' or 'rolled gold plate'."
[31 FR 8521, June 18, 1966]
§ 15.73 Rejection of description "golden" for nongold thimble
(a) The Federal Trade Commission has rendered an advisory opinion objecting to both the description "golden" for a nongold thimble, and the accompanying explanatory phrase "electroplated with real gold".
(b) "Since the thimble in question is not composed throughout of 24 karat gold, unqualified use of the word 'golden' would be improper," the FTC's advisory opinion stated.
(c) Further advising that "the phrase, 'electroplated with real gold', would constitute neither adequate qualification of the word 'golden', not a proper representation standing alone", the Commission pointed out that the gold flashing on the thimbles is between three and seven millionths of an inch thick and that "a coating of gold of less that 7/1,000,000 of an inch in thickness is too thin and insubstantial to warrant the description 'gold electroplate'."
[31 FR 9977, July 22, 1966]
§ 15.129 "Solid" and "karat" used together in describing articles composed of gold.
The Commission advised an association that the world "solid" could be used in conjunction with the karat indication of gold of 10 or more karats in fineness. For example, it would be proper to use the expression "14 karat sold gold" or "solid 14 karat gold" to describe an article which was both in fact solid and in fact made of gold 14 karat in fineness. The use of such descriptions, or appropriate abbreviations therefore, provided both factors in the description were given adequate prominence, would be unobjectionable.
[32 FR 8406, June 13, 1967]
§ 15.313 Marking of 18 karat white gold ring with platinum baguette prongs
(a) The Commission rendered an advisory opinion in which it advised a ring manufacturer that it would be improper to place the following mark on rings composed of 18 karat white gold with platinum baguette prongs: "18K-Plat".
(b) In rejecting the proposed mark, the Commission cited the following two reasons: "First, since the prongs of the composed of 18 karat white gold with which resembles the color of the platinum baguette prongs, prospective purchases might believe that the center prongs as well as the baguette prongs are also made of platinum. Second, to the uninitiated prospective purchaser, the proposed mark, coupled with the similarity in color of the entire ring, might mean that the ring is made in its entirety out of platinum consisting of 18 karat fineness."
(c) Similarly, the Commission also rejected two other proposed markings ("18K-10% Plat" and "90% 18K-10% Plat.") because they leave the consumer to speculate as to the exact part of the ring which is composed of platinum. Concluding that these two alternative suggestions are unacceptable, the Commission said: "Here, again, because of the similarity in color of the white gold and platinum the consumer might conclude that all of the prongs, including those for the center stone, are of platinum composition. Under these circumstances, it is not enough to merely say that the ring contains 10 percent platinum and 90 percent gold without disclosing the true composition of the various parts of the ring. In shot, the Commission believes that the mark should clearly limit the platinum content to the baguette prongs and one possible suggestion would be as follows: '18K-baguette prongs Plat'. Any other language of equal clarity would, or course, be acceptable."
§ 15.371 Use of "12 karat gold filled" to describe earrings.
(a) The Commission issued an advisory opinion to a company, denying permission to apply the designation "12 karat gold filled" unqualifiedly to an earring where all the metallic parts, except the steel spring base, are composed of 1/20 12-karat-gold-filled precious metal.
(b) It was alleged by the company seeking the opinion that the spring base performed a "spring" or tension function and is a spring within the meaning of that word in trade practice rules for the Jewelry Industry. Being a spring, it was further contended, exempts it in any assay for quality an permits unqualified use of the designation "12 karat fold filled."
(c) In rejecting the company's position, the Commission said: "Even if we assume that the allegation of performing a spring or tension function is correct, this is not the primary purpose or function of the spring base. As we view the situation, the spring base serves primarily as a connecting link or arm between the clip, which is attached to the top, and the ornament which is attached to the bottom. Thus, simply because the spring base may perform a tension function, this does not mean that the component is a spring within the meaning of that world in Rule 22D of trade practice rules for the Jewelry Industry. Stated differently, performing a dual function does not necessarily make the component a spring. Accordingly, the Commission is of the opinion that the spring base is not a spring as that term in contemplated within the meaning of the rules and the component therefore is no exempt in assay for quality. Since the component is not a spring, it would therefore be improper under Rule 22B(4) and Rule 25(a) of the trade practice rules to unqualifiedly designate the earring as '12 karat gold filled'. As you know, these two rule provisions prohibit the use of a quality mark, such as the one contemplated, in a manner which would misrepresent the metallic composition of the product of any part thereof. Since the spring base is composed of steel rather than the quality indicated in the proposed designation, it would therefore be deceptive to use such a quality mark unqualifiedly.
[34 FR 15643, Oct. 9, 1969]
§ 15.468 Use of the words "Golden Finish," "Gold Brushed," and "golden Manner," in advertising of certain gold plated costume jewelry.
(a) The Commission issued an adverse advisory opinion on July 2, 1971 (File No. 713 7031), regarding use of the terms "Golden Finish," "Gold Brushed," and "golden Manner," as descriptive of costume jewelry containing a gold coating of ten-karat fineness and three-millionths to five-millionths of an inch think.
(c) The Commission advised that the fineness and thickness of the jewelry fell within its guidelines for "gold flash," or "gold washed" jewelry, as set out in Rule 22C(3) of the Commission's Trade Practice Rules for the Jewelry Industry (16 CFR Part 23).
(c) The Commission also expressed its opinion that, if it were to sanction the use of the new terms proposed, it might result in a proliferation of meaningless descriptive terms tending to confuse consumers and industry members.
[38 FR 28278, Oct. 12, 1973]
§ 15.471 Designation of gold content on ball point pens
(a) The Commission issued an advisory opinion on September 7, 1971 (File No. 723 7001), regarding the proper marking of gold content on ball point pens.
(b) The Commission advised that the words "electroplate" or "electroplated" should not be abbreviated because many consumers would not know what the abbreviation signified.
(c) Karat fineness of such a pen may be represented by placing the karat designation before the words "gold electroplate(d)."
(d) Thickness of the gold plate may be represented by placing the thickness designation in terms of inches only before the words "gold electroplate(d)."
(e) A weight designation such as "1/50 22K Gold Electroplate" may not be used on gold electroplate because its use might confuse consumers.
[38 FR 28279, Oct. 12, 1973]
§ 15.476 Representations of gold content on jewelry
(a) The Commission issued an advisory opinion on August 18, 1972 (File No. 723 7007), regarding the proprietary of stamping "18K H.G.E.," of alternatively attaching a tag to the jewelry item bearing the words "18K Heavy Gold Electroplate." The electroplated item would be covered throughout with a minimum of 100/1,000,000 of fine gold, in conformity with the Trade Practice Rules for the Jewelry Industry (16 CFR Part 23).
(b) The Commission advised that use of "18K H.G.E." alone would be improper because consumers probably would be misled as to its meaning.
(c) The Commission rejected the suggestion that no quality disclosure need be made if a disclosure only could be made by use of an abbreviation. The Commission advised that a full disclosure should appear on items large enough to accommodate it and that the maximum reasonable abbreviated disclosure should be made on small items, with a tag attached containing the full disclosure.
[38 FR 28280, Oct. 12, 1973]
§ 15.60 Advertising of diamonds as "clear, pure color"
The Federal Trade Commission has advised a jewelry firm proposing to advertise diamonds as "clear, pure color" that a substantial segment of the purchasing public would understand the claim to mean a top grade white (or colorless) diamond, and that it should not be used to describe a diamond which shows any color when viewed under normal, north daylight or its equivalent.
[31 FR 8521, June 18, 1966]
§ 15.256 Use of unqualified word "Diamond" to describe abrasive discs containing other materials
(a) The Commission was requested to render an advisory opinion concerning the legality of describing abrasive discs or laps containing diamond and other abrasives as "Diamond Discs".
(b) The manufacturer presently produces diamond coating laps which are a single layer of diamond held in a plated nickel bond and uses only diamond as the abrasive. It now plans to produce a companion product line and add another abrasive particle as a filler. For example, it would mix aluminum oxide with the diamond, with the ratio of diamond to aluminum oxide being as low as one to ten and, in any event, the filler would be more than 50 percent.
(c) The opinion advised that in the Commission's view such as abrasive disc of lap could not truthfully be described as simply a "Diamond Disc." The opinion further advised that nothing in the law would prevent use of the word "Diamond" as part of a truthful description of the product, but that if the manufacturer did elect to use it, considering the low percentages of diamond which were contemplated, it should only be used as a part of a full disclosure of all the abrasive materials used, including the percentages of each.
[33 FR 8539, June 11, 1968]
§ 15.428 Unqualified use of the word "Jewel" disapproved for advertising synthetic diamond
The Commission issued an advisory opinion on May 19, 1970 (File No. 703 7098), to the effect that use of the term "Flare-Jewel" in advertising a synthetic diamond would violate section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act unless there also was a clear disclosure that the stones were not natural stones or jewels.
[38 FR 28270, Oct. 12, 1973]
§ 15.449 Term "Diamonflare" disapproved for advertising a product which is not a natural diamond
The Commission issued an advisory opinion on January 8, 1971 (File No. 713 7014), to the effect that use of the term "Diamonflare" for a product, which is not a natural diamond, would violate section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act unless there also was a clear and equally conspicuous disclosure immediately preceding the word "Diamonflare" that the product was not a natural diamond.
[38 FR 28274, Oct. 12, 1973]
§ 15.260 Synthetic emeralds
(a) Responding to a request for an advisory opinion, the Commission took the position that it would be improper to use the term "X Grown Emeralds" as descriptive of synthetic stones.
(b) In expressing the opinion that the proposed phrase would not constitute a proper disclosure of the nature of the product and the fact that it is not a natural stone, the Commission said: "This conclusion is based upon the belief that most consumers would probably ascribe to the word 'grown' its more commonly accepted meaning, namely, one of natural growth, and thus conclude, contrary to fact, that the product is a cultured stone. Under these circumstances, therefore, the Commission is of the opinion that use of the proposed term would not be in compliance with section 5 of the FTC Act because the stones are synthetic, not cultured."
[33 FR 9287, June 25, 1968]
§ 15.267 Legality of describing green tourmaline as "Emerald Green Tourmaline" or "Precious Tourmaline".
(a) The Commission was requested to render an advisory opinion as to the legality of describing green tourmaline as "Emerald Green Tourmaline" or as "Precious Tourmaline". The stone involved in the request was said to contain chromium, the same coloring agent which produces emerald when it occurs in beryl, and the stone resembled emerald in appearance.
(b) The Commission advised that it was of the opinion that the words "emerald" and "precious" may not be used in connection with the word "tourmaline" to describe the stone in question.
[33 FR 10205, July 17, 1968]
§ 15.292 Paua shell being described as "marine opal"
(a) The Commission rendered an advisory opinion in which it concluded that costume jewelry containing a centerpiece consisting of a small inset of paua shell could not be described as "marine opal".
(b) According to the Commission's opinion:
opal is a gem which is well known generally among the purchasing public and the trade and has certain well-established characteristics and properties. It is an inorganic mineral found in Australia which is far more expensive and preferable than the paua shell, which is an organic substance found in the ocean. Under these circumstances, therefore, the Commission has concluded that it would be deceptive to label a paua shell as "opal" on the well-established principle that the consumer is prejudiced if, upon giving an order for one thing, he is supplied with something else."
(c) Commenting upon the inadequacy of the word "marine" to remove the deceptive nature of the word "opal," the Commission said that the word "marine" would only serve to enhance that deception. It reached this conclusion because the word "marine" would convey the impression, contrary to fact, that this is a variety of opal found in the ocean, when in fact, just the reverse is true, i.e., opal is an inorganic mineral found in the ground.
[33 FR 14637, Oct. 1, 1968]
§ 15.275 Necessity for disclosing country of origin of imported watch bands
(a) The Commission was requested to furnish an advisory opinion as to the necessity for disclosing the country of origin of watch bands which will be assembled in the Virgin Islands wholly from parts imported from Hong Kong.
(b) The opinion advised that in the Commission's view the country of origin of these watch bands must be disclosed in a clear and conspicuous manner either on the bands themselves or on the packages in which they are sold.
[33 FR 11702, Aug. 17, 1968]
§ 15.310 Disclosure of country of origin of imported watch bands
(a) The Commission was requested to furnish an advisory opinion as to the necessity for the disclosure of the country of origin of a watch band or watchcase which was attached to a watch in a foreign country prior to importation into the United States.
(b) The Commission advised that in its view the fact that the watchcases are imported need not be disclosed and that the country of origin of a watchcase with a watch band permanently affixed thereto need not be disclosed, but that the country of origin of a metallic watch band of the detachable type must be disclosed.
[33 FR 17626, Nov. 26, 1968]
§ 15.406 Origin labeling on kits containing imported beads
(a) The Commission rendered an advisory opinion concerning the proper labeling of a product line of craft kits containing imported glass beads.
(b) Under the facts considered, the box containing the various items in the craft kits would be marked "Manufactured by * * *" with the name of an American company and its address although some of the items representing 20 percent of the total cost will consist of glass beads imported from Japan and Czechoslovakia. Additionally, loose beads in glass bottles will be offered for sale, the imported beads here representing about 40 percent of the total cost. Advice was requested as to whether each bottle should be marked with the name of the country from which the beads were imported, such as "Made in Japan," "Made in Italy," or "Made in France" as the case might be.
(c) The Commission's advisory opinion reaffirmed the rule that "Made in U.S.A." markings are permissible only on products entirely of domestic origin. Therefore, "Manufactured by * * *" with the name of the American company and its address, being synonymous, would be improper sine 20 percent of the components of the kits consist of imported beads. However, in the absence of any affirmative representation as to the origin of the kids and their contents, the Commission ruled that such failure to mark or mention the origin of the components on the outside of the box would not be regarded as deceptive. This ruling will not prevail as to the glass beads being offered for sale to the public separately from the kids. In such circumstances, the country of origin of such items must be fully disclosed.
[35 FR 5174, Mar. 27, 1970]
§ 15.426 Quality designation on jewelry of identical construction
(a) The Commission responded to a request for an advisory opinion concerning a proposal to use the quality designation "Yellow Gold or White Rhodium Electroplated" on jewelry of identical construction which may be electroplated with either metal.
(b) The view was expressed by the Commission that although there may be some instances where a consumer night be able to properly interpret such a quality designation, the vast majority of consumers would be confused through use of any dual designation. Moreover, if the use of such a dual designation were to be approved, it would logically follow that approval would have to be given to the use of triple, quadruple, etc., designations. The end result would be utter chaos for the vast majority of consumers who would be thrown into a jungle of quality designations from which they could not intelligently extricate themselves.
(c) Under these circumstances, the Commission advised that it cannot give its approval to such dual quality designation because the use thereof would probably serve to confuse and deceive prospective purchasers in regard to the quality of the products being bought.
[35 FR 10951, July 8, 1970]