Gemstones & Pearls:News
IN THE NAME OF THE PEARL
Watch your language when selling pearls or you may trip on FTC guidelines
Follow these criteria to make sure you're abiding by the Federal Trade
Commission guidelines when labeling and selling pearls and cultured pearls
in your store.
Pearl: This is acceptable only for natural pearls or pearls that
have been formed by the invasion of tiny organisms in a mollusk without
human intervention. Very few natural pearls are still produced, though they
are often found in estate jewelry.
Cultured pearl: Acceptable for almost all saltwater and freshwater
pearls. Shell beads are inserted as nuclei and cause mollusks to secrete
nacre, which forms in layers over the beads. The nacre is a fraction of
a millimeter thick; the rest is simply a mother-of-pearl bead.
Imitation pearl: Refers to a manufactured product that simulates
a pearl or cultured pearl. The product can be called an artificial pearl,
imitation pearl or simulated pearl. Terms that are not acceptable: pearl,
natural pearl, cultured pearl, cultivated pearl, cultured-like, premature
cultured pearl, organic (unless distinguished from a natural or cultured
pearl), real pearl, genuine pearl, precious pearl, faux pearl, fashion pearl
or synthetic pearl.
Seed pearl: Refers to a pearl, either natural, cultured or imitation,
measuring 2 millimeters or less. Use "cultured" and "imitation"
Places of origin: The terms Oriental (from the Persian Gulf),
Biwa (from the freshwater lakes and rivers of Japan), South Sea (from mollusks
in Australia and the South Pacific islands) and Tahitian (from French Polynesia
and the Cook Islands) may be used in the names of pearls and cultured pearls
only if they come from these areas. (For example, "Biwa" was used
inappropriately for similar types of pearls that came from China.)
If the pearl is cultured, the word "cultured" must be used
with the geographical description.
Adapted from the "JA Guide to the FTC Guidelines."
- by Stacey King Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.