Professional Jeweler Archive: Jewelers Must Disclose Gem Treatments Affecting Value

March 2001

Professional Insider/In the Industry


Jewelers Must Disclose Gem Treatments Affecting Value

FTC makes long-awaited ruling


The Federal Trade Commission voted 5-0 to amend its Guides for the Jewelry Industry to require disclosure of gem treatments that significantly affect value.

The FTC concluded use of the term “significant value” in Section 23.22 of the Guides is necessary to limit disclosure to treatments that affect value enough to influence a consumer’s buying decision. Formerly, the Guides required disclosure only when a treatment was not permanent or required special care.

But in 1998, the Jewelers Vigilance Committee asked the FTC to add diamond laser drilling to its list of treatments that must be disclosed because it affects value. That caused the FTC to consider the wider issue of the value of any gem in its natural state vs. after a treatment. Because treated gems usually carry different price tags than untreated ones, the FTC concluded such differences must be disclosed to prevent unfair or deceptive practices.

The FTC declined to add language to protect retailers who are misled by suppliers about treatment, but promises to use discretion when enforcing the rule in such situations.

Meanwhile, JVC will work with the FTC to identify gem treatments that significantly affect value, are non-permanent or require special care. The FTC didn’t want to include a comprehensive list in its succinct Guides; instead it will publish the list in its consumer and business material.

More information on the revision is available at www.ftc.gov or by calling JVC at (212) 532-1919.

– Peggy Jo Donahue


Copyright © 2001 by Bond Communications