Professional Jeweler Archive: JVC Uncovers Undercarating

January 2005

Merchandise / Data & Statistics

JVC Uncovers Undercarating

Testing focused on smaller diamonds

Sixty-seven percent of diamond jewelry the Jewelers Vigilance Committee bought and tested in a recent four-month undercover market study was undercarated.

JVC conducted the study to gauge the extent of undercarating – especially in small pieces with multiple diamonds – and to reinforce the need for retailers to monitor their inventories for quality assurance and to test their suppliers.

The watch-dog group bought 55 pieces of jewelry in various locations throughout metropolitan New York – the five boroughs of New York City, New Jersey and Long Island. The jewelry ranged from $150 to $2,900 retail and was bought from $100 million superseller stores, department stores, mall booths and boutiques. All of it had multiple diamonds and weights represented in decimals, not fractions (fractional representation is a range; decimal is a specific number. The Federal Trade Commission Guides for the Jewelry Industry require that total carat weights be correct to the second decimal point).

Of the 55 pieces of jewelry, 37 were undercarated. Three were less than 1% undercarated, 10 were less than 5% undercarated and 24 were over 5% undercarated. Of those 24, 10 pieces were 20% or more undercarated and one was 50% undercarated. Two were 45% undercarated.

“The results of this study indicate retailers need to utilize quality assurance measures to safeguard their inventories against undercarating,” says Cecilia L. Gardner, JVC executive director and general counsel. “Retailers who represent total carat weight to consumers are legally obligated to do so accurately. Misrepresentation can create legal liabilities for retailers.”

For the results of the survey, visit

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