October 7, 1999
JVC Opposes GE's Request to FTC
The Jewelers Vigilance Committee has asked to the Federal Trade Commission to disregard General Electric's request that undetectable gem alterations, including its GE POL process for diamonds, be exempt from revisions to the FTC Guides for the Jewelry Industry.
The FTC proposed in June that all gem treatments affecting the value of a gemstone be disclosed and asked the industry to comment on the proposed change. GE said in a letter dated Sept. 2 that it hadn't yet determined whether GE POL diamonds would sell for less than their untreated counterparts. (Read related story.)
Cecilia Gardner, JVC executive director and general counsel, disagreed in a recent letter to the FTC, saying it's critical the FTC require disclosure of permanent, undetectable treatments that affect the value of a gemstone to avoid deception. "A stone subjected to a treatment, no matter how beneficial, would inevitably be priced differently than the same stone with the same qualities and characteristics achieved without treatment," she said. "No reasonable consumer would pay the same price for a treated diamond as an untreated diamond of the same quality and color."
Gardner also disagrees with GE's claim that GE POL is more part of the manufacturing process than a treatment. "GE has recently announced that the treatment involves heat and high pressure to mimic an organic process which would otherwise take millions, if not billions, of years," she said. "If so, this is hardly a routine manufacturing step in the diamond manufacturing process."
- by Peggy Jo Donahue