November 27, 2002
JVC Identifies Underkarated Jewelry for CBS
The CBS Evening News with Dan Rather and the Florida State Attorney General's office turned to the Jewelers Vigilance Committee and its Precious Metals Testing Facility to help identify gold underkarating the misrepresentation of gold jewelry to consumers.
As carried on the CBS Evening News on Nov. 25, reporter Cynthia Bowers showed that in some low-end retailers and flea markets, jewelry represented as 10k and 14k gold is actually below stated karat quality. She issued an alert to consumer to beware and ask questions when purchasing jewelry this holiday season as well as all year.
JVC and Cecilia Gardner, Executive Director and General Counsel, also helped the Florida State Attorney General's office prepare an investigation of jewelry stores that misrepresent the quality of their products. The results of the investigation, announced Nov. 25, included charges against eight retailers in four Florida cities that represented underkarated jewelry as 10k or 14k gold.
Civil complaints were filed in Broward, Leon, Miami-Dade and Seminole counties and carry civil penalties of up to $10,000 per violation under Florida's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.
"The pieces that failed to meet minimum gold standards are nothing more than pretty yellow metal and are not gold under the the law," says Gardner. "When shopping for gold jewelry, look for the karat mark. Though the law does not require manufacturers to stamp a karat mark on fine jewelry, most do. If a jewelry manufacturer stamps a karat mark, the law does require that its registered trademark also appear next to it. And even if an item is not stamped, when a jewelry or other outlet sells to a consumer, they must indicate the item's karatage to the buyer in some way.
"As the sole legal organization safeguarding the interests and reputations of honest jewelers, JVC has is eager to weed out underkarated jewelry and to help expose merchants selling underkarated jewelry. We have assisted in many underkarating investigations and will continue our efforts to end this illegal practice," Gardner says.