FTC Asks for Comment on Lower-Content Platinum

July 1, 2005

FTC Asks for Comment on Lower-Content Platinum

The Federal Trade Commission issued a request for public comment on amending the platinum section of the FTC Guides for the Jewelry, Precious Metals and Pewter Industries provide guidance on marking or describing jewelry containing between 500 and 850 parts per thousand pure platinum and no other platinum group metals.

Several large manufacturers recently introduced jewelry made of 585 platinum with no other group metals. Comments are due to the FTC by September 28. The Jewelers Vigilance Committee, which asked the FTC to seek comment on the issue earlier this year, will facilitate a response on behalf of the industry.

JVC will incorporate the results of research and surveys completed in conjunction with the Platinum Task Force, co-chaired by Jewelers of America and the Manufacturing Jewelers & Suppliers of America. "We look forward to working with all sectors of the industry to understand the current needs and views of the industry on this important topic," says Cecilia Gardner, JVC's executive director and general counsel. "The Platinum Task Force has compiled an impressive body of information and is prepared to provide perspective and industry-based input to the FTC from all stakeholders in the outcome."

JVC got involved after a company producing a 585 platinum jewelry line asked the FTC if it could mark its jewelry "585 Plat. 0 PGM" to indicate the jewelry contained no platinum group metals. As the rules stand, a piece of platinum jewelry below 85% platinum must be marked with the other platinum group metals it contains. The alloy must contain at least 950 parts per thousand of platinum or its group metals.

Some members of the industry say 585 platinum containing no other group metals could undermine consumer understanding of platinum jewelry as a pure product. There are also technical and quality issues involved. So far, the FTC's only comment was a staff opinion issued saying the proposed "585 Plat. O PGM," mark is neither prohibited nor allowed. It warned that the proposed product is sufficiently different from other platinum products that contain platinum group metals, so the mark alone is insufficient disclosure. In the letter, the FTC stated that additional information must be included to distinguish this metal from other platinum products when selling it.

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