BIG Newsletter: First Diamonds…Now Gold?


by Ann Arnold,  CSO The BIG Network

Pretty much everyone has heard about synthetic diamonds.  There has been much discussion, in the media as well as between colleagues and associates, regarding the potential impact these man made diamonds will have on our industry.



I was recently in New York at the MJSA show and heard about the newest issue we have to face – karat gold jewelry.

The Federal Trade Commission has released proposed revisions to its famed Jewelry Guides.



These standards regulate the claims and qualifications by which jewelry products can be sold to consumers, with their sole goal being the elimination of misrepresentation and deception.


The recent MJSA Journal does a fabulous job of outlining all the new proposed revisions.  One that has really given me the most pause, and means of alarm, is the proposal revision related to karat gold jewelry.


Currently, in order for jewelry to be labeled “gold”, it must be at least 10K.




“The new guidelines will allow for jewelry down to 6K to be classified as “gold”.





Here is an excerpt from MJSA’s article that explains this issue:


“When the FTC finally announced its proposals, they were met with mixed reactions.  The changes range from thesimple (a tidying up of duplicative language) to those that address technological developments over the past decade, especially in the areas of lab grown gems and gem treatments.


Some proposals have been applauded, others have raised questions and caused head scratching, and at least one has sparked concerns that, if adopted, it could actually lead to greater instances of deception.





Among the metals regulations,

the proposal to lower the threshold for gold and silver content generated the most debate, particularly in regard to gold.





Some observers – such as Jewelry Television, which pushed for the lower threshold in its 2012 comments – believe the change will (with the right technology) enable jewelry retailers to meet the public’s “significant demand for jewelry with gold less than 10k.”


Other observers have noted that allowing items below 10k (the current minimum) to be described as “karat gold” could actually open the way for increased confusion among consumers, many of whom equate that term with items having significant intrinsic value.





If marketers can use the term to describe both an 18k and a 6k product equally, then the bar to ensure consumer understanding has risen exponentially.




Not only will consumers need to understand the karatage system (or work with sellers that can explain it to them clearly), but adequate safeguards will be needed to provide accurate test comparisons (of corrosion, tarnish resistance, and durability) and police potential offenders—something that, in an international supply chain, can be very difficult to achieve.”



To read the full article and all the proposed changes, go to the MJSA Journal’s article titled

Standard Shifts FTC requests comments on proposed changes to its Jewelry Guides.




As I have always said, it is so important for us to all be aware of what is happening outside our own four walls. 

Some of these new proposed changes have me scratching my head.  How are we expected to
keep up with them all? 





We have organizations such as MJSA and JVC that are trying to make sense of it all.  JVC is organizing and working on getting the appropriate consumer statistics and feedback necessary to fight some of these proposals, butthe FTC has not given us much time.


Other organizations and companies are working on the scientific front, trying to compile data to show the FTC that the proposed changes don’t make sense.  Although there are some revisions that are well needed and make a lot of sense, I can only hope that others, like the karatage of gold revisions never see the light of day.  I can only see them causing more confusion to the consumer, and further devaluing the products we sell.




With the proposals released, it’s now the industry’s turn to comment. When reading the full article at the link below, you will find:

  • An outline showing the current guidelines
  • The FTC’s proposed revisions
  • Where applicable, the original recommendations of the industry associations


The FTC is currently accepting comments through Monday, April 4.


They can be sent through an online form at


(As before, a JVC-led coalition of associations, including MJSA, will prepare a response based on industry feedback.)



Make sure your voice is heard!