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The Jewelers Vigilance Committee is committed to provide a guidance tool for the trade on the subject of silver and gold precious metal articles. New combinations and alloys of gold, silver and gold and other gold plated products are being developed for use in jewelry in this increasingly technological world. The information and guidance contained in this publication is not meant to be any form of legal advice. The legal standards that apply to the manufacture, sale and advertising of jewelry made of silver or gold are contained in three government regulations. The Federal Trade Commission Guides for the Jewelry, Precious Metal and Pewter Industries was published in its current form in 1996. The guidance contained in this publication is based on JVCa€™s interpretation of three regulatory systems as they act in combination: The National Gold and Silver Stamping Act, the FTCGuides and the Voluntary Product Standard PS 68-76. Many people in the jewelry industry believe that fineness of precious metal must be stamped on a jewelry item made of gold or silver.
If you do choose to quality stamp the jewelry item made of gold or silver, the law requires that you place a federally registered trademark in close proximity to the quality stamp.
Sellers of items composed of gold alloys must identify the karat quality of the gold in the item. When the electroplating meets the minimum fineness stated above and a minimum thickness equivalent to 2 .
An article of jewelry is described as a€?vermeila€? when there is a coating of gold over sterling silver, that is of substantial thickness. Jewelry made of gold and silver will be marked differently depending on whether the gold and silver are visibly distinguishable.
Sellers of silver objects can use the terms a€?solid silvera€? or a€?sterling silvera€? when they contain at least 925 PPT (parts per thousand) pure silver.
Silver coated or silver-plated objects must be so coated with silver as to provide a durable covering of the base metal on which it has been affixed. Stainless Steel, titanium and tungsten are not precious metals a€“ However, when such a product has been fully covered by any process, with a plating of gold alloy of not less than 10 karat fineness, the FTCrules for plating apply. The laws and regulations that govern the manufacture and sale of industry products made with silver and gold are well established.


The application of the law to these products is essential to ensure consumer confidence in these products.
These standards described in this brochure do not apply to products made of metals that are used in the manufacture of costume jewelry.
First, The National Gold and Silver Stamping Act is a federal law that was enacted in 1905. These guidelines establish the standards the FTC will apply to claims and representations at all levels of the trade about a€?industry productsa€? (jewelry and other objects) regarding any material aspect of the product. This standard was published by the US Department of Commerce, and reflects the accepted trade practice in the marking of articles made only of silver in combination with gold, either visually distinguishable or not, and includes articles where the gold fully covers the base. This has the effect of providing assurance to the purchaser that the itema€™s precious metal quality is guaranteed by the entity that stamps the item. To use the word a€?Golda€? without qualification means the product is 24-karat gold throughout. When the electroplating meets minimum fineness but not the minimum thickness stated above, identify the product as a€?Gold Flasheda€? or a€?Gold Washeda€?. Indistinguishable: If gold and silver are used in one article (alloyed or not), and are not visually distinguishable, you must disclose the amount of gold used. Distinguishable: When the two precious metals can be distinguished (yellow and white) the two metals can be marked similarly. For karat gold articles, you need not include in the assay for quality posts and nuts or metallic parts that are completely and permanently encased in a non-metallic covering a€“ i.e. For gold filled and plated articles, you need not include in your assay for quality joints, catches, screws, pin stems, etc.
Optical articles such as gold glasses can exclude for assay the hinges, washers, bushings and nuts of screw assemblies, the pads, the springs, etc.
Therefore, if the item assays at 892 parts per thousand pure silver, it cannot be called coin silver.
Because various objects are subject to different degrees of wear, the thickness of the coating on these objects (or parts of objects) does not have to be uniform. It would be a violation of accepted legal standards to use words to market jewelry made of these metals that imply that they are made of precious metals.


This publication can be used as a guide to achieve a greater understanding of the legal requirements for identifying, marking and marketing these products. Violations of this law carry sanctions that include forfeiture, civil and criminal monetary penalties, and even jail! This includes labeling, promotional material, and all other forms of marketing, including advertising. But in the US, you are required to identify the fineness of the quality of the precious metal, but you do not need to stamp it on the item itself. The manufacturera€™s duly registered trademark is usually stamped on the product - or the retailer can apply a registered stamp.
The quality mark must state a€?sterling silver + 10Kgolda€? preceded by a fraction representing the proportion of the weight of the gold to the entire weight of the metal in the article.
If the silver in the alloy assayed at 914 parts per thousand, it would not qualify to be called sterling silver. Further, it would be a deceptive trade practice to mislead consumers to believe that jewelry made of stainless steel, titanium or tungsten consists of precious metal. The intention of this brochure is to ensure a greater understanding of these laws so that they can be properly applied to the trade practice in this area and, therefore, provide clear, accurate consumer information.
This statue addresses standards for fineness of gold and silver, rules pertaining to the making and marking of gold and silver objects and provides for law suits that can be brought by competitors and jewelry trade associations for violations of its provisions.
Violations of these standards can lead to a FTC civil enforcement action that can impose both fines and injunctive relief. You can identify it on the invoice, on a hangtag, or on other descriptive material accompanying the piece. Anything that is less than 10 karat gold cannot be described as gold, even with the karat designation a€“ it is a pretty yellow metal a€“ but it is not gold!



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