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FTC to Change Guidelines on Selling Jewelry

If you sell jewelry, online or otherwise, be aware that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is making changes to its Jewelry Guides. You have until April 4, 2016, to comment on the proposed changes before they take effect.

The FTC publishes the Jewelry Guides to provide advice to businesses on how to avoid making deceptive claims about precious metal, pewter, diamond, gemstone, and pearl products, and when disclosures should be made to avoid unfair or deceptive trade practices.

Amazon sellers may be familiar with these guidelines as the marketplace has strict rules about selling jewelry, including abiding by laws.

The Guides are formally called “Guides for the Jewelry, Precious Metals, and Pewter Industries.” The FTC sought public comment on the Guides in 2012 and held a public roundtable in 2013. The proposed revisions to the Guides are based on feedback gathered.

The Commission proposes revisions regarding below-threshold alloys, precious metal content of products containing more than one precious metal, surface application of precious metals, lead-glass filled stones, “cultured” diamonds, pearl treatments, varietals, and misuse of the word “gem.”

One change affecting lead-glass-filled stones would state that it would be unfair or deceptive to describe such a product as a “ruby” or “treated ruby,” for example.

Another proposed change would impact varietals – the FTC proposes adding a new section that states it is unfair or deceptive to mark or describe a product with an incorrect varietal name – for example, using the term “yellow emerald” to describe a golden beryl or heliodor.

A link to the text of the Federal Register Notice is available on the FTC website.

The website also contains information about submitting comments, and all comments received will be posted on the FTC website.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.