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Dishonesty regarding metals

I recently participated in a show, and one of the participants who
did wire wrapping was advertising her wires as being gold and
silver. She never once referred to them as gold filled or plated, or
silver toned metal.

I mentioned to her that this was misleading the purchasers who were
raving about being able to get gold as such a reasonable price. and
that she should inform them that they were getting gold filled, and
silver toned items.

She replied “well that would be poor marketing, and besides the
public does not know the difference nor do they care.” After some
more discussion during which time I told her that it was her ethical
duty to inform the public as to what they were getting, she heatedly
retorted that I should mind my own business.

So, back to my booth I went. and she continued to mislead the


I think the folks putting on the show had a right to know. Their
reputation for inviting vendors with integrity is on the line. No one
wants to be a tattle tale, but the lies being told in the name of
"marketing" by this vendor should have been called out.

Maybe a group of vendors could have approached the folks in charge
of the show. Having been in this position, as a competing vendor, it
makes me squeamish to call out a vendor who is misinforming the
public, but it reflects badly on all jewelers when one operates in
this way. I am happy to also observe that most of the vendors I have
been in shows with have had beautiful, well made goods and were
honest about their methods and materials.


There are more than ethical issues going on here. Out right
dishonesty is just the start. Criminal misrepresentation isn’t too
far a stretch in my mind. Were I in that that position, and the truth
being on my side I would have been vocal to the point of
embarrassment in the direction of the show management.

Just saying…

Don Meixner

There is a word for that practice. It is called fraud.

She replied "well that would be poor marketing, and besides the
public does not know the difference nor do they care." After some
more discussion during which time I told her that it was her
ethical duty to inform the public as to what they were getting, she
heatedly retorted that I should mind my own business. 

You shouldn’t have stopped there, Alma. You might have mentioned
that apparently, her customers were raving about being able to get
gold at a good price, so evidently, they DID know the difference.

You might have mentioned that misrepresenting gold filled metal as
gold not only is fraud, (far worse than poor marketing of course) but
also violates federal law. I wonder if the lady realized that her
actions constitute a crime?

And you might have mentioned that it IS your business, since when
someone decieves the public with fraudulent marketing, it makes the
whole industry, including you, look bad.

You had a lot of unfired ammo you could have used on this woman. You
might also have gotten the show organizer involved, as her actions
cast the show in bad light too.

Fraud and dishonesty in this business does all of us harm. You had
every right to stick your nose in her business, and could easily have
been more persistent had you wished.

Next time…

If it was a fact that the work she was selling as gold or silver was
in actuality plated or filled, then it seems to me that the
appropriate course of action (after she refused to come clean with
the public) was to report her to the show authorities.

This is not tattling or ratting out. It’s taking care of business.
As others have pointed out, this is fraud. It is also hurting
everyone else’s business.


On Etsy, the title descriptions often say “gold”, instead of
gold-filled, but most of the time in the actual product description
they do admit it is gold-filled or gold plated. Same with silver
items. What in particular annoys me is the misleading descriptions of
which is a complete free-for-all of misEtsy
does little to stop this, and when people who don’t speak English get
new sites, they perpetuate these truly idiotic errors. As a trained
proofreader and a gemologist, I formerly informed some vendors of the
errors, but it’s an avalanche of ignorance. I give up.

Mary Jane

Hi Alma, I would be very interested to know who you are referring to
in case I run into her at a show. I am a cmag member. Thanks, Vince
LaRochelle. If you want you can call my cell and we can do it
offline. 541 228 4308.

You are all correct in saying that the show promoters should be
aware of the fraudulent practice of one of the participants in
misrepresenting the metals being used.

If I do a show again in which that person participates, I will speak
to her again, and then if she persists in misleading the public I
will tell her that I intend to report the matter to the people in
charge of the showas what she is doing is fraud, and reflects on the
rest of the jewelers in the show.

Hopefully my warning will have some effect and she will change her
methods of doing business.


I agree with you 100% regarding show owners but as a gemologist and
former miners/cutters of peruvian gemstones i. e. blue opal,
pinkopal, chrysocolla, etc it is our experience (and I could
namenames of show owners but maybe subject to a lawsuit) that show
owners do not care. We have found fake peruvian blue opal being sold
in which show owners did nothing nor merchants. We had got even take
the persons to the state attorney general bureau ofconsumer affairs
in which they only demanded thatthe companies who did such
misrepresentations (fraud) pay the purchasers back plus any lab
testing fees. These fraudulent businesses were out still selling the
same merchandise and still misrepresenting such at other shows while
show owners did nothing. WE know of a very unscrupulous
peruviandealer in Lima Peru who sold at a Tuscon show over $5,000
worth of goods to be delivered which were never delivered in many
years with a signed sales contract to an Austrailian dealer we got
involved in. The who owner well known in the USA and Tuscon refused
to do a thing against the dealer despite proof of taking $5,000 and
never delivering the specimens or rough to the Australian dealer.
Whye Its because the show owners are about the money they take in
from dealers and have no ethics.

Ever ask why these jewelry shows (who we have approached with
Gemology courses for buyers and online courses) teach jewelry making
at their shows and venues but refuse to have Gemology courses and
metal testing courses taught to jewelry designerse

Lee Horowitz

That’s horrifying!!! If you will be in Tucson next year, please tell
us where.


This is happening ALL THE TIME now. As mentioned, Etsy is horrible
for this, as well as sellers offering imitation stones and not
mentioning the stones are imitation. For those of us jewelers, it’s
easy to distinguish just by looking at the price. For many buyers,
they don’t know the difference. Many, many items are being sold as
"gold" and they are obviously gold-filled or gold-plated. I once
contacted an Etsy seller asking if her 5mm round Alexandrite ring was
a real stone. I did this because one of my customers was horrified at
the price I was asking for a 5mm Alexandrite and sent me a link to
this seller’s ring. The ring was being sold for under $30 in sterling
silver with no mention of an imitation stone or cz. When she told me
it was imitation, I responded with a link to the FTC rules and
regulations. Instead of changing the listing, she replied with a “how
dare you” type of response. If that was me, as a new jeweler, I would
be horrified, change my listing right away and thank the person that
brought that to my attention. I’ve experienced the effects of this
by the growing number of customers that ask me if my silver will
flake off, what my gold rings are dipped in. I use sterling silver
and 14k or 18k gold - no plating or gold-filled. The sheer volume of
these questions has increased so much over the past few years that I
know it must mean there are a lot of confused customers out there. I
also describe the metal in everything that I sell. It doesn’t seem to
matter when you have many jewelers selling gold-plate or fill and
also describing it simply as gold. I see this on many fashion
websites also. And some well-known costume jewelry designers do this
too. It’s been something that I’ve been upset over for a few years
now and it’s getting worse. I’m pretty certain I’ve lost potential
business many times because a customer could buy a “gold” ring
somewhere else for $25. I’m constantly asked why my 14k yellow gold
piece is $300 when someone else is offering a 14k gold ring for $25.
I don’t know what the solution is to this growing problem.

Hello Michele, and others

I feel your pain. A local “arts & crafts” show - quotations used
because that is how it is advertised - continues to simply remind
applicants that theyexpect all offerings to be original,
hand-crafted or artist-altered (as in repurposed) by the vendor. In
fact several sellers, particularly of jewelry, continue to resell
junk stuff they have bought elsewhere. These people nodto the
’rules’ and offer a few original, sterling pieces, but 99%
obviouslylooks like what can be bought at Walmart.

This situation was brought to the attention of the show organizers,
but frankly, no one wanted to be the enforcer. Frustrating. I have
suggested thatthis show separate these resellers by having a flea
market section just forthem. Then everyone understands that those
booths are reselling and that the materials are unknown. That seemed
like a reasonable option to me, and they would still get revenue
from the booths. Not happening.

I will continue to do this show because it is indoor, an ongoing
contact forseveral of my clients, and it supports the local
hospital. Those of us whoare presenting original pieces and DO use
quality materials, will simply have to suck it up and be pleasant to
our faithful clients. bless them.

All this said, we should recognize the difficulty that organizers of
’art’ shows have. They can mandate a jury and set all kinds of
rules, but someone knowledgeable has to be hard-nosed about
enforcement. Not easy. AND, what can the organizer do if someone
refuses to obey the rules and when called on it, refuses to leave or
remove the offending piecese? Other than blackball that vendor for
the future, there is no real alternative.

Judy in Kansas, who respects the organizers that DO enforce their
rules. Those shows have an excellent reputation and their attendees
recognize it and make purchases… 'nuff said.

There is a difference between dishonesty, and correctly using titles
of online listings to market.

When using titles one should put words that a person would search
for - no one is going to search for “gold filled"or"gold plate” -
they want “gold”. That is not dishonest, illegal, or wrong - it is
creating a searchable title. One has to think “how would I word a
search if I were looking for this?” and be sure to put those key
words in the title.

THEN in the listing and any details in the listing (how they are set
up varies with the online company) THAT is where one should disclose
the nature of the “gold” or “silver” or “gemstone” or whatever. For
example eBay has a click down menu where you specify the main metal,
and the purity, etc. Same with stones I think. Etsy does NOT have
anything like that, so you have to put it in the listing yourself.
Adding that to their listing forms on Etsy might help. but some
people will ignore it even when it is there (proof is in the large
number of eBay sellers who mis-represent what they sell).

The title narrows it for someone searching, then they look at the
actual listing and decide if they want a piece that is 14k, or
gold-filled, or gold plated, or whatever.

Granted far too many sellers in various online venues either
don’tdisclose inside the listing, or “hide” the disclosure…

But using the term “gold” in the title is not dishonest - it is
creating a title to attract someone searching for the item you are
selling. Remember - gold is a material, but it is also a color.

Hope that made sense - a lot of folks don’t correctly understand
titles and how to create them to be sure your key words attract
potential buyers.

I clearly understand listing a title as simply “gold” for marketing
purposes. The problem arises when that is also what appears in the
item description, with no mention of gold-filled or gold-plate - just
"gold." It happens often.

I still think that listing something as simply “gold” for SEO
purposes smacks a bit of dishonesty. If you used the key words
"gold" and “filled” without a “-” between them, I think that the search
engines would still hit on “gold”. But I’m not an SEO expert…

Ahh, etsy. I knew something was up when they changed their ad fees.
Knew they were gonna try going IPO when they claimed to finesse their
advertising for the vendors of course. I was suddenly paying the same
monthly amount for under half the usually postings. Etsy is a huge
race to the bottom. Ever notice how something mainstream goes viral
and it’s suddenly $35 on etsy? Read carefully and it"s made from
aluminum? Thanks - no thanks. Waaay too many dishonest people on
there! And it’s not just the vendors! I had many people contact me
who sent me a picture of someone else’s work asking how much I would
charge to make it!!! I can pay google the same amount of money for
higher click thru rates on my own website. If you are serious about
your craft, think long and hard about joining etsy.


If you are serious about your craft, think long and hard about
joining etsy. 

so what’s your alternative ?

so what's your alternative ?

Hi all

I have this problem all the time. Not only is metal description not
right country of origin is also often a lie. So I made a flyer, for
Australia but you could adapt it pdf

all the best Richard