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FTC Jewelry guide, misleading and deceptive practices


#1

Hi, all- Whilst drinking my morning coffee, I reviewed the FTC
Jewelry Guides, with the comments as posted in the Federal Register.
I highly recommend reviewing the Guide comments for two reasons;
first, they provide an explanation of the background, the industry
input considered, and the rationale for specific rules published in
the body of the guide. Thus, they provide context. Second, I know
that some on this list feel that the FTC rules are arbitrary,
capricious, bureaucratic governmental gobbledygoo, but a read of the
comments will demonstrate that the current rules were developed
based on a proposal from the JVC, with extensive input from trade
organizations such as AGTA and the GIA, as well as input from those
individual businesses which cared to comment on the proposal. The
intent of the Guides is to protect both consumers and honest
businesses.

You can read the rule with comments here-

http://www.gemscape.com/html/ftcguide.htm

All that being said, I am pretty much at wit’s end with all of the
marketing I am seeing that is misleading and deceptive according to
the guide. One practice which is ubiquitous is the selling of
strung, mass-produced gemstone and silver beads as “handmade.” or
even “handmade by the artist.” My assumption is that this is most
often done in good faith by beaders who are proud of their work
(justifiably, I am not bashing, here) but unaware of the legal
meaning of the term, and who want to identify the fact that they
created the finished product in question. Still, AFAIK, if the item
in question is wholly or partially composed of precious
metal, or an alloy or imitation thereof, then the restrictions of
the Guides apply. Therefore, it is misleading and deceptive for the
finished product to be sold as “handmade” if the finished piece is
composed of pre-formed pieces rather than being hand-fashioned from
raw materials such as sheet, wire or ingot.

Why do I care? Because I start with slabs and chunks of stone, and
metal sheet and wire. I cut and grind, saw and hammer, heat and
quench. And I have a fair amount of time invested in my finished
pieces. My work is truly handmade, and that label, accurately
applied, has a market value. That value is diluted when it is
misapplied to products which are not handmade. Thus, it is not only
the consumer but myself and all others who make and sell handmade
work who suffer injury when the term is applied in a misleading or
deceptive fashion. So when I find myself selling at the same show
with someone who describes their work as handmade, but who’s
involvement with the finished piece is limited to the aesthetic
decision of which beads and findings to string, and the subsequent
assemblage of those beads and findings on a strand of tigertail, I
feel that their competition is unfair. Accurate verbiage, such as
"designed and assembled by" would be welcomed.

Then on another level entirely are the delibarate and outright
liars, those who knowingly sell lab-created stones not as imitation
or synthetic but as “genuine,” and those who sell purchased,
mass-produced items as their own handmade work.

They are everywhere.

So what is to be done? Obviously, the FTC is not adequately staffed
to go from show to show and storefront to storefront to enforce
compliance; they depend on the consumer, and on us, to file
complaints when the rules are not being followed. But the consumer
is generally unaware of the legalities, and we are generally not
taking the responsibility to ensure that these misleading and
deceptive practices are addressed.

If we don’t take action against widespread, misleading and deceptive
practices in our industry, we have it coming when the industry is
depicted as dishonest and unethical. What is the right thing for us
to do?

Lee Einer
Dos Manos Jewelry
http://www.dosmanosjewelry.com


#2
Accurate verbiage, such as "designed and assembled by" would be
welcomed. 

Well, I don’t like the term “assembled” - it conjures visions of a
summer spent in a “jewelry” factory running a punch press, with no
say as to what I made.

But I do hear your pain. How about “Designed and hand-crafted
by…”? Or - as I see it - the jewelry IS hand made, even if its
constituent parts are not.

Tas <-currently a beader, but formerly and futurely a silversmith
again


#3

Lee - thanks for an interesting post. In response: leaving the
legal definitions aside, if it is ok to use “raw materials such as
sheet, wire or ingot”, which you did not fashion, why is it NOT ok to
use raw materials such as cut stones or beads, which you did not
fashion? Yes, there IS a difference between a bead YOU made, and one
you bought - but I firmly believe consumers DO know this! And if it
matters to them (I don’t think it does to most) they will purchase
the piece that has components the artist made. As a consumer myself,
I prefer items that feature components that are made by the artist,
although I understand and expect to pay more for that. As a creator
and seller of jewelry, I realize that while a large part of my
particular market also appreciates artist-created components, very
few are both willing and able to pay for that. Many ARE willing and
able to pay for purchased components put together with “aesthetic
decision” (I think I rather like that term ), rather than buying
same old same old at Wal-Mart.

Coming at the field of jewelry from the “fine arts”, I am accustomed
to purchasing pre-stretched canvas that has already been sized, and
then painting on it. My finished painting is still a “handmade
original”. No one cares that I did not weave or stretch or size the
canvas - or make the paints! It was my artististic “vision” that
brought the piece into being. I purchase zinc plates and slabs of
linoleum for printmaking, and pre-stretched screens for silk
screening - and use pre-made paper and inks. The finished prints are
still considered “handmade original” works. Again, no one expects me
to have actually made all the components myself. They DO expect to
see evidence of my artistic vision. And yes, there ARE artists who
DO make their own paint or ink, and who do make their own paper to
print on (I make paper, but don’t usually print on it - my handmade
paper is generally a finished work of art in and of itself), and who
do stretch and size their own canvas (although I don’t know of any
who weave their own canvas, but there could be!) - but they are VERY
few and far between! I, personally, consider the cut stones that I
buy and the beads that I buy to be in the same category as the
pre-stretched canvas that I buy and the paint I buy. These are the
"components" that I, as an artist, will put together to create a
finished piece of whatever. When I am done, none of the components
are the “same” as they were when I began, and I have used my skills
and vision to create something that did not exist before.

Does this have the same value as a piece by someone like you who has
created most of the components themselves? Probably not. To me it
certainly doesn’t. In fact, I have visited your web site before, and
particularly love your work, as your aesthetic “speaks” to me
personally. To me, knowing that the person cut the stone and created
the settings adds value to the piece. Value, however, is in the eye
of the purchaser. And the difference may, or may not, matter to
them.

I am careful in selling my work to be quite clear to the purchaser
that I don’t cut the stones myself; that I don’t make most of the
beads myself; and as to the settings, chains, etc. I am quite clear
as to which are my creations, and which I have purchased. That said,
I DO consider my work to be “handmade” in the same way my paintings
and prints are “handmade”. While I realize that is not in accordance
with FTC guidelines, I don’t think most consumers would understand
why the FTC doesn’t consider much of what I, or others like me, make
to be “handmade”. And I don’t think to most shows it would matter
either. I just went through some prospectuses (sp?) I have on hand,
and most just specify something along the lines of “quality
handcrafted”. Which means items created of purchased components put
together with good “aesthetic decision” are fine with them. The
Smithsonian show is the only one I have on hand that specifically
includes “manufactured components” in its list of prohibited items.
A new show that will be in North Augusta, SC, that is aiming to be a
"high end" show also has a prohibition, although slightly different
"excluded are commercially manufactured items, items made exclusively
from commercial molds, and mass-produced items." This seems a bit
more nebulous to me. I would interpret that one to mean that what I
do, using purchased components but putting them together to create
something that has never existed before, is ok. Selling a piece that
someone else made in totality is not ok. Others might interpret it
differently. I would interpret the Smithsonian one to specifically
exclude most of what I do, since it specifically addresses
manufactured components.

From a purely economic standpoint, if the craft/art fairs in my area
were as strict in their interpretation as you are suggesting, and as
the Smithsonian is, there would BE no fairs (or very small ones)!
There is not a “critical mass” of folks who genuinely make ALL the
parts of their work to fill the fairs. Most people use at least some
purchased components, whether it is wooden dowels, or doll eyes, or
pillow fillings, or necklace clasps, or whatever.

I think we have a great need for the shows like the Smithsonian,
which DO exclude all but completely “made by the artist” work, to
really showcase the “top” of the various fields. The educational
value is enormous. I also think we have a need for the rest of the
shows, which provide folks with the opportunity to purchase items
that do have “aesthetic decision”, that have a unique personality
that comes from the artist, and that give folks a chance to own what
they consider to be “handmade” work, at a price that they can afford.

So I don’t really think I agree with you that “it is not only the
consumer but myself and all others who make and sell handmade work
who suffer injury when the term is applied in a misleading or
deceptive fashion.” Quite truthfully, I suspect that most consumers
DO consider the work to be “handmade”, and are not “suffering
injury”. I think if you are “suffering injury” then it may be a
marketing/placement/education issue. As I said, I am quite clear on
what I created completely, and what I created using purchased
components. I have seen plenty of booths that are not. Perhaps you
would be best served by creating a display with photos that show you
doing the various parts of the process, and placing it prominently
in your booth so that folks immediately know that unlike others, YOU
cut your own stones, etc.? Alternatively, you can choose to be very
selective in what shows you enter, and only enter those that ARE
excluding manufactured components. Then, if there is someone there
using prohibited components, you would have grounds to take it up
with the show staff.

Before I started making jewelry, when I would purchase jewelry, if I
did so from a jewelry store or gift shop, it was with the complete
understanding that this was a “manufactured” piece. I didn’t buy it
because it was or wasn’t “manufactured”, but because I liked it! If
I also wanted “handmade” I bought it at a fair from an artist, or
from a craft gallery. Then, my understanding was that it exhibited
an “aesthetic decision” that appealed to me. While I have some
pieces that are completely handmade by the artist, as far as I can
tell, I have many more that incorporate what are (and were when I
purchased the piece) obviously manufactured components. I enjoy
those just as much as the completely handmade ones. If you gave 10
people the same 10 manufactured components, they would be unlikely to
put them together in the same way. So what I am enjoying is the way
this particular artist “saw” the components and what they did with
them. Do/did I expect to pay a different price for component pieces?
Absolutely! Do I have as many totally handmade pieces as component
pieces? No way - can’t and couldn’t afford it!

Again - there IS a market for both types of work. Yes, they are
quite different. And I agree with you completely that exhibitors and
stores need to be quite clear about who made what. If you get a
consumer started buying pieces with “aesthetic decision” and educate
them, you may “grow” them to the point that they will start to buy
some pieces that are completely handmade.

I would love to eventually develop the skills to make all the
individual parts of my work myself, but I know that is going to be a
long time coming. In the meantime, I enjoy creating jewelry, and the
people who buy my work enjoy wearing it, even knowing that I did not
cut the stones or make most of the beads or all of the settings. To
them, this is ok.

You finished by asking “what is the right thing for us to do”, and I
think education is key. The more we can explain to people the
difference between a treated and an untreated stone; between a
handmade bead and a machine made bead; between stones cut by the
artist or an individual lapidarist (?) and mass cut by machine; the
more we will “grow” the market for the very special pieces that are
totally “handmade” by FTC rules. I like to talk to my customers
partly because I DO want to tell them these things, and explain why
this stone is larger but costs less, and this one is smaller but
costs more. This is one “advantage” to the demos that have been
discussed recently. Most people have no clue how jewelry is made.
As they can actually see that creation in progress they will gain a
greater appreciation for its value.

Again, thanks for the post Lee - very thought provoking, even if my
opinion (which is just that, my opinion!) and yours don’t completely
jibe. It will certainly make me read a show prospectus more
carefully, and continue to be careful in how I present my work.

Beth in SC where it finally feels like fall is here


#4

Hi, Beth-

Sincere thanks for your compliments on my work.

You stated in your post,

  leaving the legal definitions aside, if it is ok to use "raw
materials such as sheet, wire or ingot", which you did not fashion,
why is it NOT ok to use raw materials such as cut stones or beads,
which you did not fashion? 

This is the key, Beth-

Why would you begin by leaving legal definitions aside? They were
developed based on consultation with jewelry trade organizations and
jewelry businesses, in order to establish definitions which would
be unambiguous and which would afford protection to both to the
trade and the consumer. The reason why it is ok to use “raw
materials such as sheet, wire or ingot” and not premade components,
is that the former are_ raw materials_, from which you must actually
hand-make your jewelry, as opposed to premade components which one
only needs to assemble. Another reason why one is OK and the other
is not is that such is the determination of the US Fair Trade
Commission.

I realize that most painters don’t mix their own paint, or stretch
their own canvas. I am admittedly unaquainted with the term
"handmade" as it applies to paintings and lithographs. I was not
speaking about these other areas of artistic endeavor, though. The
part of my post which we are now discussing dealt with the term
"handmade" specifically as it applies to jewelry, as the terms
"handmade" and “jewelry” are defined by the FTC.

I am not asking anyone to denigrate their work. I believe that we
are all capable of describing our work in a way which is clear and
which communicates respect for what we do, without resorting to the
use of terms in ways which have been determined to be misleading and
deceptive.

Regards,

Lee Einer
www.dosmanosjewelry.com


#5

Beth, Very interesting reply with many right on comments. I wonder
about the more restrictive shows, does that mean nothing with
Pearls, gold, silver, etc.? Does a chain lose hand made status
because the chain maker did not pan the gold and process it into
wire? Some decisions do not make sense.

You bring to mind something I have been discussing on the Faceter’s
List. When a piece of fine jewelry is credited to the designer or
fabricator, why is there no mention of the stone cutter? I think
Faceters are left out of the equation and that is not how it should
be. They deserve name recognition as well.

When I hear beads put down as not being “natural,” I wonder, do the
components not come from the earth? So they take heat to reform,
still basically they consist of sand and whatever.

I think it is easy to put something down, we need to take the higher
road. I totally agree 10 sets of the same component will result in
10 different end products. I took up silver smithing to make my bead
designs different than others, then I took up lapidary, to make them
even more unique.


#6
ccurate verbiage, such as "designed and assembled by" would be
welcomed. 

Well, I don’t like the term “assembled” - it conjures visions of a
summer spent in a “jewelry” factory running a punch press, with no
say as to what I made.

But I do hear your pain. How about “Designed and hand-crafted by…”

Tas


#7
 I wonder about the more restrictive shows, does that mean nothing
with Pearls, gold, silver, etc.? 

I’ve often wondered about pearls too. If I make a piece using
nothing but wire and pearls, is it handmade? A lot of my jewelry is
nothing more than wire and pearls; then again, a lot of my jewelry is
wire and which I do not drill or facet myself - but the
same amount of work goes into a pair of earrings with a pearl as a
gemstone - based on the FTC guidelines, it would seem the the
earrings with pearls might be okay to claim as handmade, while the
ones with stones (or swarovski beads, etc) would not be - even though
the same amount of work may have gone into each piece, ie, making the
wire components and adding a bead or two. then again, I buy my pearls
pre-drilled, so maybe that disqualifies them from use in a "handmade"
piece as well.

Anyway, I’m not sure I’ll ever understand the logic behind the rules
entirely, but I try to clarify to my customers which aspects of my
jewelry are handmade by me and which are premade components. I want
them to know that my jewelry is not mass manufactured, but also to
understand that there is a difference between earrings made with a
premade french wire and headpins versus the earwires that I make
myself in different shapes. Yes, I assemble everything by hand, but
some of my work is “more” handmade than others.

– Leah
www.michondesign.com
@Leah2


#8
   I think it is easy to put something down, we need to take the
higher road. I totally agree 10 sets of the same component will
result in 10 different end products. I took up silver smithing to
make my bead designs different than others, then I took up
lapidary, to make them even more unique. 

Teresa, what I think you are missing is

1). This is not an issue of my personal definition of “handmade” vs
yours or someone elses. The definition of the term “handmade” as it
applies to jewelry (as well as the definition of “jewelry,” itself")
has been set forth, officially, in writing, by the US Fair Trade
Commission. Deliberate misuse of the term to advertise one’s product
can result in a variety of consequences ranging from “educational
contact” with the FTC to imposition of civil penalties. The Jewelry
Guide states

Sec. 23.3 Misuse of the terms hand-made,''hand-polished,’’ etc.

(a) It is unfair or deceptive to represent, directly or by
implication, that any industry product is hand-made or hand-wrought
unless the entire shaping and forming of such product from raw
materials and its finishing and decoration were accomplished by hand
labor and manually-controlled methods which permit the maker to
control and vary the construction, shape, design, and finish of each
part of each individual product.

Note to paragraph (a): As used herein, ``raw materials’’ include
bulk sheet, strip, wire, and similar items that have not been cut,
shaped, or formed into jewelry parts, semi-finished parts, or
blanks.

What we are talking about is no more subjective than the requirement
that one stop at a red light, and go on the green.

2.) I am not “putting down” beading at all. I am simply bringing to
the attention of the Orchid community the fact that many are
incorrectly/inaccurately labeling products as “handmade” which are
in fact only hand-assembled, and I am asking what can be done to
correct the problem.

3). Contrary to your implication, I am taking the higher road by
presenting this issue for frank and open discussion. I could simply
file formal complaints with the FTC against businesses which I
observe engaging in this practice. That would be a low road, and
injurious to those who may be mislabeling their work simply because
they are unaware of the definition of the term under US regulation
as it applies to jewelry. I could also do what many do, and avoid
confronting the issue out of a fear of “making waves.” That is
probably the lowest road of all.

Lee Einer


#9

Leah, Lee, I do not see all questions well answered in the
guidelines. I believe the raw material needs to be reevaluated and
better defined. There are too many unclear qualifications.

I believe Lee has a particular issue, hand made, hand assembled,
hand fabricated, I would believe some of these are incorrectly
identified because of semantics rather than intent to deceive. I do
prefer to think well of my fellow man, obvious cheaters are
transparent to all.

Teresa


#10

Actually, just because something is a law does NOT make it a "good"
law. Fortunately our founding fathers realized this, and our laws are
designed so that they CAN be changed if needed. I would like a more
open discussion on whether, in fact, this needs to happen. From the
posts so far, I rather think it does. There are many of us out there
who use “some” parts that we did not make ourselves in completeing a
finished piece that we DID make ourselves. Then there are those who
make all the parts themselves, but they did not mine the minerals or
gems! So where to draw a line, and I rather think whether there
needs to be more than one line, are good questions, and once again I
am glad Lee brought it up!

There is some really wonderful, incredibly artistic, beading work
being done. Obcviously, these artists did not make their beads. I
personally don’t see this as being any less “handmade” than someone
who facets and creates settings for their work.

So perhaps we need to have the FTC establish multiple categories of
work, with the term “handmade” meaning perhaps different things in
different categories?

How do other countries handle this issue?

Thanks!
Beth in SC


#11

Hey, check out the Southwestern Association for Indian Art’s
guidelines for handmade Indian art.
http://www.swaia.org/standards.php The SWAIA is well respected as
they tightly regulate which Native American crafts may enter the
prestigious Santa Fe Indian Market. Buyers (including really big
deal galleries) are told the jewelry is handmade by an official
tribal member who is also the seller. SWAIA personnel check each and
every vendor at the show and will not allow anything but handmade
Indian art. But their SWAIA definition of ‘handmade’ includes the
use of manufactured findings such as jump rings, clasps etc. As
prestigious as they are, it appears their definition of handmade and
the FTC are different. I wonder why the FTC has not raided the Santa
Fe Indian Market? Maybe I am not grasping missing something? Diana


#12

For you beaders out there, I just posted a note under Beadazzled_qjb
regarding the Santa Fe Indian Market. Not only do they allow
manufactured findings, but beaders do not have to have made their own
beads. They can purchase them pre-made and string them into a
wonderful design. However they must disclose that they did not make
the beads. Seems like most shows I know of when it comes to
’handmade’. Without these concessions, the Santa Fe Indian Market
would have so few vendors that the big galleries from all over the
world may not make the trip. As far as I can tell, the FTC has not
tried to shut down this market nor limit the types of jewelry the
SWAIA allows into its ‘handmade’ shows. Diana


#13

Folks if you are interested in the FTC guides you need to read the
whole thing before you jump off the deep end in your assumptions.
So far this discussion has been talking about beads and trying to
apply the rules on metal work (Section 23.3 ) to them. The section
on the term “Handmade” is in reference to the metal work not stones
or beads. If you make the metal parts of the necklace by hand within
the definitions of section 23.3 then you can call it handmade. If
you use any metal bead, metal clasp or metal finding that you bought
then you can’t its pretty simple. There are other sections that
cover stones and pearls There is no section on other forms of beads.

Most craftspersons who use the term handmade are really trying to

put ownership on the design. To say that it is something that they
created. So fine just say that you created the object don’t get hung
up in this term “Handmade”. The term “Handmade” is defined in the
FTC guidelines for a reason. There a group of makers who do create
their work from the basic raw materials and they should be allowed
to have a way to differentiate their work from those of us who use
manufactured findings, casting and other time savers, shortcuts and
production methods. There are people who use the term deceptively
so it has become regulated. So avoid the problem come up with new
terms to take ownership of your work but don’t try to take the term
that refers to another kind of work.

Jim James Binnion Metal Arts Phone (360) 756-6550 Toll Free (877) 408
7287 Fax (360) 756-2160 http://www.mokume-gane.com @James_Binnion
Member of the Better Business Bureau


#14

The SWAIA is merely being reasonable. The window of any artist’s time
to create is limited, as millenia of experience will attest. Very
"nuts-and-bolts" parts are more reasonably turned out en-masse to
free up the artist’s limited lifespan for broader statements in the
form of bodily ornamentation. The artist that does make the “nuts and
bolts” does so in such a unique way that those once prosaic parts get
a new expression.

What gets no approval in SWAIA is a pre-fab design element, like a
bracelet link, a concho, or a belt buckle face. Those who make the
pre-fab stuff, my company included, publish and actively circulate
catalogs with the pre-fab stuff depicted clearly and life-size. The
production of an affordable “look” in personal adornment puts bread
on many a table, and pays taxes, too.

I grew up in Gallup, NM, in the milieu of the Inter-Tribal Indian
Ceremonial. The ITIC Association puts on a judged show of Native
arts, with stringent guidelines as to what is acceptable for show or
sale. Discriminating buyers are invited to come to Gallup in August
and check it out!

Dan Woodard


#15

Mr. Binnion-

Thank you for your post. I agree in substance, but I do have a some
reservations.

I have read the Jewelry Guides, as well as the comments thereon
published in the Federal Register. I have not seen any language
limiting the application of Guide 23.3 to metals. In fact, the
Federal Register notice for the last major revision (May 30, 1996)
states

  B. Category I: Secs. 23.1-23.4 

  Guides in this part apply to all industry products regardless
  of their composition. 

  and 

  C. Metals (Category II): Secs. 23.5-23.8 

  Guides in Category II, in both the current Guides and the JVC
  petition, apply to industry products composed in whole or in
  part of precious metal. In the JVC petition, this category also
  includes a proposed standard for pewter. 

So it would appear based on this that the provisions of Guide# 23.3
apply to all industry products regardless of composition. While
there are Guides that pertain solely to metals, those fall within
Sections 23.5 to 23.8, according to the language above. This is
reinforced by the language of Guide 23.3 itself, which states in
pertinent part that

  (a) It is unfair or deceptive to represent, directly or by
  implication, that any industry product is hand-made or
  hand-wrought unless the entire shaping and forming of such
  product from raw materials and its finishing and decoration
  were accomplished by hand labor and manually-controlled methods
  which permit the maker to control and vary the construction,
  shape, design, and finish of each part of each individual
  product. 

The language refers not solely to metals, but to any industry
product. “Industry product” is in turn defined in Section 23.0,
which states

  (a) These guides apply to jewelry industry products, which
  include, but are not limited to, the following: gemstones and
  their laboratory-created and imitation substitutes; natural
  and cultured pearls and their imitations; and metallic watch
  bands not permanently attached to watches.^1 These guides also
  apply to articles, including optical frames, pens and pencils,
  flatware, and hollowware, fabricated from precious metals
  (gold, silver and platinum group metals), precious metal
  alloys, and their imitations. These guides also apply to all
  articles made from pewter. For the purposes of these guides,
  all articles covered by these guides are defined as "industry
  products." 

Note that the definition of jewelry industry products includes the
items and materials named, but is not limited to those named
materials. The FTC cast a pretty broad net here. The only way for
someone to credibly claim that the language of Jewelry Guide 23.3
does not apply to their work is to establish that their product does
not contain any of the listed items _and in addition _is not a
product of the jewelry industry.

Your post implies that there is a portion of the Guides which we
have not read and which limits the scope of Guide 23.3 to metals. If
you would be so kind, please post to the list the Guide language
which you believe we need to read.

I do agree that the listing of raw materials under 23.3 suggests
that it is addressing the metal portion(s) of industry products. It
is awful hard to fashion a cabochon or a lampworked bead from sheet,
wire or ingot. And it is largely the metalwork which is my issue- I
don’t expect that jewelry artists cut their own stones, but one
can’t, according to the FTC guide, even according to your reading,
be using cast, mass-produced metal spacers, or mass-produced metal
beads, or mass produced findings, and legitimately claim that one’s
product is handmade. To do so is to counterfeit value for one’s
work, while at the same time diluting the value of the work of
artists who actually do handmake their work.

I also agree that there is language available for those who wish to
indicate that they made the item. Made by___, crafted by___, both
convey this without falsely claiming that the finished product is
handmade. I am not interested in nitpicking, but the FTC Jewelry
Guides make no exceptions for beads, and those selling work which
incorporates beads should be held to the same standards as the rest
of us.

Lee Einer
Dos Manos Jewelry


#16
     I wonder why the FTC has not raided the Santa Fe Indian
Market? Maybe I am not grasping missing something? Diana 

No Diana, it is the FTC that is missing something, and the Santa Fe
Indian Market which is “getting” it, and that is if you exclude
manufactured findings you exclude a large quantity of wonderfully
artistic and creative work done almost entirely by hand. Most
purchasers are not interested in the artistic value of the findings,
but in the artistic value of the work as a whole - or else they are
totally uninterested in the artistic value at all, and only in
whether it will match a given outfit or fit their “persona”. Using
manufactured findings, to most purchasers, is the same things as
using manufactured cloth and thread to sew a quilt - the quilt is
still “handmade”.

In fact, in quilting, both hand stitched and machine stitched quilts
made by an individual or quilting group (as opposed to being quilted
whole by a manufacturing machine) are considered handmade, although
there is a greater value attached to the handstitched quilts by most
people. This is perhaps quite relevant to the current discussion -
all are handmade, with the artist being responsible for indicating
whether it is hand pieced and stitched, or machine stitched, or on
printed material that is hand stitched, or printed material that is
machine stitched. There are different “values” to each of these
categories, but all are considered to be handmade. Some collectors
buy them all, some only buy certain categories.

This would be much like the difference between what Lee does, where
he is crafting all the parts, and what I do when I purchase findings
and beads and create a piece, or what I do when I purchase beads or
stones and make my own findings - multiple levels of handmade, and
corresponding multiple values.

This makes much more sense to me than what the FTC seems to be
saying with relation to jewelry.

Just my opinion.
Beth in SC


#17

It seems to me that this is a case of “Everybody’s right” - except
the FTC. This discussion has revealed that the FTC doesn’t
understand the realities of jewelry/beadwork. By their definitions,
a complicated 3-dimensional sculpture made of seed beads and wire is
labeled “assembled” in the same way as a charm bracelet which uses a
mass-produced bracelet and dollar-a-barrel charms. We know that’s
not the way of it. What can we do? Is there an ombudsperson who
deals with the FTC?

Tas


#18

I know I shouldn’t be getting into this, but the phrase that sticks
out is “jewelry industry.” Weren’t the FTC guidelines written with an
"industry" in mind? They sound to me as if they are saying, “If you
have a jewelry factory, you cannot claim that your product is
handmade unless your employees are doing [x, y, & z].”

If we apply these standards to studio jewelers, the most exquisitely
granulated piece cannot be called handmade unless the maker either
uses no stones or is a lapidary, Even one diamond would disqualify
it. There is something so counter-intuitive about this that, if it
really is meant to be applied to (for example) the pieces touring in
"The Art of Gold" show, I can only throw up my hands and say, “So
what to you expect from a government as insane as ours?”

Lisa Orlando
Aphrodite’s Ornaments
Benicia, CA


#19
   If we apply these standards to studio jewelers, the most
exquisitely granulated piece cannot be called handmade unless the
maker either uses no stones or is a lapidary, 

Read the guides before you go off the deep end. There is no mention
of stones in the section about the deceptive use of the word
handmade. That section only refers to the metal content of the
piece. As long as the metal part is hand made according to the
guides then you can use any stone or glass you want in the piece and
still call it hand made.

Jim Binnion

James Binnion Metal Arts
Phone (360) 756-6550
Toll Free (877) 408 7287
Fax (360) 756-2160


@James_Binnion
Member of the Better Business Bureau


#20

A few of you have responded to my post about the definition of
’handmade’ as put forth by the SWAIA for the Santa Fe Indian market.
Thank you. I agree with all of you. I can’t quite lay my hands on
it at the moment, but I read an interesting article a while ago. I
came across it as I began (in the past few months) making a living
out of selling authentic Native American jewelry along with my own
Native inspired pieces. As I recall, the article indicated that the
FTC in part developed its guidelines to protect the value of handmade
jewelry made by Native Americans. Early in the venture of Native
Americans selling to the American public, they did not have easy
access to findings and so had to make everything by hand. So
’handmade’ was true for them.

The FTC definition meant that entrepreneurs trying to cash in on the
Indian jewelry market were kept somewhat at bay. Entrepreneurs were
mass producing manufactured ‘look alike’ Indian jewelry. Native
Americans trying to eke out a living via jewelry were hurt
financially. The FTC guidelines meant entrepreneurs could not call
their manufactured pieces ‘handmade’. The guidelines also helped the
buying public to understand the value/expense of authentic Native
American jewelry. Collectors of the Native arts could feel more
assured of their invested purchases. As today, there were certainly
consumers content to buy the cheaper manufactured pieces. These
buyers simply liked the popular look but were not concerned with
intrinsic value.

However, the guidelines meant to protect Natives Americans now works
against them. Commercial findings are readily available to everyone
now. Many Native artists trying to make a living would be
unrealistic not to save time by using manufactured components. They
simply would not be able to compete in a market filled with fakes.
Many natives are frustrated because they can no longer call their
handmade work using manufactured findings ‘handmade’. And so the FTC
guidelines now work against them, some of the very people it was
meant to protect. The SWAIA is more in touch with the times by
expanding the definition of ‘handmade’. The FTC is behind the times
and it appears should make some adjustments to its definition.
Certainly there are grades of handmade and it is the responsibility
of the artist to explain which components are handmade and which are
not. I like Beth Wickers point that handmade quilts are valued
according to the DEGREE to which they are handmade.

FTC, pay attention!

Diana
Desert Canyon Jewelry