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Hallmarking 9K gold in the USA


#1

In England, 9 carat gold alloy is called 9 carat gold, but as I
understand it, a 9 karat alloy cannot be called gold in the U.S., so
how should it be labeled?


#2

It must be at least 10K to be recognized as gold in the US. 9k has
no legal recognition here so you cannot mark or sell it as gold.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#3

Almost anything you want as long as you don’t call it gold. Federal
Trade Regulations are available

online http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/ib that define metals for
jewelry in the US. Just follow the “online” link above.

John


#4

Labeled or stamped on the metal?
If stamped, how about 9K


#5
If stamped, how about 9K 

Not legally in the US.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#6
Labeled or stamped on the metal? If stamped, how about 9K 

both are illegal in USA


#7
Labeled or stamped on the metal? If stamped, how about 9K 

The law says 10K is the minimum you can call or mark “gold”.
Americans prefer 14K, but some will settle for 10K. If anyone is
actually asking for 9ct, they are probably from UK, Ireland or
Australia where that is an acceptable standard.

I was just at a trade show for Irish goods. Several of the jewelers
know about the standard and specially manufacture in 10K for the
American market. But most of the reps for Irish jewelers are either
ignorant of the American law or willfully ignoring it. I have been
importing gold Irish jewelry for 16 years and not once has anyone,
consumer, customs agent or anyone else in a position to regulate,
shown the slightest interest or expressed knowledge of the rule.
Much more likely was the consumer who didn’t buy it because they
wanted 14K and 9 or 10 karat just didn’t seem like real gold to them.
Fortunately the same craftsmen who are obey the 10K rule are also
hip to the fact that American want 14K and offer everything in a 14K
also.

Stephen Walker


#8
Labeled or stamped on the metal? If stamped, how about 9K 

Nope. If it’s 9kt gold in America or anything less, too, you can’t
stampit ANYTHING relating to gold, and you can’t call it gold in
person or in print. Period, end of story. 9kt. is the minimum in the
UK, in the US it’s 10kt. It’s brass…


#9
both are illegal in USA 

How so? Why is it illegal, and what are the penalties? I’m curious
about other countries marking systems.

If you sold it as a gold alloy with a British hall mark of 9K, just
curious about how these things work.

Regards Charles A.


#10

Hi Guys,

Just so you know Australian standards are not carat marks, it’s
parts per thousand.

999 24
916 22
750 18
585 14
416 10
375 9

Now the minimum fineness, is a value where it technically cannot be
considered a precious metal alloy

Less than

375 Gold
850 Platinum
500 Palladium
800 Silver

However when you are dealing with copper alloys like shakudo, or
shibuichi, they become a gold/copper and a silver/copper alloy
respectively. With the Australian system they can be marked with the
parts per thousand more as a record than anything else. i.e shaduko
could be marked 050 (with the gold symbol enclosing the gold
component) and the chermical symbol “Cu” for copper without the
percentage of copper. If the alloy contains other elements then these
can be added to the string of hallmarks.

Overly complicated… maybe, but the customer knows what they’re
getting.

Regards Charles A.


#11

illegal because it is in violation of Federal Trade Commission
regulations as published. I do not have any idea of what fines, etc
they levy as I do not violate these regulations. Does not matter what
another country does. It is a “deceptive practice” in the US to use
the term “gold” for any alloy less than 10Kt gold.

This was emphasized in my Accredited Jewelry Professional course at
Gemological Institute of America.

john


#12
How so? Why is it illegal, and what are the penalties? I'm curious
about other countries marking systems. 

You are only allowed to use quality marks that are defined by the
Stamping Act and 9k is not a valid quality mark in the US. Only valid
marks may be referred to as gold so you cannot mark something as 11k,
12k or 9k gold. For reference to what is legal in the US go to

It is a criminal offense to violate the statute. Penalties can be
fines or even jail time.

If you sold it as a gold alloy with a British hall mark of 9K,
just curious about how these things work. 

I am not a lawyer but the only times I have read of people being
prosecuted is when someone deliberately sells under karat work in an
attempt to defraud the customer. At its core the stamping act is a
consumer protection law.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#13
If you sold it as a gold alloy with a British hall mark of 9K,
just curious about how these things work. 

You can go to pretty much any Irish import shop in the USA and buy a
9 ct gold claddagh ring with Irish hallmarks. It is technically
against the law in the USA to market anything less than 10K as "gold"
but in reality very few people know this and so far nobody in our
government has made it their business to fight the 9 carat menace.
(Which is an amazing oversight when you consider how eager the
government usually is to pester and nag businesses)

On the other hand, the actual customers prefer 14K. I sell some
Irish jewelry in 10K because it is made by what seems like the only
manufacturer in the world that actually cares that this is the law in
the US. But even 10K has a lot of consumer resistance. I do have some
customers that ask for 9 ct because they know that is what is usually
the material in Ireland and they want to be authentic that way but,
but they are very rare. Generally the cultural preference is that
Irish-Americans want better quality than what their ancestors settled
for in Ireland.

Since the price of gold has run up so high in the past few years I
have had a few customers asking about 10K to save some money, so this
situation could change. I heard it mentioned at the MJSA show that
one of the alloy dealers has been getting requests for very low karat
gold that will be marketed as some kind of brand name to avoid the
rules. So with price pressure, things are changing. But to answer the
question regarding 9 ct gold in the USA, very few actually care about
the law, nobody really wants it anyway, so it is very rarely a real
life issue.

Stephen Walker


#14

It’s one of those mysteries to me. Thou must not mark it – so it
goes unmarked and therefore could be taken for anything really by
the purchaser who might assume 10K. Surely it would be better, more
honest and more forthright just to be able to mark it 9K and have
done with it. But there is so much about humans I don’t understand.
I’m a bear with a very small brain.


#15
Does not matter what another country does. It is a "deceptive
practice" in the US to use the term "gold" for any alloy less than
10Kt gold. 

Regardless of the law, no one should ever use gold alloy of less than
10 karat. Copper and silver have limited solubility in each other. If
we alloy them, we get two types of crystals, which metallurgist call
alpha and beta. Alpha is a silver rich with some copper, and beta is
the other way. If we add some gold to the alloy, because of gold
ability to mix freely with either copper or silver, the alloy would
become more homogeneous, but not completely, until the amount of
gold, reaches 420 parts per 1000, or 10 karats. That is the reason
for the law, and even if no law, it still should be the rule.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#16
Does not matter what another country does. It is a "deceptive
practice" in the US to use the term "gold" for any alloy less than
10Kt gold. 

Funny really, that Ireland and the UK, that have a very rigorous
assay system in place for consumer protection, and 9 carat is OK. In
the US, where we stamp our quality marks on the “honor system” (to
the horror of our much more regulated cousins) we are officially too
snobby for anything less than 10 karat.


#17

Thanks James,

I was wondering if it was consumer protection hence my question
specifically outlining what the customer is purchasing.

How do you go with stamping Mokume in the US?

Regards Charles A.


#18

Hi John,

It’s always good to be informed of the penalties to discourage
potential offenders.

Thanks for sharing.
Regards Charles A.


#19
I'm a bear with a very small brain. 

Well Pooh, whatcha gonna do when you get a piece of my.985 silver
jewelry with a.985 stamp on it?


#20

For UK hallmarking, the key concept is selling. You cannot sell
something as gold which doesn’t have a valid hallmark. But you can
sell it as not-gold. You can’t even suggest that it is gold without
the mark. There is no formal system of marks for rolled gold or
other materials with a thin layer of precious metals on the surface.
I assume that other countries work on the same principle

It gets much more complex when there are mixed metals - ie. solid
sections of one metal, alongside solid sections of another. An
example might be a steel and gold watch strap, or a silver earring
with gold inlay. This also affects the exemption weight.

Of course, now our government is considering abolishing the
hallmarking laws as part of their “Red Tape Challenge” to reduce
beaurocracy affecting businesses. The problem with that is that the
general public can’t tell silverfrom platinum without training, and
will suffer without the protection of assaying.

Jamie Hall -
http://primitive.ganoksin.com