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Properly marking jewelery

Hi all,

I am new to ganoksin and have really enjoyed reading everyones
questions and resplies.

The recent questions about a caster sending out work that did not
seem to be 14k brought a question to mind. A friend showed me a
beautiful artist made necklace that had a bezel adorned with 14k
yellow gold elements soldered to sterling sheet. The back of the
piece was clearly marked with both 14k and sterling. I didn’t think
that marking the piece that way was legal. When making jewelry that
incorporates different metals and techniques for joining them, how
should jewelry (or objects) be marked?

Brenda

    yellow gold elements soldered to sterling sheet. The back of
the piece was clearly marked with both 14k and sterling. I didn't
think that marking the piece that way was legal.  When making
jewelry that incorporates different metals and techniques for
joining them, how should jewelry (or objects) be marked? 

They should be marked with full disclosure of each metal.

Here in the US, the FTC provides guides for quality marking of
jewelry items. You can research to your heart’s content at the
ftc.gov web site. Section 23.9 (a) (1) states: If a quality mark on
an industry product is applicable to only part of the product, the
part of the product to which it is applicable (or inapplicable)
should be disclosed when, absent such disclosure, the location of
the mark misrepresents the product or part’s true composition.

Disclosure, in this case, means that you can’t mark 14k on the
sterling component without disclosing (marking) the article as
sterling, as well.

You don’t mention whether the piece in question has a trademark or
the name of the person who marked it for quality. If an article is
marked for quality (14k, .925, 850/150, etc.), the trademark or name
of the person, company, etc. must also be applied to the article.
This is often overlooked and seldom, if ever, enforced. We really
could use a better system.

James in SoFl

If a quality mark on an industry product is applicable to only part
of the product, the part of the product to which it is applicable
(or inapplicable) should be disclosed when, absent such disclosure,
the location of the mark misrepresents the product or part's true
composition. 

Well, the time has come (the walrus said) for me to finally ask all
these questions about stamping that I’ve been trying to answer by
wading through the archives…

How should I go about marking the fine silver chains I’ve knitted,
once I’ve soldered on sterling end caps and added sterling findings?
Where does the “.999” go?

Similarly, suppose I make a pendant of sterling with keum-bo or with
14K applique, and, just to be difficult, I set a stone in an 18K
bezel on it to boot?

On top of all these other difficulties, suppose the piece of jewelry
is some meticulously formed opus of art jewelry, meant to be seen
from all sides, and a quality stamp on it anywhere would be like a
pimple on Aphrodite’s bottom?

Does “disclosure” have to mean a stamp? Can I provide a written
affidavit? I’ve read the material on the ftc.gov site, and there
seems to be nothing to indicate the proper protocols for such
pieces.

Thanks for all your help, you knowledgable people!

Jessee Smith
www.silverspotstudio.com
Cincinnati, Ohio

    How should I go about marking the fine silver chains I've
knitted, once I've soldered on sterling end caps and added sterling
findings? Where does the ".999" go? 

You would likely be best off marking it with the lowest valued
quality mark, in this case “.925” and providing a written
description, valuation or affidavit that describes the rest of the
component metals. Or, no quality mark at all.

     Similarly, suppose I make a pendant of sterling with keum-bo
or with 14K applique, and, just to be difficult, I set a stone in
an 18K bezel on it to boot? 

Same as above

     On top of all these other difficulties, suppose the piece of
jewelry is some meticulously formed opus of art jewelry, meant to
be seen from all sides, and a quality stamp on it anywhere would be
like a pimple on Aphrodite's bottom? 

Same as above, with no stamp or mark. Imagine looking for quality
marks on mokume gane. Some pieces of same-quality metals may be
marked, but mixed-metal pieces aren’t likely to be.

    Does "disclosure" have to mean a stamp? Can I provide a
written affidavit?  I've read the material on the ftc.gov site, and
there seems to be nothing to indicate the proper protocols for such
pieces. 

In the FTC guides, “disclosure” is discussed in these cases as a
measure that is required if you mark or stamp a piece made of
different metals that have a similar surface appearance. This
measure is intended to prevent deception. If you create a piece of
more than one metal (or one, for that matter), you don’t have to
stamp it at all. You don’t have to provide anything unless you wish
to, if your clientele will rely on your honesty and reputation. But
if you do mark it, you have to mark it properly, and with your name
or trademark. A description, affidavit or valuation, with or without
a quality mark is never a bad idea.

A meticulously formed opus of art jewelry is usually accompanied by
a detailed description and some sort of “I love me” artist
statement, anyway. Since metals can be easily tested by competent
appraisers, quality marking in the US isn’t a requirement. Only your
name or trademark is required if you DO stamp it.

James in SoFl

Hi, Jessee,

I can’t advise you as to legalities, but, because of the very
problems you ask about, I never mark any of my jewelry, except with a
signature. I tell customers what it is. They have always taken my
word for it, thus far. My work is mostly more in the “art” realm,
though I do use gold and stones as well as silver and titanium, and
the value is mostly from the design aspect much more than from the
materials. I don’t even own quality stamps; I don’t like the way they
look.

I’m not saying this is the best policy, but no problems from it so
far.

Noel

According to the 1935 Gold Stamping Act, only pieces that are
manufacturered with the intent to be shipped across statelines, are
to be stamped with a karat mark and accompanied with a federally
registered trademark. If an item is NOT intended for shipping to
another state, it does not have to be trademarked, UNLESS it has a
karat mark. So if you are producing custom pieces for retail within
your own state, and are not karat marking, then a trademark is not
required by law. So likewise, if you are karat marking, but not
intending to ship out of your own state, you MUST stamp a registered
trademark.

Ed in Kokomo