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Quality stamping


#1

Hi Folks,

Happy New Year! Got a question for you… and I suspect there may
be several correct answers, depending on what country you call home.
If I have made a piece of jewelry of copper and sterling silver, or
copper, brass and sterling silver, can I stamp it as “sterling”? If
so, do I have to stamp it on the part of the piece that is actually
sterling?

Thanks in advance for any insight!

In the frozen tundra of North Carolina… where at least we’re
snow-free… :wink:

Dave
Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)
dave@sebaste.com


#2

Dave,

Have you thought about stamping the copper and brass also? Harper MFG
in Las Vegas, NV stocks stamps for copper and brass.
http://www.harpermfg.com/

Timothy A. Hansen

TAH Handcrafted Jewelry
web-site: www.home.earthlink.net/~tahhandcraft
e-mail: @Timothy_A_Hansen


#3

Dave NO.

To be marked Sterling or 925, the piece must be all sterling,
including the solder. In addition, you need to also mark it with
your hallmark. If the piece was melted down and then assayed, it
would have to come up to 92.5% fine silver to be legally marked 925
or Sterling. These are FTC requirements.

Don


#4

Dave,

In the USA the Federal Trade Commission regulates the quality

marking of jewelry items The Guides for the Jewelry, Precious Metals,
and Pewter Industries are available at
http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/guides/jewel-gd.htm . The short answer is no,
you cannot legally apply a quality stamp to a item that will not
assay to at least the marked quality. So you cannot stamp a copper
and sterling item with the sterling stamp. There may be a legal way
if as you say you apply the stamp to the sterling part but the guides
are not very clear on this the only reference is to two items that
are both quality marked like a 14k and 18k item that are joined. If
I were you I would contact them at the FTC to get a clarification.
And if you get one from them please let us know as this question
comes up every six months or so.

Jim


#5

Ahhh… but there’s more! I’ll have to mull this over a while:

� 23.9 Additional guidance for the use of quality marks.

(a) Deception as to applicability of marks.

(1) 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.

(2) If a quality mark is applicable to only part of an industry
product, but not another part which is of similar surface appearance,
each quality mark should be closely accompanied by an identification
of the part or parts to which the mark is applicable.

Any lawyers out there?!? :slight_smile:

Dave

Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)
dave@sebaste.com mailto:dave@sebaste.com
http://www.CarolinaArtisans.com http://www.CarolinaArtisans.com


#6

Hi Folks,

After a great referral from Jim Binnion (thanks again, Jim!), I was
able to find the answer… at least for the U.S. By the way, the URL
Jim provided is: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/guides/jewel-gd.htm

The relevant � 23.6 Misrepresentation as to
silver content.

(b) It is unfair or deceptive to mark, describe, or otherwise
represent all or part of an industry product as “silver,” “solid
silver,” “Sterling Silver,” “Sterling,” or the abbreviation "Ster."
unless it is at least 925/1,000ths pure silver.

My layman’s interpretation is that the piece I made it an “industry
product.” In order to mark the piece as sterling, the entire product
must be at least .925 pure silver. Given the portions of the piece
being copper and/or brass in my example, having the product stamped as
"sterling" would be in violation.

It seems to me common sense would lead a consumer to know the marking
applies only the portion that appears to be silver, or is silver in
color, but this guideline doesn’t seem to allow for that.

Any dissenting interpretations?

Dave

Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)
dave@sebaste.com mailto:dave@sebaste.com
http://www.CarolinaArtisans.com http://www.CarolinaArtisans.com


#7

Hi, I was taught that if a piece consists of several metals such as
silver, and copper, it would be legally acceptable to stamp it
sterling and cu. An appraiser once told me that if I was making a
piece in several karats of gold, each should be stamped on the
piece. This seemed to me to lead to cluttering up the piece with
stamps, so I usually mark it with the lower karat. If the piece is
l8K and 22K, I will stamp it l8K and let it go at that. Alma


#8

In the “old” days (i.e., 1880’s) when they created sterling pieces
and used additional metals as the decorative accents, they were
marked “Sterling and other metals” - -this was usually a mix of
copper and bronze accents. Where gold was the accent metal; it would
be marked “Sterling and 14kt”. Where the piece was predominately
copper with sterling accent pieces, it could be marked “copper and
sterling”. I think the basic guideline probably should be; identify
the predominant metal by naming it first and then add the qualifier
as to other components.

However, having said all this… I am not a lawyer.


#9

Hi Dave,

Here is my interpretation.

In paragraph “b” the allowance is made for marking or describing “all
or part” of a product. The key word is “part”. If part of the product
is sterling, you can mark it as such. To be on the safe side, I would
also mark the other materials used. This law was enacted to keep us
honest, not limit our creativity.

The relevant � 23.6 Misrepresentation as to
silver content.
    (b) It is unfair or deceptive to mark, describe, or otherwise
represent all or part of an  industry product as "silver," "solid
silver," "Sterling Silver," "Sterling," or the abbreviation "Ster."
unless it is at least 925/1,000ths pure silver.  

Timothy A. Hansen

TAH Handcrafted Jewelry
web-site: www.home.earthlink.net/~tahhandcraft
e-mail: @Timothy_A_Hansen

PS
There is no ham in a hamburger?
Is this a problem that needs to be resolved. :wink:


#10

If a quality mark is applicable to only part of an industry
product, but not another part which is of similar surface appearance,
each quality mark should be closely accompanied by an identification
of the part or parts to which the mark is applicable.

Dave,

I’m sure no lawyer, but here’s an example that might help clarify the
issue. I use 14K earring posts which are manufactured and come with a
tiny 14K quality stamp on the shafts. Sometimes I solder them onto
the back of a silver earring (stamped sterling) which, if I interpret
the above correctly, is OK since the stamps are “closely accompanied
by an identification of the parts to which they are applicable.” On
the other hand, it might not be so clear to a customer that your
silver stamp applies only to the silver if the silver, brass and
copper are in close association.

Here’s another possibility. I remember someone saying once that you
couldn’t go wrong if you stamped a piece with the lowest quality
designation of metal used. If that’s correct, then you could not
stamp your piece as being sterling.

Most of the pieces I make use a combination of 14k, 18k, and 22k.
I’ve solved the problem to my own satisfaction by stamping these
pieces with all three stamps above my logo stamp. Since my pieces are
one-of-a-kind, not manufactured, I’m unlikely to run into problems � I
hope.

Reading back over what I just wrote, it occurs to me that I really
didn’t clarify anything! I guess we really do need a lawyer. Is
there one out there?

Beth


#11

Beth, I also make one of a kind pieces and frequently do use a
combination of metals. At this point I have not stamped anything
sterling that included other metals. The only things I have stamped
sterling were made entirely of sterling. However, I was wondering if
one could have a stamp made which said “Sterling and other metals” or
"Sterling and xxxx(whatever it was)". I agree, I think we need a
legal opinion on this.

Kay


#12

Hi Alma!

Thanks for your response! Much the same as I would do… and clearly
legal, if not selling yourself a little short. I agree on the point of
over-stamping. I would rather do a clean job than claim a few extra
"points" on the karat.

Hmmm…

Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)
dave@sebaste.com mailto:dave@sebaste.com


#13

I’ve been making some items recently with shibuichi. For those of
you out there selling jewelry made of it, how on earth are you
stamping IT?

Gary Strickland, GJG


#14

Hello Dave,

If you were living in the Netherlands, you are not allowed to stamp
it as Sterling or as an certain amount of silver. Because if you take
the hole piece it contains not enough silver to get it approved under
any legal contend.

Martin Niemeijer


#15
Most of the pieces I make use a combination of 14k, 18k, and 22k.
I've solved the problem to my own satisfaction by stamping these
pieces with all three stamps above my logo stamp.  Since my pieces are
one-of-a-kind, not manufactured, I'm unlikely to run into problems � I
hope.

Beth,

Your practice is definitely against the law. If the piece is all

gold of varying carats equal to and greater than 14k You could stamp
it 14k but if you use the 18k and 22k stamps you are misrepresenting
the quality of the item. As you say they may not bother you but it
would only take one phone call by a disgruntled customer to the FTC
and an agent with a little time on their hands to cause you big
problems.

Your practice with the earring post and silver disc sounds ok but

the guidelines do not address two different precious metals in one
piece so it is a little hard to tell.

Jim


jbin@well.com
James Binnion Metal Arts
4701 San Leandro St #18
Oakland, CA 94601
510-533-5108


#16

Garry,

I too use shibuichi as well as shakudo. In an earlier post, I
mentioned that Harper Manufacturing (http://www.harpermfg.com/) has
copper and Brass stamps. A few years ago, I had them make stamps for
shakudo and shibuichi. The cost was reasonable.

Timothy A. Hansen

TAH Handcrafted Jewelry
web-site: www.home.earthlink.net/~tahhandcraft
e-mail: @Timothy_A_Hansen


#17

One solution to the problem might be found in the design process. If
the non precious parts are mechanically attached to the sterling/gold
it’s usually acceptable to mark only the precious metal. Consider
riveting appliqu� instead of soldering it. In a chain you need to mark
each link in its carat rather than applying one stamp to one part of
the whole chain.

The London Goldsmith’s Hall have always accepted this in my pieces.
Tony Konrath

Gold and Stone

tony@goldandstone.com

www.goldandstone.com


#18

Hello Orchidians,

Re: the best way to mark jewelry constructed of mixed metals.  How

are the commercial folks doing it? Stuller and others make 18K and
Platinum rings, as well as mixed metal pieces of sterling and 14K.
I’ve not had the opportunity to examine their jewelry, but it seems
likely that they’ve had the lawyers investigate the question.
Whenever I use two metals, I stamp each metal componant separately
with the appropriate mark and accompany the completed work with a
written note on the mounting card. Yup. That means each little gold
ball has its 14K mark, and the silver base is marked .925. Tedious,
but I don’t know another way to do it. What to do with copper,
brass, and bronze??? The commercial stuff isn’t marked at all from
my observations. Judy in Kansas, where the temps are above freezing
and all that old snow is finally melting!

Judy M. Willingham, R.S.
Extension Associate
221 Call Hall Kansas State Univerisity
Manhattan KS 66506
(785) 532-1213 FAX (785) 532-5681


#19

I’ve also made stuff with shibuichi. I use alpha-numeric stamps and
write down the alloy, eg ‘10% shakudo’, ‘shakudo au10/CU90’. But then
I have lots of room on eyeglass frames! I’m looking into getting the
Harper catalog.

Brian
B r i a n � A d a m
Auckland NEW ZEALAND
www.adam.co.nz


#20

We import diamond jewelery into Canada. On many occasion the jewelery
in made of combination of Platinum and white gold. Wherever possible
we get it stamped for both the metals but at times when it is not
possibel the manufacturer stamps it only the metal which is more. I do
not know the legalities but never had a problem from the Industry
Canada on this issue…PK