I really need to revisit the issue of quality stamping pieces that
incorporate multiple metals. My first-ever retail show is just
around the corner, and I want the work to go out the right way.
I have read the archives, and I have read the FTC rules, but I still
cannot decide how to stamp my work or if I should stamp it at all.
Most of my pieces combine sterling and 18k. The different metals are
distinctly different parts, but they are soldered together, thus
making them a whole.
From the archives, I get the opinion that I should not stamp at all,
other than with my logo, as, if you were to melt a piece down, you
would get neither sterling nor 18k. But after reading the FTC site,
I wonder if the “exemptions” rules could be used to justify stamping
each section with its respective mark.
If the body of the piece (silver) and the accents (gold) that are
soldered to it are clearly different and separate (other than that
pesky solder joint), then there is no deception. Wouldn’t this be
just like using a finding that is marked with a quality stamp? If I
put gold posts on silver earrings, or vice versa, those posts are
quality stamped. If you were to cut what was clearly gold away from
what was clearly silver, you could melt each part down and get the
quality it was stamped.
I am concerned that if I don’t stamp, then customers will not know
the quality of the piece. Also, the piece needs a stamp if it needs
to be repaired by someone other than me. A customer was unable to
have a part of a sterling ring I made him re-soldered because it was
not stamped. The repair person did not want to take a chance that it
was something other than silver.
Other reasons for stamping are that I darken my silver with liver of
sulphur, so it is not immediately apparent to some people that it is
silver, and I want my 18k pieces to stand apart from bimetal.
I really appreciate insights into this. I would like to know what
other people are doing and if the laws or industry practices have
changed since the original discussion in 2001. Thanks for helping me
to get off on the right foot.