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Quality stamping


#1

Can I just toss in a reminder that all the discussion so far has
related to US practice. Perfectly reasonable, since that is where the
original question came from, but jewellers in other parts of the world
should be aware that local legal requirements may be quite different.

Here in the UK we have to actually send or take each piece to an
assay office, where it is tested before being stamped. Continuous
customer protection since the 1300’s. This applies to all finished
items (there are a few special exceptions, including very small
pieces) that aRe:

  1. sold by way of trade, and, 2. described as being “silver” or
    "gold" or “platinum”.

The notes I received when I registered with the Birmingham assay
office said the “by way of trade” phrase had not been defined by the
courts, but their opinion was that if you sold more than two or three
pieces you were assumed to be trading. – Kevin (NW England, UK)


#2

Dear Friends,

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.

Karin


#3

I am no expert, but from reading my GIA coursework regarding
quality stamping, I got the impression that the different metals are
to be displayed. It would be similar to a wedding band being
stamped 18k/plat for being 18k yellow gold and having platinum
accents as well.

I think that you will be just fine as long as you specify both
metals. I do beleive that you can contact the FTC to make sure that
you are following their guidelines correctly. In this wonderful day
and age of the internet, I would find it very hard to believe that
there is no way for you to contact them and make absolutely sure.


#4
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. 

FWIW, the rule in the UK is that any piece incorporating different
metal standards can only be marked to the lowest standard. Thus, if
your piece had sterling and 18ct gold, it could only be marked as
sterling. Similarly, if it had copper soldered to the 18ck gold, it
could not be hallmarked at all. A way round this would be to make the
different metals independent - not soldered together (maybe bezel set
the gold into the silver) when the different metals could each be
marked with their proper quality marks.

Best Wishes,
Ian
Ian W. Wright
Sheffield UK


#5

I spoke with the Director of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee
recently. She is a lawyer who specializes in jewelry issues and what
I got from the conversation was that in most cases you probably
can’t stamp multi metal pieces and be within the letter of the law
but you would probably never get a judgement against you for doing
it as long you are not attempting to defraud. But if you do stamp
multi metal items you are doing so at your own risk. FWIW

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


#6

If you want to get technical about it, it is only legal to stamp
multi metal pieces if you apply the stamps to the areas applicable
to each stamp. In other words you need to stamp the gold quality on
the gold areas and silver on the silver areas platinum on platinum
and so on. Also you must stamp your registered trademark next to
each quality stamp. The law is really not set up to deal with
multi metal items other than gold fill or electroplate which it has
very specific guidelines for.

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