October 16, 2018
Issues relating to definitions of platinum and gold fineness levels, as well as disclosure of rhodium plating, were at the heart of the Precious Metals Commission meeting on the second day of the CIBJO Congress.
Commission President Huw Daniel explained how CIBJO has made representations at the ISO twice this year, asking the ISO to reconsider its revision to the international standard for platinum ISO 9202, which was amended without input from the jewellery industry in 2014, reducing the threshold standard to 500ppt from 850ppt.
CIBJO said it was not in the interest of the consumer, nor the jewellery industry, because there’s an established standard of 850ppt and above for platinum, with an accepted norm of 950ppt to 999ppt in jewellery across global markets, providing consumers with confidence in platinum’s purity and unique performance characteristics.
Mr. Daniel said the ISO had been open to CIBJO’s input at the Technical Committee Meetings. As a result, a draft international standard (DIS) has been drawn up to revise the threshold back to 850ppt and above, and there will be a vote on the amendment in December. “We believe the majority of countries will support revising it back to the original standard, which is in line with national standards and consumer expectations,” Mr Daniel said.
CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri took part in the session, thanking Mr. Daniel and saying that the precious metals sector has an important impact on the entire jewellery industry. The role of CIBJO is very important, he added, saying that the world federation is there to help members to achieve their aims and safeguard consumers.
Mr. Daniel spoke of important changes impacting the jewellery industry resulting from the FTC’s revised Jewelry Guides published in August 2018. The first relates to precious metal minimum thresholds. For gold there will no longer be a 10K minimum threshold, and fineness must be disclosed for any item under 24K.
Mr. Daniel said this could lead to a race to the bottom in precious metal categories, and greater challenges in disclosure at retail. “If you have 1K gold, is that really gold? Do we want jewellery that is 99 percent base metal called gold jewellery?”
He also said that new guides from the FTC relating to products with precious metal surface layers had important implications for disclosure. Its jewellery guides now require disclosure of rhodium plating where there had previously been no such requirement.
Mr Daniel said, “It has not always been common practise for rhodium plating of white gold to be fully disclosed to consumers, resulting in disappointment as well as increased costs for care and maintenance.” The FTC guides also require sellers to assure the reasonable durability of the coating.
Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC) legal counsel Sarah Yood, who was on the platform with Mr. Daniel along with JVC’s President and CEO Tiffany Stevens, said there was no precise definition of what reasonable durability means. However, she stated, a general definition would be what an average person of average intelligence would expect it to mean.