Product integrity refers to the truthful, complete and accurate representation and disclosure of all relevant information on jewellery products, including their physical characteristics, the types of treatments used to alter the appearance of the product, and the place of origin.
In the jewellery industry, product integrity is particularly relevant also because of the complexity of information reaching the end consumers. Consumers rarely have good technical knowledge about the chemical, optical, and physical properties of gem materials and products, and thus rely on businesses to provide such information.
Making untruthful, misleading or deceptive representation or disclosure of any jewellery products during selling, advertising or marketing is illegal in most countries even if this is done unknowingly, and it represent a legal, reputational and operational risk to businesses. Misinformation can lead a business to be expelled from industry organisations and, in some countries, offenders may face penalties, including prison sentences and fines. Full and correct product disclosure is both an ethical and legal obligation.
Industry standards and legal requirements exist for ensuring product integrity for precious metals and gem material. These cover areas that include but not limited to:
- Terminology and classification of product characteristics
- Precious metals assaying, quality marking or hallmarking
- Grading of gem materials or products
- Information requirements related to the type of gem materials and products, whether they are natural, synthetic or have been altered in any way
- Information requirements for gem materials and products when the treatment is temporary, diminishes over time, requires special care or has a significant impact on the product’s value
- Use of treatments and enhancements for gem materials and products.