Responsible Sourcing Guidance: Product Integrity2021-04-21T17:32:27+00:00

PRODUCT INTEGRITY

Introduction to Product Integrity

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.

CIBJO Standards for Product Integrity

Members of the jewellery and gemstone sectors should ensure that the precious metals or gem materials and products through their supply chain are correctly and accurately represented and disclosed in accordance with the CIBJO Retailers’ Reference Guide and/or the relevant “Blue Books”, including providing certificates and other verification where applicable (e.g. diamond grading reports, gold purity/assay certificates).

The CIBJO Blue Books are definitive sets of grading standards and nomenclature for diamonds, coloured gemstones, pearls, coral and precious metals. Blue books have also been created for gemmological laboratories and responsible sourcing practices.

The Blue Books are compiled and are consistently updated by the relevant CIBJO Commissions, whose members include representatives of trade organisations and laboratories active in the diamond, coloured gemstone, pearl, precious metals and jewellery industries. The standards represented a consensus derived from the broad expertise on the subject within the commissions, and also from individuals outside the commissions who had expressed an interest in participating in the development of the guidelines.

The application of the Blue Books’ standards is voluntary. However, it is recommended that these standards should apply to all persons, partnerships and corporations at all stages of the jewellery chain of distribution, from the initial sourcing of all industry products up to and including the creation of jewelry and objets d’art, where applicable.

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