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Jewelry Trade Groups Request FTC Guidance on 'Made in the USA' Claim

Jun 18, 2014 12:47 PM   By JVC
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Press Release: On June 17, 2014, four trade associations, along with the Richline Group, asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for an advisory opinion stating that jewelry comprised of metals recycled in the U.S. could be advertised as “Made in the USA.”  The four associations are the Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC), the Manufacturing Jewelers and Suppliers of America (MJSA), Jewelers of America (JA) and the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA). 

The FTC’s standard for advertising a product as “Made in the USA” is that the product must be “all or virtually all” made in the U.S.  “All or virtually all” means that all significant parts and processing that go into the product must be of U.S. origin.  Marketers advertising a product as “Made in the USA” must be able to substantiate the claim.  For products made of metal this can be very difficult.  One reason is that much of the metal used in jewelry manufacturing was originally mined in foreign countries, not here in the U.S.  Secondly, it is generally impossible to determine the original source of a metal after it has been refined or smelted. 

The trade associations and Richline asked the FTC to focus on products made from metal recycled in this country and to allow those products to be advertised as “Made in the USA.”  Many of the jewelry items produced in the U.S., particularly gold items, are made of recycled material.  Recycling starts with the collection of used jewelry, electronic components, investment bars and manufacturing byproducts.  The items are melted, then undergo the same chemical refining process as would newly mined metal to produce the nearly pure material that is used by manufacturers.

The request for an advisory opinion was based on the fact that significant time and resources go into collecting recyclable material, delivering it to refiners in the U.S. and then processing the items to a purity level of almost 100 percent.  The associations and Richline argued that upon recycling, metal begins a new life cycle, with a new origin in this country -- regardless of where it was originally mined.  For this reason, according to the request, products comprised of metals recycled in this country should qualify for a “Made in the USA” claim.  If the request is granted by the FTC, sellers would be able to make the claim – as long as they could substantiate that the metal was recycled at a domestic refinery.

The request for an advisory opinion will be considered by the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. 

Any questions can be directed to Karen Kovach at karen-at-jvclegal.org. To keep up to date with JVC updates and events, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter @jvclegal and visit our website, www.jvclegal.org.

Jewelers Vigilance Committee, founded in 1917, is a not-for-profit legal trade association fulfilling its mission to maintain the jewelry industry’s highest ethical standards. JVC offers dispute mediation and arbitration services for trade and consumers, compliance monitoring and precious metals testing, among many other services. JVC, long considered the industry’s guardian of ethics and integrity, is a resource for the entire jewelry industry and its customers as well as an industry representative before government agencies, media and adjunct fields. For more information visit: www.jvclegal.org.

Rapaport News is not responsible for, and does not endorse, the content of any third-party press release. This is not a Rapaport Press Release. It has been provided as additional information for our clients.

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Tags: federal trade commission, guidelines, Jewelry, JVC, made in the usa, precious metals
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