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Monday, December 20, 2010

Industry: PGI Welcomes FTC Guidance

PLATINUM GUILD INTERNATIONAL WELCOMES FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION GUIDANCE



New York, NY (December 20, 2010) -- The Platinum Guild International-USA (“PGI USA”) welcomes the Federal Trade Commission’s (“FTC” or “Commission”) publication of final amendments to the Commission’s Jewelry Guides for the marketing of platinum jewelry. In its final amendments, the FTC requires marketers of platinum/base metal alloys (which are products consisting of 50-85 percent platinum along with other non-precious base metals) to clearly disclose the content of these products, and explicitly prohibits the use of abbreviations in such disclosures. The FTC also recognizes that platinum/base metal alloys may not contain the same characteristics as traditional platinum products with respect to their durability, luster, density, scratch resistance, tarnish resistance, hypoallergenicity, ability to be resized or repaired, retention of precious metal over time, and other material attributes and properties. In that regard, PGI commends the FTC for requiring additional consumer disclosures, absent competent and reliable testing, that such alloys may differ from traditional platinum products.


“The FTC’s revisions to the Jewelry Guides are of significant benefit to consumers,” said Huw Daniel, President of PGI USA. “We have worked with the FTC for the last five years to ensure that consumers get the best information possible about what they are buying; the FTC’s decision will go a long way to ensure that consumers can make confident choices when purchasing platinum jewelry, while also benefitting members of the platinum jewelry industry on the manufacturing and retail sides.”


The revised Jewelry Guides will significantly enhance the consumer education and disclosure requirements for platinum/base metal alloys, and eliminate any existing perceived ambiguities. Under the new Jewelry Guides, the word “platinum,” or any abbreviation accompanied by a number or percentage indicating the parts per thousand of pure platinum contained in the product, may not be used to describe a platinum/base metal alloy unless the product contains a clear and conspicuous disclosure, immediately following the name or description of such product of: (i) the full composition of the product (by name and not abbreviation) and percentage of each metal; and (ii) that the product may not have the same attributes or properties as traditional platinum products (unless the marketer has competent and reliable scientific evidence that there is no material difference in each of the platinum characteristics material to consumers). The FTC’s amendments to the Jewelry Guides are expected to be published in the coming week, and will take place immediately upon publication.


PGI USA also welcomes the FTC’s publication of “Going Platinum: What to Look for When Buying Platinum Jewelry,” alerting consumers about platinum purchases, and of a companion Industry Guide for retailers and others. The FTC Consumer Alert can be found at:http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/alt180.shtm. The FTC Industry Alert can be found at: http://business.ftc.gov/documents/bus74-advertising-platinum-jewelry. The FTC Press Release can be found at: http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2010/12/platinemguides.shtm, and the FTC Final Rule can be found at: http://www.ftc.gov/os/fedreg/2010/december/101216jewelryguidesfrn.pdf.

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