Jewelry Making Federal Regulations
Code of Federal Regulations
Title 16: Commercial Practices, Part 23 – Guides for the Jewelry, Precious Metals and Pewter Industries
This discussion will briefly discuss part of the above regulations, the entire Part 23 can be found online as the e-CFR™. This will not be the entire regulations, but a summary of the pertinent parts. For this particular discussion, I will limit the discussion to only those parts regarding metals. Future discussion will focus on gemstones and pearls.
These regulations are applicable to anyone who produces a product that is ...”fabricated from precious metals (gold, silver and platinum group metals), precious metal alloys and their imitations.” Thus these can be construed to also include the precious metal clays or any plated or filled metals.
Gold must only be used to describe items that products that are composed throughout of an alloy of gold of at least 10 karat fineness. The gold regulations include definitions of what is Gold Plate, Gold Filled, Gold Electroplate and several other terms. The real cruxt is that the Artisan can not use the word Gold to describe the product made, unless it is composed of at least 10 karat gold content. The fineness of the Gold must also be included, the fineness can only refer to any component of least fineness. Thus a product made of two different finenesses must be called the least fine.
The term “Sterling Silver” is restricted to describe an industry product that is at least 925 parts per thousand silver. The alloying metal is not restricted to copper. The term “Coin Silver” can be used to describe a product that is at least 900 parts per thousand silver.
Platinum Group Metals include platinum, iridium, paladium, ruthenium, rhodium abn osmium. Platinum must be at least 950 parts per thousand platinum to be called platinum. This applies to all of the group metals.
Simply put, if your product does not entirely meet the minimum quality to be called gold, silver and/or platinum you can not use that term in any part of your name or description of the product. There are no exceptions for these regulations based on size or type of the jewelry producer. Those of us in the Artisan jewelry industry must follow these regulations.