Jewelers of America Steps Up Campaign Against "Cultured" Diamonds

03/05/2016 15:07

Jewelers of America (JoA) has ramped up advocacy efforts in Washington, D.C., writes InStoreMag, holding meetings with congressional leaders to support the jewelry industry’s recommendations to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on its proposed changes to the Guides for the Jewelry, Precious Metals, and Pewter Industries - specifically, use of the term “cultured” to describe synthetic diamonds - the trade association said in a release. The association is also planning a two-day fly-in to D.C. this June – its sixth annual advocacy trip to Capitol Hill with a delegation of jewelers. On April 14, 2016, JoA President & CEO David J. Bonaparte met with representatives on House and Senate Committees that oversee the FTC. 

The FTC has proposed to allow synthetic diamond producers to use the term "cultured" with their synthetic diamond product, as long as qualifying language such as “laboratory-created,” “laboratory-grown,” “[manufacturer-name]-created,” or “synthetic” immediately accompanies it. JoA’s position is that use of the term “cultured” is confusing, even if including qualifying language, since consumers believe the word “cultured” means or implies “natural.” Bonaparte took the opportunity to explain, on behalf of JoA Members, that while synthetic diamonds are a growing, legitimate category for the suppliers and jewelry retailers that choose to carry them, the need for full and proper disclosure is a critical component in protecting consumer confidence. He stressed that use of the word "cultured" in conjunction with a manufactured diamond is deceptive, since it implies that synthetic diamonds are created in a natural environment, similar to cultured pearls.

These views are in line with an industry coalition – led by the Jewelers Vigilance Committee – which is working to gather important research and share industry comments with the FTC by the June 3, 2016 deadline. Jewelers of America is actively involved with the coalition, and the meetings in D.C. helped to further communicate the jewelry industry's position on how the FTC's suggested changes could confuse consumer or hurt consumer confidence.