Is your jewelry assortment ready for Mother’s Day?

Mother’s Day is still two months off, so this is a perfect time to start re-evaluating your Amazon jewelry listings and make sure your products meet the compliance requirements for this gated category.

Amazon’s enforcement has been increasing over this past year as they appear to employ more sophisticated algorithms to align their standards with those of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). 

They also have the right to do random lab testing on any fine jewelry products, so it’s ideal for you to establish in advance that lab test report findings are likely to match your product claims.   Amazon is charging existing sellers $5,000 to re-enter the “Fine Jewelry” category, once they are found to be in violation, so one misstep could prove costly.

Here are some of the issues I have seen with some of our clients Detail Pages:

  1. Using a gemstone or precious metal name to identify a color. For example, a jewelry item with red crystal should not be referred to as “garnet” or “ruby” unless it can be certified as a gem. The same goes with using the words “gold” or “silver” to describe the color of a metal that might be brass or nickel alloys.
  2. Claiming something is a “gem” or “stone” when it wasn’t dug up from the earth. If it was made in a lab, no matter how hard and perfect it is, it cannot be called a stone.  It must be called “cultured” or “simulated”
  3. Creating the impression that pearls came from an oyster shell. Nearly all the pearls being sold in today’s retail marketplace are manufactured, so it’s important that in every place you use the word “pearl”, you precede that with the word “cultured”, “faux”, “simulated” or a similar qualifier.
  4. Creating the impression all the metal on an earring or necklace are a precious metal. It is common for the clasp on a necklace or backing/post on an earring be made of a less precious metal than gold or sterling. But if you are claiming the item is “14K Gold” or “Sterling Silver”, that needs to include those less conspicuous parts, too.  If not, you need to clearly describe that not all the metal is precious.

Here are some things you can do to protect your seller reputation to avoid having items removed from sale (or your seller account suspended) on Amazon’s platform due to FTC violations:

  1. Review your listings for any occurrences of the word “stone” or “pearl” or “gold” or “silver”. Make sure you are confident your product titles and descriptions are accurate and don’t contradict each other.
  2. Make sure to ask your supplier if ALL components on an item are made of precious metal. If they tell you some portions are a non-precious metal, make sure you describe that in the title and description of the item.
  3. Always remember that solid gold or gold plated jewelry is assumed to be 24K gold unless you specify otherwise. The minimum fineness allowed is 10K, and anything less cannot be described as gold.  (You might be able to use “gold electroplate or “gold filled”, but if it’s a different metal altogether, “gold-tone” is appropriate.)  Given normal inconsistencies in production, it is always better to UNDER estimate the karat quality, than to be found in error.
  4. Ask your sterling silver supplier how they validate the composition of their metals. Sterling is composed of 925 parts per thousand of pure silver.  Anything less cannot be called “sterling”.

Besides reviewing your listings carefully, you can best protect your business by telling your suppliers you will be doing random lab testing to verify claims. And then to follow up on that! Submit (at least) a few randomly selected styles to a lab after every production run. 

Here at Cascadia, can help you by reviewing your jewelry listings for vulnerability, helping you get started in having a 3rd party lab verify your product claims, and even helping you to read the finished report. Don’t get caught off-guard by Amazon’s enforcement teams… if you need help, please let us know!

About the Author
I know how Amazon investigates safety and compliance concerns because I wrote some of their internal investigation procedures. I spent four years at Amazon building out compliance requirements and training their associates. Before that, I spent twenty years helping Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Costco, Eddie Bauer and other large retailers deal with quality, safety and compliance issues on a wide range of products, from hardlines to softlines and food to supplements.

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