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FYI FTC guides for the terms "hand-made" etc.

NE Jewels

Rough_Rock
Trade
Joined
Apr 4, 2011
Messages
19
This would be a good candidate for a sticky in this forum.

Here is the sentence that applies to us:

"(a) It is unfair or deceptive to represent, directly or by implication, that any industry product is hand-made or hand-wrought unless the entire shaping and forming of such product from raw materials."

Does this mean that casting a piece from platinum ingots would not make it hand made since they will be formed inside the casting "investment"?

Without any kind of enforcement or liability on the part of the jeweler though I doubt it will change this business practice. In addition most consumers don't know what to look for in a hand made piece. So, theoretically a vendor can even go as far as saying that their jewel is free of casting with:

a)A very small likelihood that the buyer can tell the difference
b)No legal repercussions for misinformation. I've never heard of a jeweler being sued for this specific issue or the government going after ones that abuse the term.

I would recommend for the consumer who really wants a hand made jewel to have their vendor put in writing that their piece will not have any cast parts and is free of casting. "Free of Casting" gives very little wiggle room here. Having this written down on an invoice would be a legal liability for the jeweler if untrue. Having their piece appraised afterwards would be my suggestion as well but in my experience very few appraisers have knowledge of such things. Pick your appraiser wisely. Maybe there are appraisers out there who have had bench jewelry experience.

Pricescope is a wonderful community of diamond and jewelry lovers, a place where we can exchange ideas and opinions that enables a consumer to make a very informed and calculated decision. I think we should expect nothing but the highest ethics and honesty from vendors and jewelers especially vendors who use this forum as a platform to reach the consumer. Otherwise the forum could turn into one of misinformation instead of information.
 

denverappraiser

Ideal_Rock
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Jul 21, 2004
Messages
8,829
'Free of casting'?

I'm not even sure that's a specific enough policy unless the buyer has a particular bug about casting. What about die struck components like heads and clasps? What about using pre-milled sheets and wires or stones that have been machine cut? Is it ok to use chemical etching for finishing effects? Power tools? Is it closer to 'hand made' if the jeweler is using a hand carved, one off wax rather than something from a mold? What about one-of-a-kind CAD items by a highly skilled artisan in that medium? It's acuriously complicated question and I agree there's no real answer. Purists would say an hand artisan should start and end with a hammer, a file, and a nugget and others would call it hand made if a human was directing the robot that set the final stone. :-o


I love the suggestion of choosing your appraiser wisely but the FIRST step is actually to choose your jeweler wisely. Make sure you understand what THEY mean by terms like this if they're important to you. The FTC is a toothless tiger and these are called 'guidelines', not 'rules' for a reason.


And yes, some of us appraisers have significant bench experience. I, for example, was a full time benchman for close to 20 years.
 

NE Jewels

Rough_Rock
Trade
Joined
Apr 4, 2011
Messages
19
denverappraiser|1312046936|2980561 said:
'Free of casting'?

I'm not even sure that's a specific enough policy unless the buyer has a particular bug about casting. What about die struck components like heads and clasps? What about using pre-milled sheets and wires or stones that have been machine cut? Is it ok to use chemical etching for finishing effects? Power tools? Is it closer to 'hand made' if the jeweler is using a hand carved, one off wax rather than something from a mold? What about one-of-a-kind CAD items by a highly skilled artisan in that medium? It's acuriously complicated question and I agree there's no real answer. Purists would say an hand artisan should start and end with a hammer, a file, and a nugget and others would call it hand made if a human was directing the robot that set the final stone. :-o


I love the suggestion of choosing your appraiser wisely but the FIRST step is actually to choose your jeweler wisely. Make sure you understand what THEY mean by terms like this if they're important to you. The FTC is a toothless tiger and these are called 'guidelines', not 'rules' for a reason.


And yes, some of us appraisers have significant bench experience. I, for example, was a full time benchman for close to 20 years.
I think free of casting is specific enough to clearly differentiate a hand wrought piece and one that's either fully or partly cast.

Die struck components are not cast and therefore would be free of casting. Machine made bands are also not cast and would also be "free of casting" although not wrought by a physical hand.

Pre milled sheets and wires are also not cast and would fall under free of casting.

I don't think we need to muddle the definition here. A piece is either casting free and isn't either fully or partly cast or not period.

I don't see what chemical etching or power tools have anything to do with casting. Power tools are used frequently on hand wrought works for finishing work. Molds, CAD\CAM waxes, hand carved waxes all involve casting. Is a one of a kind, beautiful, gorgeous, to die for, hand carved wax or CAD\CAM wax piece hand made? Not by my definition and also by the definition of the FTC it seems. I think most would agree here.
 

denverappraiser

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jul 21, 2004
Messages
8,829
The definition at hand here is what is 'handmade', not what is 'cast'. I flatly disagree that these are opposites. You can certainly promote your own stuff however you like and 'free of casting' is as good an advertising term as any but I do NOT accept that as a synonym for handmade, nor is there anything in those guidelines to suggest that the FTC does. Premilled sheet is rather specifically permitted but other procesesses, including casting, are not discussed at all. The operative issue seems to be limiting it to manually-controlled processes with no discussion at all as to what sorts of tools are permitted (drop forge? Punch press? Chemical vat? Rotary drills? Buffer? 3d Mills?). 'Hand cast' does not strike me as internally inconsistent nor do I think it falls outside of the FTC guidelines and there are plenty of 'free of casting' items that I definitely would NOT describe as handmade. Die struck wedding bands is a fine example.

FWIW, I rarely use the term handmade for exactly these sorts of reasons. I call things cast and assembled, fabricated, diestruck, etc.



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Just to save some lookup time, here's the entirity of the FTC statement on the topic:

§ 23.3 Misuse of the terms "hand-made," "hand-polished," etc.

(a) It is unfair or deceptive to represent, directly or by implication, that any industry product is hand-made or hand-wrought unless the entire shaping and forming of such product from raw materials and its finishing and decoration were accomplished by hand labor and manually-controlled methods which permit the maker to control and vary the construction, shape, design, and finish of each part of each individual product.

Note to paragraph (a): As used herein, "raw materials" include bulk sheet, strip, wire, and similar items that have not been cut, shaped, or formed into jewelry parts, semi-finished parts, or blanks.

(b) It is unfair or deceptive to represent, directly or by implication, that any industry product is hand-forged, hand-engraved, hand-finished, or hand-polished, or has been otherwise hand-processed, unless the operation described was accomplished by hand labor and manually-controlled methods which permit the maker to control and vary the type, amount, and effect of such operation on each part of each individual product.
 

NE Jewels

Rough_Rock
Trade
Joined
Apr 4, 2011
Messages
19
denverappraiser|1312057066|2980664 said:
The definition at hand here is what is 'handmade', not what is 'cast'. I flatly disagree that these are opposites. You can certainly promote your own stuff however you like and 'free of casting' is as good an advertising term as any but I do NOT accept that as a synonym for handmade, nor is there anything in those guidelines to suggest that the FTC does. Premilled sheet is rather specifically permitted but other procesesses, including casting, are not discussed at all. The operative issue seems to be limiting it to manually-controlled processes with no discussion at all as to what sorts of tools are permitted (drop forge? Punch press? Chemical vat? Rotary drills? Buffer? 3d Mills?). 'Hand cast' does not strike me as internally inconsistent nor do I think it falls outside of the FTC guidelines and there are plenty of 'free of casting' items that I definitely would NOT describe as handmade. Die struck wedding bands is a fine example.

FWIW, I rarely use the term handmade for exactly these sorts of reasons. I call things cast and assembled, fabricated, diestruck, etc.



------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Just to save some lookup time, here's the entirity of the FTC statement on the topic:

§ 23.3 Misuse of the terms "hand-made," "hand-polished," etc.

(a) It is unfair or deceptive to represent, directly or by implication, that any industry product is hand-made or hand-wrought unless the entire shaping and forming of such product from raw materials and its finishing and decoration were accomplished by hand labor and manually-controlled methods which permit the maker to control and vary the construction, shape, design, and finish of each part of each individual product.

Note to paragraph (a): As used herein, "raw materials" include bulk sheet, strip, wire, and similar items that have not been cut, shaped, or formed into jewelry parts, semi-finished parts, or blanks.

(b) It is unfair or deceptive to represent, directly or by implication, that any industry product is hand-forged, hand-engraved, hand-finished, or hand-polished, or has been otherwise hand-processed, unless the operation described was accomplished by hand labor and manually-controlled methods which permit the maker to control and vary the type, amount, and effect of such operation on each part of each individual product.
That is your opinion, which is fine we can all interpret something in our own way.

I'm seeing this clause
"unless the entire shaping and forming of such product from raw materials".
I don't interpret the shaping of a wax either by hand or a CAD machine to be from raw materials.

As I mentioned die struck ala Van Craeynest isn't casting but could be legally interpreted as not hand made.
 
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