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Feds take action against "deceptive" jewelry advertisements

Posted at 5:10 PM, Apr 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-03 20:14:35-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Diamonds are a girls' best friend, but are you getting what the advertisement says?

The Federal Trade Commission is taking action against jewelers and marketers for what they call deceptive claims, including misrepresenting a diamond as mined when it was grown in a lab.

This week, the FTC announced it sent eight letters to jewelry marketers warning some of their online advertisements made with lab-created diamonds or fake diamonds may deceive consumers.

As Call 6 Investigates reported just before Valentine’s Day, many consumers prefer lab-grown diamonds because they’re 30 percent cheaper than mined diamonds.

PREVIOUS | How to tell if your diamonds are lab-grown, fake or mined

The letters follow an investigation by FTC staffers that included a review of advertisements on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and other sites.

The Federal Trade Commission found some ads implied a fake diamond was real, or that a lab-grown diamond came from a mine, and others advertisements did not have the required disclosures about the source of the diamonds in the product description.

Marketers must follow Jewelry Guides on how to make representations about their jewelry including whether the diamonds are mined, lab-created or simulated diamonds such as cubic zirconium.

The Jewelry Guides say a seller should use words that correctly describe a precious stone, so shoppers know exactly what they are buying.

RELATED | Lab grown versus mined diamonds: Which is the better value?

The FTC also found some businesses only put information about how a stone was really made on a “diamond education” webpage, rather than in or near an ad where shoppers are most likely to see it.

The Federal Trade Commission also criticized some companies for advertising their jewelry as “eco-friendly,” “eco-conscious,” or “sustainable” without a reasonable basis for making such claims.

To protect yourself, compare quality, price, and service from several jewelers.

The FTC also recommends doing an online search of each jeweler and the words “complaint” or “review.”

Also, get to know common phrases like natural, lab-created, or imitation, the FTC says.

Ask lots of questions, including whether the stone is CZ, mined or lab grown.

Make sure to get a receipt and documentation such as a diamond grading report, which should detail what kind of stone you have.

And lastly, if you have problems, contact the Jewelers Vigilance Committee.

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