New Mineral Named After GIA’s John Koivula
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 Post subject: treatments and disclosure
PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 11:00 pm 
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Hi guys:
Stiring the pot here again:

This is a question on one of the "online courses" ... I disagree with the answer, anybody agree with me, or am I wrong?

71) A retailer is legally obligated to disclose any and all treatment a gem has been subjected to improve its appearance.

a) true b) false

The correct answer as graded is B)"False". I though that any treatment that has an effect on the price of the gem had to be a subject of disclosure

Thanks

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 11:32 pm 
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I may be wrong here but I dont think traditional treatments such as heat treatment of rubies and sapphire or oiling of Emeralds is required by law to be disclosed. Any of the newer treatments such as irradiation (?), Berillium heat and diffusion must be disclosed. I'm not sure but I think impregnation with plastics or resins must be disclosed also.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 11:57 pm 
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The Summer 2004 issue of G&G has a comprehensive review of US legal requirements for disclosure of gem treatments.
http://www.gia.edu/gemsandgemology/1857 ... detail.cfm


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 Post subject: disclosure
PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2006 9:54 am 
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Thanks Barbra:

I was begining to think I was going senile lol .. I knew I had seen somewhere that it was a big no no to misrepresent (even with silence) any gem or jewelry you sold.

Canadian fraud law is similar to that also .... maybe isn't stated quite as bluntly but her majesty's often covers a variety of fields with the wording in the legislation. Cars, jewels etc etc . The only place they don't tread is horse trading .. there its "let your eyes be your judge and your pocketbook be your guide" :)

Thanks again

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2006 9:59 am 
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That said, when was the last time the average consumer was told when buying a sapphire or tanzanite ring that the stone is heated unless they ask about it? It seems to me that for stones that are routinely heat treated, the only time you are told about it is when they haven't been.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2006 10:27 am 
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Agreed Africanuck.

Not to mention that many people working as jewelry sales associates are not aware that

tanzanite is heated
mystic topaz is coated
pearls are bleached and "pinked"
blue topaz is irradiated
black onyx is dyed
citrine is usually heat treated amethyst

In the store I worked at till last Saturday (cough cough) we had a sales associate who always informed customers that "our" blue topaz was "gently heated". I told her "our" topaz is irradiated, just like everyone elses. She said, "What's the difference? Customers don't want to hear about irradiation! The last store I worked at wouldn't let us use the word. "


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2006 10:35 am 
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Unfotunately, most of the customers don't know that either, so they don't know to ask.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2006 11:34 am 
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All,
Maybe cynicism is my default mode but how can one avoid cynicism after reading the following exerpt from the GIA link?:

Quote:
the obligation to fully disclose all gem treatments has changed from a mere ethical responsibility to a legal one. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission Guides for the gem and jewelry trade, which were fairly simple rules in the early 20th century, now require disclosure of any treatment to a gem material that substantially affects its value.

The operative part is "that substantially affects its value." Let's parse it.

First we'd have to define "value" and set forth specific ways it's arrived at. Does the market decide in the traditional sense or is it set some other way? Murky.

Would I have to disclose treatment of black "onyx," which isn't even actually onyx according to any definition I know of? Chalcedony has been dyed black for centuries and sold as "black onyx" so its market value has a long history and is well established. Its value hasn't changed since the FTC's directive. There might be a fraud case for selling dyed chalcedony as onyx, but not non-disclosure of treatment IMO.

I'd guess the same is true of blue topaz, tanzanite and citrine in the other examples Barbra cited. Those three have always been treated and their market value was established in a post-treatment state. My personal feeling is that their treatment doesn't need to be disclosed and I'd love to see what a sharp defense lawyer could do with a non -disclosure case if it were to go to trial. The same may be true of pearls but I'm not that familiar with their treatment/marketing history.

I'm not a lawyer or legal expert and all this is just for discussion purposes. But it seems to me the FTC is a lot like the Wizard of Oz, toiling away in a hidden back room manipulating switches and levers, depending on the light show and whiz-bang out front to frighten the rubes and hide the fact it has no real enforcement power. Honest question: can anyone cite any case ever brought by the FTC for non-disclosure of gem treatment? I'm not aware of one.

Rick Martin


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2006 3:59 pm 
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I'm assuming that the issue here isn't that it's a "trick question"... the question asks whether a seller is required to disclose all treatments.... not all treatments that he/she is AWARE of or has a good-faith basis for suspecting.

Is it possible that the "correct" answer is false because that would require a seller to be liable for information that he/she may not have access to?


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2006 4:52 pm 
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ROM wrote:
All,
Maybe cynicism is my default mode but how can one avoid cynicism after reading the following exerpt from the GIA link?:

Quote:
the obligation to fully disclose all gem treatments has changed from a mere ethical responsibility to a legal one. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission Guides for the gem and jewelry trade, which were fairly simple rules in the early 20th century, now require disclosure of any treatment to a gem material that substantially affects its value.

The operative part is "that substantially affects its value." Let's parse it.

First we'd have to define "value" and set forth specific ways it's arrived at. Does the market decide in the traditional sense or is it set some other way? Murky....
...But it seems to me the FTC is a lot like the Wizard of Oz, toiling away in a hidden back room manipulating switches and levers, depending on the light show and whiz-bang out front to frighten the rubes and hide the fact it has no real enforcement power.

Rick Martin


You are correct, Rick. It's all smoke and mirrors, without any enforcement mechanism. They can't enforce something they have not legally defined. What you pointed out is the 'legal loophole' implanted into just about every law. This one is quite apprent, while most are not so discernable, but a slick lawyer told me this years ago, and it appears to hold true. It takes familiarity with their 'words of art', and a law dictionary, to really read them and find the escape hatch. With Webster's in hand you'd think it applied to you, and you had to abide by it, never looking for a loophole. The entire system is riddled with them, apparently so that those 'in the know' can get around having to abide them, so your Oz theory is right on target. Few lay-people ever find out how to read them, and just blindly obey them, while those who would deceive don't pay any attention to them, anyway. ](*,)

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2006 5:46 pm 
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Sadly so. And also, isn't the FTC guidelines just that, guidelines withouth the force of law? I think that it is just a few states in the US which has accepted them as letters of the law.

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