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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR Data is current as of September 26, 2014

Title 16Chapter ISubchapter BPart 23 → §23.4


Title 16: Commercial Practices
PART 23—GUIDES FOR THE JEWELRY, PRECIOUS METALS, AND PEWTER INDUSTRIES


§23.4   Misrepresentation as to gold content.

(a) It is unfair or deceptive to misrepresent the presence of gold or gold alloy in an industry product, or the quantity or karat fineness of gold or gold alloy contained in the product, or the karat fineness, thickness, weight ratio, or manner of application of any gold or gold alloy plating, covering, or coating on any surface of an industry product or part thereof.

(b) The following are examples of markings or descriptions that may be misleading:2

2See §23.4(c) for examples of acceptable markings and descriptions.

(1) Use of the word “Gold” or any abbreviation, without qualification, to describe all or part of an industry product, which is not composed throughout of fine (24 karat) gold.

(2) Use of the word “Gold” or any abbreviation to describe all or part of an industry product composed throughout of an alloy of gold, unless a correct designation of the karat fineness of the alloy immediately precedes the word “Gold” or its abbreviation, and such fineness designation is of at least equal conspicuousness.

(3) Use of the word “Gold” or any abbreviation to describe all or part of an industry product that is not composed throughout of gold or a gold alloy, but is surface-plated or coated with gold alloy, unless the word “Gold” or its abbreviation is adequately qualified to indicate that the product or part is only surface-plated.

(4) Use of the term “Gold Plate,” “Gold Plated,” or any abbreviation to describe all or part of an industry product unless such product or part contains a surface-plating of gold alloy, applied by any process, which is of such thickness and extent of surface coverage that reasonable durability is assured.

(5) Use of the terms “Gold Filled,” “Rolled Gold Plate,” “Rolled Gold Plated,” “Gold Overlay,” or any abbreviation to describe all or part of an industry product unless such product or part contains a surface-plating of gold alloy applied by a mechanical process and of such thickness and extent of surface coverage that reasonable durability is assured, and unless the term is immediately preceded by a correct designation of the karat fineness of the alloy that is of at least equal conspicuousness as the term used.

(6) Use of the terms “Gold Plate,” “Gold Plated,” “Gold Filled,” “Rolled Gold Plate,” “Rolled Gold Plated,” “Gold Overlay,” or any abbreviation to describe a product in which the layer of gold plating has been covered with a base metal (such as nickel), which is covered with a thin wash of gold, unless there is a disclosure that the primary gold coating is covered with a base metal, which is gold washed.

(7) Use of the term “Gold Electroplate,” “Gold Electroplated,” or any abbreviation to describe all or part of an industry product unless such product or part is electroplated with gold or a gold alloy and such electroplating is of such karat fineness, thickness, and extent of surface coverage that reasonable durability is assured.

(8) Use of any name, terminology, or other term to misrepresent that an industry product is equal or superior to, or different than, a known and established type of industry product with reference to its gold content or method of manufacture.

(9) Use of the word “Gold” or any abbreviation, or of a quality mark implying gold content (e.g., 9 karat), to describe all or part of an industry product that is composed throughout of an alloy of gold of less than 10 karat fineness.

Note to paragraph (b) §23.4: The provisions regarding the use of the word “Gold,” or any abbreviation, as described above, are applicable to “Duragold,” “Diragold,” “Noblegold,” “Goldine,” “Layered Gold,” or any words or terms of similar meaning.

(c) The following are examples of markings and descriptions that are consistent with the principles described above:

(1) An industry product or part thereof, composed throughout of an alloy of gold of not less than 10 karat fineness, may be marked and described as “Gold” when such word “Gold,” wherever appearing, is immediately preceded by a correct designation of the karat fineness of the alloy, and such karat designation is of equal conspicuousness as the word “Gold” (for example, “14 Karat Gold,” “14 K. Gold,” or “14 Kt. Gold”). Such product may also be marked and described by a designation of the karat fineness of the gold alloy unaccompanied by the word “Gold” (for example, “14 Karat,” “14 Kt.,” or “14 K.”).

Note to paragraph (c)(1): Use of the term “Gold” or any abbreviation to describe all or part of a product that is composed throughout of gold alloy, but contains a hollow center or interior, may mislead consumers, unless the fact that the product contains a hollow center is disclosed in immediate proximity to the term “Gold” or its abbreviation (for example, “14 Karat Gold-Hollow Center,” or “14 K. Gold Tubing,” when of a gold alloy tubing of such karat fineness). Such products should not be marked or described as “solid” or as being solidly of gold or of a gold alloy. For example, when the composition of such a product is 14 karat gold alloy, it should not be described or marked as either “14 Kt. Solid Gold” or as “Solid 14 Kt. Gold.”

(2) An industry product or part thereof, on which there has been affixed on all significant surfaces, by any process, a coating, electroplating, or deposition by any means, of gold or gold alloy of not less than 10 karat fineness that is of substantial thickness,3 and the minimum thickness throughout of which is equivalent to one-half micron (or approximately 20 millionths of an inch) of fine gold,4 may be marked or described as “Gold Plate” or “Gold Plated,” or abbreviated, as, for example, G.P. The exact thickness of the plate may be marked on the item, if it is immediately followed by a designation of the karat fineness of the plating which is of equal conspicuousness as the term used (as, for example, “2 microns 12 K. gold plate” or “2µ 12 K. G.P.” for an item plated with 2 microns of 12 karat gold.)

3The term substantial thickness means that all areas of the plating are of such thickness as to assure a durable coverage of the base metal to which it has been affixed. Since industry products include items having surfaces and parts of surfaces that are subject to different degrees of wear, the thickness of plating for all items or for different areas of the surface of individual items does not necessarily have to be uniform.

4A product containing 1 micron (otherwise known as 1µ) of 12 karat gold is equivalent to one-half micron of 24 karat gold.

Note to paragraph (c)(2): If an industry product has a thicker coating or electroplating of gold or gold alloy on some areas than others, the minimum thickness of the plate should be marked.

(3) An industry product or part thereof on which there has been affixed on all significant surfaces by soldering, brazing, welding, or other mechanical means, a plating of gold alloy of not less than 10 karat fineness and of substantial thickness5 may be marked or described as “Gold Filled,” “Gold Overlay,” “Rolled Gold Plate,” or an adequate abbreviation, when such plating constitutes at least 120 th of the weight of the metal in the entire article and when the term is immediately preceded by a designation of the karat fineness of the plating which is of equal conspicuousness as the term used (for example, “14 Karat Gold Filled,” “14 Kt. Gold Filled,” “14 Kt. G.F.,” “14 Kt. Gold Overlay,” or “14K. R.G.P.”). When conforming to all such requirements except the specified minimum of 120 th of the weight of the metal in the entire article, the terms “Gold Overlay” and “Rolled Gold Plate” may be used when the karat fineness designation is immediately preceded by a fraction accurately disclosing the portion of the weight of the metal in the entire article accounted for by the plating, and when such fraction is of equal conspicuousness as the term used (for example, “ 140 th 12 Kt. Rolled Gold Plate” or “ 140 12 Kt. R.G.P.”).

5See footnote 3.

(4) An industry product or part thereof, on which there has been affixed on all significant surfaces by an electrolytic process, an electroplating of gold, or of a gold alloy of not less than 10 karat fineness, which has a minimum thickness throughout equivalent to .175 microns (approximately 7/1,000,000ths of an inch) of fine gold, may be marked or described as “Gold Electroplate” or “Gold Electroplated,” or abbreviated, as, for example, “G.E.P.” When the electroplating meets the minimum fineness but not the minimum thickness specified above, the marking or description may be “Gold Flashed” or “Gold Washed.” When the electroplating is of the minimum fineness specified above and of a minimum thickness throughout equivalent to two and one half (212 ) microns (or approximately 100/1,000,000ths of an inch) of fine gold, the marking or description may be “Heavy Gold Electroplate” or “Heavy Gold Electroplated.” When electroplatings qualify for the term “Gold Electroplate” (or “Gold Electroplated”), or the term “Heavy Gold Electroplate” (or “Heavy Gold Electroplated”), and have been applied by use of a particular kind of electrolytic process, the marking may be accompanied by identification of the process used, as for example, “Gold Electroplated (X Process)” or “Heavy Gold Electroplated (Y Process).”

(d) The provisions of this section relating to markings and descriptions of industry products and parts thereof are subject to the applicable tolerances of the National Stamping Act or any amendment thereof.6

6Under the National Stamping Act, articles or parts made of gold or of gold alloy that contain no solder have a permissible tolerance of three parts per thousand. If the part tested contains solder, the permissible tolerance is seven parts per thousand. For full text, see 15 U.S.C. 295, et seq.

Note 4 to paragraph (d): Exemptions recognized in the assay of karat gold industry products and in the assay of gold filled, gold overlay, and rolled gold plate industry products, and not to be considered in any assay for quality, are listed in the appendix.



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