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December 2006

Eleven trade associations are asking the FTC to add the term “cultured” to the list of terms that are unfair or deceptive to use in conjunction with manufactured jewelry industry products.

The group request that the FTC pass the proposed amendment for several reasons:
· To protect consumers from deceptive or unfair business practices that can occur when the term “cultured” is used in conjunction with jewelry industry products other than pearls.
· To protect consumers from associating the phrase “cultured diamond” with a natural product or gemstone grown naturally with human intervention.
· To justify continued consumer confidence in the jewelry industry.

Cecilia L. Gardner, JVC’s president, CEO and general counsel said, “Given the widespread confusion and misconception found among consumers when asked about the meaning of ‘cultured’ when applied to products other than pearl, we felt it was important to ask the FTC to amend the Guides.”

Associations in support of the FTC adjusting the Guides, so far, include American Gem Society, American Gem Trade Association, The World Jewellery Confederation, Cultured Pearl Association, Diamond Council of America, Diamond Manufacturers and Importers Association of America, International Diamond Manufacturers Association, Jewelers of America, Manufacturing Jewelers and Suppliers of America, and the World Federation of Diamond Bourses.

The submission to the FTC includes consumer survey data indicating widespread confusion in consumers’ understanding of the term “cultured” when applied to products other than pearls.

The staff of the Consumer Enforcement Division of the FTC will now consider the contents of the petition with its accompanying consumer survey data and determine if there is sufficient grounds to issue a Federal Register notice which could solicit comments from the trade on whether the Guides should be amended.

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