Posted on November 10, 2014 by Mary Hood | 0 Comments
Increasingly, consumers are interested in purchasing goods made in America. This is a healthy trend for a number of reasons: buying American-made goods supports our economy, many US manufacturing processes are more environmentally-friendly than those in developing nations, and, for the most part, worker conditions in the U.S. are safer and more profitable for laborers. Not to mention, there’s some sentimental value attached to buying goods that were produced in your own country; it fosters a sense of community and promotes the idea that we’re making choices for the common good.
For a company to legally label their products “Made in the USA,” the process can be a bit complicated, however. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), a marketer may only label its product as such if it can “substantiate that all components of a product—including natural resources—originated in the U.S.” (MJSA).
This poses a problem for jewelers since the origin of precious metals isn't always obvious. Four trade associations (The Jeweler’s Vigilance Committee, MJSA, Jewelers of America, and the American Gem Trade Association) questioned the FTC on this policy. These groups were focused on precious metals recycled in the states, claiming that once metal is recycled, it begins a “new life cycle,” even if parts of the recycled amalgamation were mined outside the U.S. (MJSA).
Despite this argument, the FTC referred to the fact that roughly 3 in 5 Americans believe that “Made in America” means that all parts are of U.S. origin. Instead, jewelry manufacturers may say “Made in America with the World’s Finest Metals and Gems” or “Made in USA, with imported gems and metals.” (Oddly, certain industries, like auto and textile, are exempt from this rule when it comes to certain materials. Cotton and silk are two examples.)
The American textile industry doesn't have to play by the same rules as the jewelry industry.
If you're interested in buying jewelry made in America from American materials, you may have to do some research to learn about the origin of the materials. Seek out companies that are transparent about their practices and willing to work with you.
Photos: Barbara Michelle Jacobs, WND