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Sellers of Lab-Grown and Simulated Diamonds Get FTC Warning

It says their ads may be deceptive.

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The Federal Trade Commission has sent eight letters to marketers of simulated or lab-grown diamonds warning that their online advertisements may deceive consumers.

In the letters, FTC staff point out examples where the advertising might imply that a simulated diamond is a lab-created or mined diamond, or that a lab-created diamond is a mined diamond. They also note examples where required disclosures about the source of the diamonds are not near the individual product descriptions.

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To help educate the companies, the letters caution them not to use the name of any precious stone, including diamonds, to describe a simulated or lab-created stone, unless the name is immediately proceeded by a clear and conspicuous disclosure that the product is not a mined stone.

The staff also encourages companies selling simulated diamonds to avoid describing their products in a way that may falsely imply that they have the same optical, physical and chemical properties of mined diamonds.

The letters also note that similar non-deceptive disclosures are required when advertising jewelry containing precious stones other than diamonds, including emeralds and rubies, as well as pearls.

Several letters also note that the companies have advertised their jewelry as “eco-friendly,” “eco-conscious” or “sustainable,” and that such terms can be interpreted to imply certain specific environmental benefits.

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Sellers must have a reasonable basis for making such claims for any products, and the claims should be adequately qualified to avoid deception. The letters admonish the companies not to use unqualified claims such as “eco-friendly,” “eco-conscious” or “sustainable,” as it is unlikely that they can substantiate all reasonable interpretations of these claims.

The letters note that in July 2018, the FTC issued updated guides for the Jewelry, Precious Metals, and Pewter Industries that provide marketers with information on how to make non-deceptive representations about jewelry and related products, including mined, lab-created and simulated diamonds.

Failure to follow the guides, the staff warn, may result in enforcement actions if the FTC determines the companies engaged in unfair or deceptive acts or practices. Such actions could result in civil penalties if the company engaged in practices knowing that the commission has already deemed them deceptive in earlier litigation.

In each letter, FTC staff ask the companies to advise them within 10 days within receipt of steps they plan to take to revise their marketing so that it follows the Jewelry Guides and therefore complies with the FTC Act.

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Blue Nile Names CEO from Outside Jewelry Industry

He brings nearly 20 years of executive leadership experience.

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Blue Nile CEO Sean Krell

Sean Krell

SEATTLE — Blue Nile, the largest online retailer of certified diamonds and fine jewelry, announced the appointment of Sean Kell as CEO.

Kell most recently served as CEO at A Place for Mom, America’s largest senior living referral service. He brings nearly 20 years of executive leadership in ecommerce, digital innovation, brand marketing, call center operations and product management across organizations such as Expedia, Hotels.com and Starbucks.

“Blue Nile revolutionized the consumer experience of purchasing diamonds and fine jewelry online,” said Kell. “The opportunity to deepen customer relationships and offer an extraordinary experience when shopping for the most cherished moments in their lives is an honor. I am excited to join the team and amplify our strategic priorities.”

Kell succeeds Eric Anderson, who has served as the company’s interim CEO since January 2019.

“As the engagement ring and fine jewelry industries continue to evolve, Sean’s leadership and strategic vision will elevate Blue Nile’s modern approach to becoming our customer’s jeweler for life,” said David Humphrey, a managing director at Bain Capital Private Equity and a member of the board of directors.

“Sean is a seasoned leader, and we are thrilled to have him as Blue Nile’s next CEO.”

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Jeweler Hit With Sledgehammer While Fighting Off Robbers (VIDEO)

Four suspects were arrested.

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A jewelry-store owner in Santa Monica, CA, was hit with a sledgehammer during a robbery, KABC-TV reports.

Three juveniles and an adult were reportedly involved in the smash-and-grab robbery at Heist Jewelry, which took place Thursday afternoon.

The owner pushed one of the suspects out of the store, and another suspect struck the owner with the sledgehammer, according to the report.

The suspects fled, leaving the owner with minor injuries.

Police soon found and arrested all four suspects.

The adult suspect was booed on suspicion of conspiracy to commit a crime, robbery and assault with a deadly weapon, news outlets reported. The juveniles were booked on suspicion of conspiracy to commit a crime, robbery and assault.

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Power-Cutting Burglars Target Jewelry Stores in Northeast

The trend has spread to New Jersey and Connecticut.

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The Jewelers’ Security Alliance reports that power-cutting thieves have been targeting jewelry stores in the Northeast.

The latest incidents took place in New Jersey and Connecticut. The pattern has played out in many states, with burglars cutting jewelry stores’ power lines in order to disable alarm systems, but previously had occurred mainly in the West, Midwest and South.

These are the incidents the JSA reported in a bulletin to retailers:

Morris Plains, NJ, July 27

At 6:45 p.m. on a Sunday evening two males and one female cut the power to a retail jewelry store, but police reported they left without trying to get inside the store. The same gang was reported to have done the same thing at jewelry stores in Sparta, NJ, on July 26, 2019, and in Bedminster, NJ.

Darien, CT, Aug. 8

At 11:20 p.m. suspects turned the power off at a downtown jewelry store at the outside electrical box. The power interruption tripped the burglar alarm, and the suspects waited for the police response. On Saturday, August 10, the same suspects returned at 6:20 p.m. and again turned the power off. It is believed that the suspects again waited to observe police response, and to wait for the back-up battery to be exhausted. However, no entry was made to the store. 

Fairfield, CT, Aug. 11

Between 3:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. on Sunday, August 11, a retail jeweler received a call from his alarm company regarding the loss of power to his store. The jeweler discovered the electrical meter cover had been pried off the box. The police responded and no suspects were observed.

JSA reported in June that it was aware of over 50 cases in which burglars had cut power lines.

The burglars cut the power lines soon after a store has closed for the night, then wait nearby to see the response by the owner or police, according to JSA.

The burglars have not carried out safe burglaries at all of the stores.

 

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