Making jewelry may be a creative endeavor but now there is a legal side to consider before selling it online or in stores in the state of California. California’s Metal-Containing Jewelry Law limits the amount of lead levels in jewelry and mandates that jewelry sellers warn potential customers about jewelry components that contain lead. The legislation, which took effect in 2006, also places a restriction on the amount of cadmium, another toxic metal, in jewelry.Why the Law Came About
This law was introduced due to children being exposed to lead through jewelry. Lead is a toxic metal and studies have shown that repeated exposure to lead can weaken an individual’s joints and muscles, cause learning disabilities, behavioral problems, organ failure and even death. Due to the dangers associated with lead, California legislature saw the need to reduce the amount of exposure to the metal contained in the jewelry. Among the main concerns was the amount of lead found in children’s jewelry. For instance, a popular gift item for babies and toddlers are bracelets. Since these youngsters like to put things in their mouth, they would be ingesting lead into their bodies through their jewelry.
Two years after California’s law took effect, the federal government enacted the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act to limit the amount of toxic substances, including lead, in products targeted for children under 12.
Provisions of the Law
California was the first state to set the example of how to handle jewelry containing lead. The provisions of California’s Metal-Containing Jewelry Law calls for:
1. Prohibiting an individual or a retail establishment from manufacturing, shipping or selling jewelry containing lead.
2. Making jewelry out of state-approved materials, called Class 1 and Class 2 materials. Examples of these materials are gold, stainless steel, sterling silver, platinum, glass, gemstones, wood, or leather.
3. Making children’s jewelry from nonmetallic material in the Class 1 and Class 2 categories. It may also include glass or decorative components that weigh a maximum of one gram.
4. Making body-piercing jewelry from state-approved materials such as surgical implant stainless steel or titanium, solid 14 karat gold or a higher white or yellow nickel-free gold, or solid platinum.
Some jewelry makers decided to replace lead with cadmium in children’s jewelry. California lawmakers did not agree with the change and amended the law to place restrictions on the use of cadmium in children’s jewelry. The amendment, which took effect in January 2012, calls for cadmium in children’s jewelry to be restricted to 300 parts per million by weight.
Impact on Jewelry Business Today
Individuals and companies that sell jewelry on the Internet are not exempt from California’s law. Sellers are mandated to place a warning on their websites about any jewelry items that contain lead. These items would include Swarovski crystals and leaded glass items. The warnings are necessary because the online stores’ potential customers could live in California. With children’s jewelry, sellers must certify, either by a document or a display on the shipping container or on the jewelry package, that the jewelry does not contain lead or cadmium.
It is important to know when shopping for jewelry to shop with a reputable company. Shopping online for jewelry is popular and a person can get bargain deals with a large variety of merchandise, often times with the same quality and beauty as a store front jeweler. When shopping with online jewelers, whether shopping for cheap diamond rings for added bling or a cheap watch as a gift for a child or their friend, it is important to look at reviews of the products you purchase. With the jewelry law in effect, it is easier to find safe and quality merchandise online today.
Sellers have been following the law and have changed their practices for selling jewelry. Sellers who violate the law face fines of $2,500 per day. For more information about the law, visit California Department of Toxic Substances Control’s website at http://www.dtsc.ca.gov/HazardousWaste/Jewelry/leadinjewelry_faqs.cfm.
Legal freelance writer Lisa Coleman writes to encourage shopping carefully from a reputable jeweler when looking for jewelry, especially for young children, and reading reviews before purchasing any merchandise. Super Jeweler is an online reputable jewelry store that sells a wide variety of quality, inexpensive merchandise, from cheap diamond rings for a special event to necklaces for a child’s birthday gift.