Competition Bureau conducts precious metal jewellery inspections
Increased efficiency of new analyzer helps determine whether articles meet the quality mark declared
April 13, 2016 — OTTAWA, ON — Competition Bureau
To ensure that consumers receive clear and accurate information regarding the quality of precious metal jewellery in keeping with the Precious Metals Marking Act (PMMA), the Competition Bureau has recently concluded an inspection blitz at major department and chain stores in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.
Using an X‑ray fluorescent analyzer, the Bureau tested almost 1000 pieces of jewellery, mostly made of gold and silver to determine compliance with the requirements set out in the PMMA. The analyzer tests the purity of precious metal. For example, it could find that an article is 17.2k gold but being marked and sold as 18k. The Bureau identified 16 articles as problematic, which were sent to the Royal Canadian Mint for additional testing. Once the results are known, the Bureau will work with retailers to ensure appropriate corrective action to resolve issues with any non-compliant article is taken.
Under the PMMA, any quality marking or advertisement that refers to the quality of a precious metal made of gold, silver, platinum or palladium must meet the purity standards as displayed and abide by requirements set out under the PMMA and its regulations. A quality mark indicates the quality, quantity, fineness, weight, thickness, proportion or kind of precious metal in an article.
Where a quality mark has been applied to a precious metal article:
- the quality mark must truly and correctly indicate the quality of the precious metal article — for example 10k, 14k or 18k or the decimal equivalent for gold, and .925 for silver;
- the quality mark must be a mark prescribed by the regulations; and
- the article must also bear a registered Canadian trade‑mark applied in the same manner as the quality mark.
The trade‑mark is not required if the article has been quality marked in a foreign country and bears a government mark which is recognized by the Competition Bureau.
The Bureau will continue to monitor the marketplace to promote and ensure compliance with the PMMA, through similar inspections, so that information provided to consumers on the quality mark for precious metals is not false or misleading.
- Businesses are invited to consult the Guide to the Precious Metals Marking Act and Regulations, and the Precious Metals Marking assessment tool.
- For more information about the PMMA, contact the Bureau's Information Centre at 1‑800‑348‑5358, or file a complaint using the complaint form.
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The Competition Bureau, as an independent law enforcement agency, ensures that Canadian businesses and consumers prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace.
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