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All That Glitters May Not Be Gold

County Crackdown Reveals Nearly a Dozen Nassau Jewelers Sold Gold That Tested Below Federal Standards

  • Mothers Day Shoppers Beware

Commissioner Bogsted with County Executive SuozziMineola, NY – Nassau County Commissioner of Consumer Affairs Roger C. Bogsted and Nassau County Executive Thomas R. Suozzi today announced a crackdown on the sale of under-karated gold jewelry in Nassau County.Nearly a dozen jewelry stores were caught selling merchandise that tested below the Federal Trade Commission’s 13.9 karat standard.

“Merchants who sell these under-karated items, and the manufacturers who produce them, are picking the pockets of consumers,” Bogsted said. “They are also undercutting the sales of legitimate jewelers by passing off these fakes as bargain-priced 14 karat jewelry.”

Unscrupulous sellers of gold jewelry were selling the items well below the advertised karat content in locations throughout Nassau County.For instance, pieces advertised as 14-karat were found to be 12.5-karat or 13.1-karat. One piece advertised as 14-karat was tested at 8.51 karats - a level at which the jewelry does not even qualify as gold.

Eleven jewelry stores – out of the 17 that were targeted as part of the investigation – sold undercover investigators at least one piece of jewelry that failed to meet FTC standards. Of the 40 pieces of jewelry the investigators bought, 27 were found to be significantly under-karated.

“These merchants are ripping off our residents, and that is completely unacceptable,” Suozzi said. “I commend the Consumer Affairs investigators for unearthing these unethical practices, and we will ensure that any dishonest merchants pay the penalty.”

Stores with multiple violations will be charged with Unconscionable and Deceptive Trade Practices.Penalties range from $2500 for first time offenders to $5,000 for repeat offenders.

Commissioner Bogsted advised that shoppers should be wary of items that do not bear any trademark or quality stamp, have rough edges, or a green cast.

“The results of this investigation should serve to alert consumers,” Bogsted said. “If you’re shopping for good jewelry, do business with stores that have a solid reputation and stand behind the quality of their product.”

“The Jewelers Vigilance Committee has worked with Nassau County Consumer Affairsin the pastto address the problem of sales of under-karated gold jewelry items,” said Cecilia L. Gardner, executive director of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee. “We heartily thank Commissioner Bogsted for the workhe and his teamhave done to protect jewelry buyers. Consumers should know thatunder-karating of gold is a problem that exists mostly instores offering bargain prices, mostly on low-price charms and earrings.Always askquestions about a store’s quality assurance programs, and only shop in reputable jewelry stores that are affiliated with known jewelry trade associations.”