Last month, we reported that the Federal Trade Commission sent warning letters to jewelry marketers that questioned whether their advertising complies with the FTC's Jewelry Guides. (The Jewelry Guides were updated in mid-2018.) In particular, the FTC expressed concerns that the companies' online and social media advertising may mislead consumers into thinking that the advertised diamonds came from a mine, when they were actually simulated or lab-created.
As a follow-up to those warning letters, the FTC recently published some FAQs about how to address the FTC's concerns. Here are some of the highlights:
If you sell simulated or lab-created diamonds, you should disclose that they aren't mined diamonds. The FTC said that using a brand name that includes the word “diamond,” without qualifying the claim with a clear explanation, is not sufficient.
When explaining that a diamond wasn't mined, you should use clear, easily-understandable terms, such as "laboratory-grown," "laboratory-created," "[manufacturer name]-created," "imitation," or "simulated."
When disclosing that a diamond is simulated or lab-created, the disclosure should be clear and conspicuous and in close proximity to the word "diamond."
When advertising simulated or lab-created diamonds in social media advertising, the FTC says that you should exercise care when using hashtags for disclosures. The FTC said, "A hashtag at the end of a social media post might not convey the information effectively, especially if appears in a string of other hashtags or if the other hashtags arguably contradict it. For example, a list of hashtags including both #diamonds and #labgrown might confuse consumers about whether the product contains mined diamonds."
The FTC also reminded marketers that if they promote the environmental benefits of simulated or lab-created diamonds, they should also comply with the FTC's Green Guides.
"To avoid the risk of deceiving consumers about the type of jewelry you offer, advertisers selling simulated or laboratory-created diamonds should disclose that the products aren’t mined diamonds"