A Guide to the Jewelry Test for Manufacturers

Jewelry is an important part of fashion and has moved on from being a luxury item to become an affordable accessory typically made from both semi-precious and non-precious metals that modern-day consumers wear and enjoy.

However, metal contamination can cause serious health issues. Therefore, testing is vital to ensure jewelry complies with the right regulations. Manufacturers need to be sure that the jewelry they are making consistently adheres to specifications by completing physical and mechanical tests to ensure buyers and customers are receiving the best items they can get. Using a third-party inspection company that can test your products against relevant safety regulations and quality standards will help to verify the quality of the jewelry.

Jewelry quality standards

Different countries require different quality standards and the requirements can be divided into categories. These include mandatory ones which must be met in order to enter a market, common ones which are requirements you should comply with in order to stay in a particular market and niche requirements for specific segments. Here are some of the standards jewelry needs to meet in different parts of the world.

REACH testing

Adult and children’s Jewelry must comply with REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals). Lead, chromium, phthalates, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, nickel and cadmium may be found in jewelry parts and they all need to be checked to ensure they meet with European Union (EU) standards. The EU has restricted the use of certain heavy metals. Cadmium is found in bracelets, necklaces, rings, piercing jewelry, wrist-watches, wrist-wear, broaches and cufflinks, while nickel can be found in earrings, necklaces, bracelets, chains, anklets, finger rings, wrist-watch cases, watch straps and tighteners, and lead can also be found in bracelets, necklaces, rings, piercing jewelry, wrist watches, wrist-wear, brooches, cufflinks and any individual parts or components.

Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act

The Consumer Product Safety Act is a landmark consumer safety law in the United States which has granted additional controls that ensure products sold in the North American market are safe for their intended use.

ASTM F2923 is one of the standards that defines children’s jewelry as an item of jewelry that is intended to be worn primarily by children 12 years old or younger. Items covered include bracelets, brooches, chains, crowns, tiaras, cufflinks, hair accessories, earrings or ear cuffs, necklaces, pins, rings, body piercings, jewelry placed in the mouth for display or anklets. Other items include any charms, beads, chains, links, pendants or other attachments to shoes or closings designed to be removed and worn alone or attached to an item as jewelry. Jewelry that contains a timepiece, beads or other jewelry components in self-assembly craft kits where the final assembled jewelry product is principally designed and intended as children’s jewelry are also covered.

If the jewelry you export to the USA fits within the definition of children’s jewelry, it needs to adhere to the above specifications.

CA Proper 65

Manufacturers, retailers, and individuals should all ensure experienced personnel are engaged to test for toxic levels of harmful producing chemicals such as dyes and solvents as these can be unsafe chemicals as set out in the CA Proper 65 controls including lead, cadmium, other heavy metals, phthalates, bisphenol-A, furfuryl alcohol, acrylamide, formaldehyde, PFOS/PFOA and tris flame retardants.

A company producing or distributing any product in the state of California will need to have the product and packaging tested to determine the levels of hazardous substances.

How do you test jewelry for quality?

There are many different ways that jewelry can be tested and if your jewelry contains batteries that easily fall out, they might be swallowed by a child causing them serious harm.

Workmanship reviews ensure your jewelry conforms to specifications and is free from manufacturing defects. They look for scratches, dents or excessive glue, missing parts, improper fit of stones or other components, poor fit/finish, mismatched colors, misaligned patterns/labels, sharp edges or points, frayed or exposed wires, poor symmetry or misaligned components.

Pull tests on necklaces or bangles can take place by continuous pulling force on the item to check whether the fastener as well as the stringing materials are able to withstand a predetermined pulling force without breaking.

Jewelry that contains small parts that are intended to be worn by young children usually contain small parts and any small part on the jewelry that is detachable and small enough to be swallowed or inhaled by a child must pass the minimum detachment force test to satisfy the legal requirements. Also, children’s jewelry that includes batteries could be a choking hazard as the batteries contain toxic chemicals. Therefore, any children’s jewelry that contains batteries that are small enough must not be accessible without the use of a coin, screwdriver or other common household tools.

Jewelry inspection checklist

Below is an example of a typical final inspection checklist for jewelry in quality control and it must be used to perform a final inspection of all products including close-outs before shipping.

  • Verify the product is the correct model or style
  • Verify the product matches the submitted sample record – color/size/weight
  • Verify the product is stamped correctly and is legible – showing the trademark, fineness stamp and County of Origin
  • Verify the product is the correct size
  • Verify the product is clean, free of scratches and that the finish matches the product information provided
  • Verify the finished weight of product matches the product information given
  • Verify that the shank thickness does not fall below minimum allowed
  • Verify the diamond quality matches the sample provided and the product information submitted
  • Verify the product has no sharp edges or sharp prongs and be sure the stones are set face up, are tight and no cracks or chips are showing
  • Verify the product is boxed or poly bagged, and all products are labelled with the SKU code and date code
  • Verify that anti-tarnish poly tabs are included with all silver- or silver-plated products
  • Verify all advertised warranties and romance cards are included with each product

Why jewelry quality control procedures should be followed

Testing jewelry is vital to ensure your customers and clients only receive items within the federally allowed tolerances. Customers who are buying precious metals and then finding out they are actually base-metal with silver plating can cause issues. Any items that fail the final inspection and testing are considered as defective and will be converted into precious metals and stones to ensure they are not going to waste. Ensuring your jewelry is high-quality is a must when running a business.

Additional jewelry lab testing procedures to consider

There are two main tests to help to determine the quality of the metals used in jewelry. Both are accurate and widely recognized. The first test is fire assay which is used mainly for gold. The gold is melted and once cool, separated from the lead and weighed. The second test is, gravimetric/wet chemistry, which is a chemical-based reduction test which shows the precipitations of the precious metals in a solution which makes it easier to weigh.

Jewelry testing and compliance

Consumer goods are subject to various legal requirements and they can be confusing to stay on top of. Therefore, using a third-party inspection company such as HQTS can help you to ensure you are gaining the best technical resources to guarantee your company is compliant with relevant regulations.

About HQTS

Combine this with HQTS’ quality standards and services and you have a powerful, profitable and productive commercial proposition. HQTS will help ensure your jewelry is up to the task and that your goods are compliant to the relevant regulations. Read more about our jewelry testing service, please click here and please contact us for more information or any questions you may have.