California Proposition 65 Jewelry Law

December 05, 2016

California has enacted new laws regarding the sale of retail jewelry in that state. Many other states are following suit and national chains and retailers are requiring for jewelry goods to comply with California law. The below information covers the basics you need to know to comply with California law. Even if you don’t live in California, you might need to follow these guidelines. California maintains the most stringent U.S. laws regarding lead content in jewelry components, their guidelines are good to follow for anyone in the jewelry business.

J. Goodin is working hard with testing agencies and our raw material supply chain to ensure that our products meet the requirements listed in the list below. Products in our online store are now labeled according to the below classifications. Though most products found on our website belong in Class 1, we want to keep our customers informed.

We comply with California’s Proposition 65, which still requires the labeling of products that contain lead or other potentially hazardous substances, regardless of how those products are classified for use in jewelry. Many components deemed suitable by California for use in retail jewelry still require Prop. 65 labeling. For example, Swarovski® crystals and other leaded-glass parts require a Prop. 65 “lead warning” label even though they are Class 1 suitable materials under California’s “lead in jewelry” law.

Please keep in mind that none of our fashion jewelry products are meant to be sold to children under the age of eight.

CA Jewelry-Making Materials Classification as of March 2008:

Class 1

These items are suitable for inclusion in retail jewelry. Glass crystal and fiber optics (cat’s eye) contain lead oxide (PbO), but this does not pose the same threat as metallic lead (Pb).

* Stainless or surgical steel

* Karat gold

* Sterling silver

* Platinum, palladium, iridium, ruthenium, rhodium or osmium

* Natural or cultured pearls

* Glass, including fiber optics (cat’s eye)

* Cloisonné

* Leaded-glass crystal, including rhinestones

* Cubic zirconia or cubic zirconium (CZ)

* Cut & polished gemstones**

* Ceramics

* Elastic, fabric, ribbon or rope (unless lead has been intentionally added & it is listed in Class 2)

* Natural materials, including amber, bone, coral, feathers, fur, horn, leather, shell and wood (unless lead has been intentionally added)


Class 2

These items are suitable for use in retail jewelry even though they might contain small amounts of lead. See below for allowable levels.

* Electroplated metal alloys, including white plate, yellow plate, silver plate, gold plate, copper plate, antiqued platings, etc., provided they contain:

< 10% lead by weight on or before 8/30/2009

< 6% lead by weight after 8/30/2009

* Unplated metals that contain less than 1.5% lead (for example, solid copper, raw brass sheet or wire, nickel silver, titanium and niobium)

* Gold fill, which is not electroplated, but mechanically bonded using heat and pressure

* Plastic or rubber, including acrylic, polystyrene and polyvinyl chloride (PVC), provided they contain:

< 0.06% (600 ppm) lead by weight on or before 8/30/2009

< 0.02% (200 ppm) lead by weight after 8/30/2009

* Dyes or surface coatings containing less than 0.06% (600 ppm) lead by weight


Class 3

These items are suitable for inclusion in retail jewelry. This class includes all materials that are not listed in Class 1 or Class 2 AND that contain less than 0.06% (600ppm) lead by weight.

Unsuitable for California

Any component that does not fit under Class 1, Class 2 or Class 3 is not suitable to be used in jewelry for retail sale in the state of California. This includes:

* Pending: components that we have not yet tested, or that have not yet been guaranteed by the manufacturer to comply with Class 2 or Class 3, have unknown suitability for retail sale in California at this time.

* Unknown content: trade beads, African-made components and some other cottage-industry parts (especially metal trade & African beads) are old and/or handmade in small villages, and we never know their exact composition. Even a single strand of such items can contain parts made in different batches from different materials. They might not contain any lead, but to sufficiently test them, we would have to destroy them (which means no one could enjoy them anymore!). Because we cannot guarantee that such items comply with the standards of Class 2 or Class 3, they are not suitable to be used in jewelry for retail sale in California.

* High lead content: any items with a known lead content higher than levels listed under Class 2 and Class 3 are not suitable to be used in jewelry for retail sale in California.

How concerned should I be about lead content?

Lead (Pb) is an element used to make alloys (mixtures of metals) softer and to help alloys melt at lower temperatures. The problem with using lead in alloys is that it is toxic and can cause serious health problems, especially in children. Because children’s bodies are still developing, lead can affect them in ways it is not likely to affect adults (concern for children is what initiated this legislation). The two main ways lead poses a danger are when it is:

* ingested: if components containing lead are sucked on or swallowed, saliva and/or stomach acids can leach the lead out of the metal alloy and into the body

* inhaled: when lead is heated during manufacturing, or during soldering or repair work, it can create dangerous fumes

Jewelry components containing lead are generally considered safe for adults to handle and wear externally. Nevertheless, as safety and environmental standards continue to rise, measures are being taken to use lead less, both in jewelry components and in general.

Lead oxide (PbO) is a compound sometimes used in glass-making. Advantages to using lead oxide in glass include increased refraction (which creates the beautiful prism effect we associate with glass crystal) and a lower working temperature/viscosity (which makes the glass easier to work with). During vitrification (when powdered ingredients melt under heat to form glass), the lead oxide becomes “trapped” inside the glass and can no longer be easily absorbed. In normal use, the lead in leaded glass does not leach out the way metallic lead can.

Want to know more about lead, or lead in jewelry components?

Then check out the state of California’s “Lead in Jewelry” Web pages and Proposition 65 Web pages.

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