You should make sure that what you are buying is what you
think you are paying for. Buying a piece of jewellery should
be an enjoyable experience. But how do you know what you are
buying is actually what you think you are paying for.'
Ask questions and make sure you understand what you are
- whether the 'gemstone'
is natural or laboratory made or whether it has been
- whether the bracelet
is genuine 18 ct gold or just 18 ct gold plated
- what is a
'certificate' or a 'valuation'; how are they different
and what do they mean
- what is meant by any
descriptive terms like 'synthetic', 'created' or
JEWELLERY CAN CONTAIN NATURALLY FORMED GEMSTONES OR
LABORATORY MADE GEMSTONES, OR EVEN STONES THAT ARE
IMITATIONS OF GENUINE GEMSTONES.
Natural gemstones are formed completely by nature without
human interference, with the exception of processes such as
cutting and polishing. However, gemstones may also be
man-made—for example laboratory made diamonds which have the
same chemical composition as natural diamonds; or Biron
Emeralds which have the same chemical composition as natural
stones may be made to look like gemstones but hear no other
similarity to natural and man-made gemstones.
Caution! The relative
value of natural, man-made and artificial gemstones may vary
GEMSTONES MAY BE TREATED TO DISGUISE IMPERFECTIONS AND TO
ENHANCE THEIR APPEARANCE.
Ask your jeweller whether the gemstone has been treated and,
if so, ask what type of treatment and the ramifications of
relative value of treated versus equivalent untreated
gemstones varies depending on
the type of treatment and gemstone
Treatments also vary in
their level of permanency and the effect they have on the
care requirements for the gemstone.
GEMSTONES MAY BE AFFECTED BY CERTAIN CHEMICALS OR PROCESSES.
Some gemstones may be affected by heating or cleaning agents
commonly used in the repair of jewellery whether or not the
gemstones have been treated.
Your jewellery may also be affected by cleaning agents used
in your home. Check with your jeweller regarding your
particular piece of jewellery.
Caution! Not all treatments are easily detectable, even
by qualified gemmologists and registered valuers.
Do you really know what you are buying or if the person you
are dealing with is reputable?
Have you asked the right questions?
What are your consumer rights?
certificate is a statement of the technical merits of a
gemstone whereas a valuation is a statement of its value. A
valuation may or may not be based on a certificate.
Caution! If a retailer
refers to a certificate or a valuation, ask to see a copy.
Check the credentials of the valuer or organisation
providing the certificate or valuation.
VALUE STATED IN THE VALUATION OF A PIECE OF JEWELLERY CAN
VARY DEPENDING UPON A NUMBER OF FACTORS.
A valuation for a particular piece of jewellery will vary
depending on the purpose of the valuation - that is, what
the valuation is designed to be used for - and the market it
is based on.
Sometimes a jewellery retailer will refer to a valuation
during the sales process. These valuations can play an
important part in enticing you to buy. If a valuation is
referred to or provided in the selling process you should
ask what sort of valuation it is, check that it reflects the
price the retailer would normally sell the piece of
jewellery for and ask if any limitations apply on the
Caution! If a valuation is referred to, check what it
You may want a valuation
for a specific purpose. For example, you may want a
valuation for resale purposes but you should be aware that
the valuation may vary depending on the timeframe in which
you want to resell your jewellery.
Or you may want a valuation for insurance purposes. In this
case the valuation will also need to reflect the market that
you are buying in - for example, whether you are buying over
the internet or a normal shop front, buying in the new
jewellery marker or the second-hand market. These variables
can affect the valuation.
Caution! If you are requesting
a valuation make sure that the valuer knows the purpose for
which you are requesting it
Know your Rights
What you can
do if your rights have been infringed.
The Trade Practices Act 1974
prohibits misleading and deceptive conduct or conduct that
is likely to mislead or deceive consumers.
It also prohibits false or misleading representations from
being made when supplying or promoting goods or services,
including representations relating to price, composition,
value, quality, or the savings associated with the purchase.
Part V, Division 2 of the Act also implies certain
conditions and warranties into consumer contracts for the
supply of goods or services, including jewellery and
In particular, it implies a warranty that:
- goods must be of a
merchantable quality—that is, they must meet the basic
level of quality and performance that could be expected
given their price and how they are described
- goods must correspond
with their description, photograph or sample
- services will be
rendered with due care and skill and that any materials
supplied in connection with those services will be
reasonably fit for the purpose.
In general, the implied
conditions and warranties cannot be excluded or modified by
the trader—for example, by displaying a `No refund' sign.
WHAT YOU CAN DO IF YOUR RIGHTS HAVE BEEN INFRINGED
- Contact the trader and
try to resolve the dispute—put your complaint in
- Find out whether the
trader or the relevant industry association has any
procedures for resolving disputes.
- Contact your state or
territory office of fair trading for further options.
- Read about your rights
in the ACCC warranties and refunds brochure available
from the ACCC Infocentre on 1300 302 502 or online at
Consumers have a right to take action if they have been
subject to misleading and deceptive conduct or false
representations. You can also sue for loss or damage
including loss as a result of a breach of the statutory
conditions and warranties. However, the ACCC can not take
court action on behalf of a consumer if a trader fails to
meet its contractual obligations implied under the Act. This
is because it would be a breach of the contract between the
buyer and the seller, rather than a breach of the Trade
ACCC and the state and territory fair trading offices can,
however, take action against businesses for misleading or
deceptive conduct or false or misleading representations.
1300 302 502
Indigenous infoline 1300 303 143
ACT Office of Fair Trading
GPO Pox 158
Tel (02) 6207 0400
Fax (02) 6207 0538
NSW Office of Fair Trading
PG Box 972
Parramatta NSW 2124
Tel: 13 32 20 or (02) 9895 0111
Fax: (02) 9895 0222
VIC Office of Fair Trading
Consumer Affairs Victoria
GPO Box 123a
Melbourne VIC 3001
Hotline: 1300 558 181 Tel: (03) 9627 6444
TAS Office of Fair Trading
GPO Box 1244j
Hobart TAS 7001
Tel: 1300 65 44 99
Fax: (03)6233 4882
Western Australian Office of Fair Trading
Locked Bag 14
Cloisters Square WA 6850
Tel: 1300 30 40 54 or (08) 9282 0777
Fax: (08) 9282 0850
South Australia Office of
Consumer and Business Affairs
GPO Box 1719
Adelaide SA 5001
Tel: (08) 82049777
Fax: (08) 8204 9769
South Australian country callers telephone 131 882 at the
cost of a local call (exluding mobiles)
Northern Territory Office
of Consumer and Business Affairs
GPO Box 4160
Darwin NT 0801 Tel: (08) 8999 5184
Fax: (08) 8999 6260
Queensland Office of Fair
GPO Box 3111
Brisbane QLD 4001
Tel: (07) 3246 1500
Fax: (07) 3246 1504