Jewellery, precious metal products

A lot of jewellery items contain precious metals. Precious metals are gold, silver, platinum, palladium and alloys of these metals. Precious metal products can be very valuable depending on the precious metal, so you should remember the following things when buying such products.

All precious metal jewellery items that are sold must have a purity and name marking.

A purity mark or an alloy mark shows what kind of a metal has been used to make the jewellery item and its percentage in the alloy of that particular item. Purity marks are presented in a millesimal system (shows the number of pure precious metal parts per 1,000 alloy parts). The karats marking system is not allowed in Estonia.

The name mark on the item refers to its manufacturer or importer. A name mark may be a letter, a combination of letters or a symbol, which is entered in the state register of name marks.

The number of the purity mark cannot be smaller than the standard finesse. The content of precious metal in a product cannot be lower than the standard finesse shown on the purity mark. Standard finesse markings of precious metal products are as follows: 375, 585, 500, 750, 916 and 999 for gold; 800, 830, 925 and 999 for silver; 950, 850 and 999 for platinum; and 500, 950 and 999 for palladium.

When purchasing jewellery, prefer products that have a control marking of a European Union member state (the Estonian control marking is a symbol of a lion) in addition to the purity and name markings.

A control marked product has been checked by a state assayer (in Estonia, this is done by the Estonian Assay Office) and is guaranteed to comply with the finesse marking on it. You have the right to ask the vendor to mark the jewellery item with a control marking.

All markings on the item have to be clearly readable. Markings on the products have to be made mechanically or with a laser. Copying markings with moulds is not allowed.

The vendor is required to provide you with additional information about the jewellery’s characteristics, used metals, preparation methods, markings on the item, surface coatings, country of origin and guarantee, should you so desire. The vendor should also explain any restrictions to using the jewellery item that arise from the construction of the item or its other qualities, and give you directions for jewellery care.

If the jewellery item in question includes precious stones, be sure to ask the vendor for a document that describes the stones’ information. Among vendors of precious stones, it is considered good practice to provide, in the case of expensive stones or products (when the value of the stone exceeds that of the rest of the product), a certificate that describes the most important characteristics of the stone.

If the vendor has ordered labels for products with precious stones from the Estonian Assay office, you can check the validity of the label by looking up the number on the label from the website of AS Metrosert.

When purchasing pearls, pay attention to whether you are dealing with less costly freshwater pearls or more expensive pearls that have been cultured in salt water.

If you prefer unique jewellery to store-bought items, you can order it from a craftsman.

When ordering from a craftsman, be sure to do it in written form, in order to prevent potential problems in the future (e.g. when the jewellery item does not comply with your order). The order should include a the model for the jewellery item based on a sketch or a sample, the precious metal that will be used and its purity mark, gemstones that will be used, estimated weight of the item, production fee (size of advance payment if that is necessary), deadline for filling the order.

Jewellery will retain its looks better if

  • you keep every jewellery item in a separate box;
  • use a small soft brush, warm water and soap to clean jewellery (for a more thorough cleaning turn to a craftsman);
  • regularly check the condition of your jewellery (whether the fastenings, locks, links, connectors and precious stones are intact);
  • you keep your chains in a hanging position;
  • avoid jewellery coming into contact with chemicals, dropping them and impacts to precious stones;
  • You do not repair jewellery on your own at home, e.g. by soldering or gluing;
  • you take care of jewellery according to instructions given at the store/ by the craftsman.

If the jewellery item breaks less than six months after the purchase and you have worn and maintained it correctly, you may be dealing with a defective work of a manufacturer.

Turn to the vendor first should the jewellery item break.  Turn to the Customer Protection Board if the vendor refuses to solve the issue or you are not satisfied with the solution offered by the company.

If the issue cannot be solved with the help of the Board either, you have the right to file a complaint to the Consumer Complaints Committee, which operates at the Consumer Protection Board. The Committee can start solving the dispute if the product or service in question is worth 20 or more euros.

If you do not agree with the decision of the Committee, you may turn to the county court. The other Party has a right to do the same. 

Remember!
  • Precious metal products that have been covered with nickel are not allowed to be sold because nickel may cause allergies.
  • When paying at a jewellery store or to a craftsman for a jewellery item, be sure to ask for a receipt. Be sure to keep the receipt as it may help solve potential problems in the future.