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Staying Within the Law: A Checklist for Selling Jewellery in the UK

By Maria Hickey on September 27th, 2023

For jewellery entrepreneurs, opening a jewellery shop can be an exciting business venture. Jewellery shop insurance and other legal compliance considerations can be daunting, however. 

If you’re selling jewellery in the UK, it’s important to stay within the law to protect both your business and your customers.

The Legal Requirements for Selling Jewellery UK

Operating a jewellery business requires compliance with regulations set by organisations like Trading Standards services. Staying compliant protects your customers and establishes your business as reputable. 

The key regulations to be aware of that should make up your checklist for selling jewellery in the UK include:

Hallmarking Requirements

One of the main legal requirements is hallmarking law. All jewellery articles made wholly or partly from gold, silver, platinum or palladium must be hallmarked if they are to be sold in the UK.

The hallmarks applied by the Assay Offices certify the type and purity of the precious metal. This provides consumer protection and prevents inferior quality or counterfeit jewellery items entering the market. 

As a jewellery retailer, you must ensure any items you sell conform to the hallmarking law. Only purchase jewellery from reputable businesses that can provide hallmark certificates.

Weights and Measures Regulations

You must also comply with UK weights and measures regulations. All descriptions of jewellery weights, precious metal content and diamond quality must be accurate.

For precious metals, you should have certificates from the manufacturer stating the genuine purity and metal content. Any diamonds should come with documentation verifying their carat weight, clarity, colour and cut quality.

False descriptions can mislead customers and damage your business’s reputation. Trading standards officers can visit your premises and require evidence to substantiate any claims.

Consumer Protection Regulations

The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (CPRs) prohibit misleading omissions, false claims or aggressive sales tactics.As a jewellery retailer, you must not misrepresent the place of origin, means of manufacture, quality, functionality or value of products. All material information that could influence a customer’s transaction decision must be disclosed.

For example, you must avoid claiming jewellery is handcrafted if it is actually mass-produced. You should also clearly inform customers if gemstones have been artificially treated or are lab-created rather than natural. 

Product Safety Requirements 

All jewellery sold in the UK must adhere to General Product Safety Regulations. Items must not jeopardise the safety or health of consumers when used as intended. 

  • Particular risks with jewellery include:
  • Toxic metals like cadmium or lead.
  • Jagged edges, loose components or fragile settings.
  • Metals that can cause skin irritation or allergies like nickel.

You are responsible for ensuring inventory meets all legal safety standards before selling to customers, so carefully vet suppliers and obtain safety certificates where required.

Registering with Trading Standards

To help demonstrate compliance, jewellery businesses should register with their local authority Trading Standards services. You will need to provide details like your business name, address and contact information. 

Registration enables Trading Standards to maintain oversight of jewellery retailers in their area. They can then offer support and guidance as well as intervene in cases of non-compliance.

Maintaining Accurate Records

Careful record keeping is essential. You should retain detailed purchase invoices plus certificates for hallmarking, precious metal purity and diamond quality. 

Keep a sales log with product descriptions and inventory numbers. This enables tracing in the event of recalls or complaints. Records must be kept for minimum periods – usually around 6 years.

Well organised records will aid compliance and help evidence you are meeting legal obligations if queried. They also support effective stock management and insurance claims.

Get Quality Jewellery Shop Insurance

Launching a successful jewellery business requires an understanding of UK regulations. At Brisco, we offer comprehensive jewellery shop insurance to safeguard your business, with policies providing cover for stock, equipment, liability risks and more. 

With an expert understanding of the jewellery trade, we can tailor policies to suit retailers of all sizes. Get a quote today to find out more about protecting your new venture.

Maria Hickey

For more than 20 years, Maria has worked in the insurance sector and has extensive underwriting and customer service expertise. Maria is an experienced Senior Underwriter with a particular specialism for shop, office and surgery related insurance.

All articles by Maria Hickey

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