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Jewellers Vigilance Canada Inc. is a not-for-profit association funded
solely by the jewellery industry. The following services are provided
for the jewellery buying public:
It is part of JVC's mandate to mediate complaints between consumers,
retailers, suppliers and the jewellery trade in general by understanding
both sides of a situation when it arises and encouraging compromise to
effect an equitable solution for both parties.
All complaints submitted to JVC must be done in writing and include any
copies (please keep your originals) of appraisals, bill of sale,
warranties, etc. Upon receipt of the proper documentation, JVC will contact
the complainee with a file number and inform the complainee of what exactly
JVC can do for them.
What You Should Know About Buying Jewellery
- Learn as much as you can about the jewellery you want, before buying.
- Feel free to ask questions when you are shopping.
- Let the jeweller know if you do not understand a term used.
- When comparing prices, be sure that you are comparing similar merchandise.
For example, two diamonds may be of the same carat weight but if they
differ in colour, clarity and cut (i.e. their quality), these important
factors will affect their price.
- Remember that if an article bears a quality mark such as " 14K", then
it must be accompanied by a trademark for which either application or
registration has been made in Canada. The trademark is identification
of the manufacturer.
- View deep discounts with caution. If it sounds too good to be true,
it probably is too good to be true. Moreover, one store's
"50% off" could turn out to be the same as another's regular price.
Know Your Jeweller
Knowing the seller is as important as knowing the product. Ask friends
for recommendations and check for the store's current membership in the
Canadian Jewellers Association, the national organization that represents
the jewellery industry. (The CJA certificate that is displayed in member
stores is updated annually.) JVC recommends when looking for a jeweller
choose a member of the Canadian
- Take the time to find a professional jeweller with whom you feel comfortable
and in whom you have confidence. The jeweller may have lengthy experience,
or training in jewellery operations, watchmaking or gemmology.
- Check for other services such as sizing, repairs, appraisals, and
remounts. Can the jeweller service the jewellery he or she sells?
- As well, it is wise to check store policies on refunds and exchanges
early on in your shopping.
- Remember, if you don't know your jewellery, know your jeweller! Don't
take chances with important purchases - especially when they have sentimental
A Word on Advertisements
- Listen, look and read carefully!
- For example, when a diamond is advertised by carat weight only and
the price seems unbelievably low, it may likely be that other aspects
of the gem which affect price (colour, clarity and cut) are very poor.
Here it is especially important when you are comparing prices, to be
certain that you are comparing similar merchandise.
- A diamond advertised as weighing ".25 points" can be misread as being
1/4 carat in weight. In fact, 1/4 carat is ".25 carat" while ".25points"
is equal to 1/400ths of a carat. Be wary of this tactic, which may be
seen in mail order advertising.
- Inexpensive gold chains can be lightweight and very delicate. As a
result, they may break easily and be difficult and costly to repair.
When comparing prices, compare quality as well.
- Be wary of the "liquidation sale". It could consist of only a few
pieces left over from a company gone out of business long ago, supplemented
by new merchandise at regular or so-called "discounted" prices.
- Finally, once again, don't believe extravagant claims. If it sounds
too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true.
After You Buy
- Be sure you get a proper receipt with a description of the jewellery
(including stones) that you are purchasing.
- It's always wise to keep a record of your purchases especially when
they are major ones. This includes your receipt and any guarantee, certificate
of appraisal, cancelled cheque and a copy of the advertisement, if applicable.
- Following your purchase, treat your jewellery with care. Do not wear
your jewellery when you are doing rough work or playing sports. Nor
should you attempt to repair or otherwise tamper with your jewellery.
Instead, visit your jeweller periodically to have it checked and it
will usually get a professional "shine-up" then too.
Your professional jeweller and the Canadian Jewellers Association are
pleased to offer the following tips on the care and cleaning of your fine
- Don't wear your diamond when you're playing sports or doing rough
- Don't let your diamond come in contact with strong chlorine bleach.
It won't hurt the diamond, but it can pit or discolour the mounting.
- Don't jumble your diamond pieces in a jewel case. They can scratch
other jewellery and each other. Place them in a small plastic bag, a
pouch or wrap in tissue paper.
- Do see your jeweller at least once a year to have your precious jewellery
checked for loose prongs and any signs of wear. S/he will usually give
them a professional "shine up" at the same time.
Cleaning Your Diamonds
Diamonds get smudged, soiled and dusty. Lotions, powders, soaps, even
natural skin oils, put a film on diamonds (especially at the back), making
them look somewhat dull and lifeless. Here are four ways to clean your
diamonds and keep them their brilliant best:
- Detergent Bath - Prepare a small bowl of lukewarm suds using any mild
liquid detergent and water. Brush the pieces with an eyebrow brush or
soft toothbrush while they are in the suds, then rinse them under running
water. Pat dry with a soft lintless cloth.
- Cold Water Soak - Make a half-and-half solution of cold water and
household ammonia in a cup. Soak the diamond pieces 30 minutes. Gently
brush with an old soft toothbrush and swish in the solution once more.
Rinse and dry as mentioned before.
- Quick-Dip Method - Buy one of the brand name liquid jewellery cleaners
with its kit, choosing the kind most useful to you. Read the label and
follow its instructions. Don't touch your clean diamonds with your fingers.
Handle jewellery by its edges.
- Ultrasonic Cleaner - This is a small machine consisting of a cup which
you fill with water and mild detergent. When turned on, a high-frequency
turbulence creates the cleaning action. Read the instructions for the
machine very carefully before use.
Karat Gold Jewellery
Always separate your gold jewellery to prevent scratching. Wrap in a
tissue or place in a small clean plastic bag or pouch.
Remove all jewellery before showering or cleaning. Soap can leave a film
on gold, making it look dull.
Cleaning your karat gold jewellery
Ask your professional jeweller to recommend a commercial cleaner or make
your own solution:
Make a mixture of soapy water (mild detergent) and a few drops of ammonia,
then brush your gold jewellery with an old soft toothbrush. Rinse. Finally,
dip into rubbing alcohol to remove all traces of soap or grease and pat
dry with a soft, lintless cloth.
Treat pearls gently. Never toss them carelessly into a purse or jewel
box. Keep them separate from other jewellery as pearls can easily get
Put on your pearls after applying cosmetics, hairsprays and perfume as
these can be quite harmful to their lustre. Bring your pearls back to
your jeweller for restringing about once a year. Your jeweller will have
them strung with a knot between each pearl, to prevent loss should the
Cleaning your cultured pearls
Use only very mild soap and water solution to clean your pearls and brush
gently with a very soft old toothbrush. Rinse and let them air dry naturally.
Avoid ultrasonic cleaners, all chemicals and abrasives.
With so many different types of coloured gemstones available, your professional
jeweller can guide you on the care and cleaning of your specific gemstone.
Here are a few tips:
Lapis-lazuli, turquoise, ivory and amber should never be in contact with
a cleaning solution containing any type of bleach, ammonia or other strong
Certain gemstones should not be cleaned in an ultrasonic cleaner because
they could be damaged.
These include: amber, aquamarine, emerald, ivory, jet, lapis-lazuli, malachite,
moonstone, opal, pearl, peridot, rhodonite, shell, (cameos), turquoise,
tanzanite, zircon, and any imitation stones.
Opals can be safely cleaned in mild soapy lukewarm water. It is a popular
misconception that "oiling" will increase an opal's longevity.
It is a good idea to remove your watch from your wrist before winding
it to avoid breakage.
Always wind a watch in the morning so it has maximum motion to resist
knocks encountered in normal wear.
Have the battery in a quartz watch changed immediately after it runs out
as dead batteries left in the watch can leak and ruin it. Never attempt
to change the battery yourself, take it to your watchmaker or jeweller
who can provide this service.
If your watch is not water-resistant, be careful to keep it dry. Avoid
exposing it to all types of moisture.
"What is a Jewellery Appraisal?
It is a written professional opinion of the authenticity, quality, design
and approximate value of a piece of jewellery. Since it is an opinion,
there can be variations between competent appraisals.
Why you might need an Appraisal?
The most common reason for obtaining an appraisal is for insurance purposes
(i.e. insuring against loss, theft, or damage). This page addresses itself
to this type of appraisal only.
The cost of your Appraisal
Appraisal charges vary according to the service being rendered. Generally,
the more thorough and detailed (and hence the more useful) the appraisal
is, the more it will cost. Therefore, don't try to save money on an appraisal.
The details of your Appraisal
Since many insurance companies retain the option of replacing your lost
or stolen jewellery with "similar" items, an accurate and complete description
of the item is essential to be sure of a proper replacement. Therefore,
a complete appraisal should include the following details.
- Major (or primary) stones identified and their shape, dimensions and
approximate weight given;
- The "quality" of major stones described. For diamonds this includes
colour, clarity and cut. For coloured stones it includes clarity, as
well as hue, tone and intensity of colour. (Superlatives such as "beautiful"
ring, or "fine" diamond are not used because they do not aid in replacement.
- Secondary stones are listed and identified, with their approximate
size and total weight given. Their quality may be given as an average.
- Metal chains and mountings are described by their quality, design,
workmanship, weight and any stampings on them.
- A photograph of the item should accompany the written appraisal.
- The estimated retail replacement cost of the item is given.
- An appraisal should also state the date it was carried out, and the
price of precious metal at the time of the appraisal.
- An explanation of terms used should he included, to aid in the understanding
of the document.
When to have your jewellery appraised?
Ideally, you should have your jewellery appraised to account for current
values of precious metals and gemstones. This is also an excellent opportunity
for the jewellery appraiser to inspect the condition of the jewellery.
Choosing a jewellery appraiser
There are no legal requirements or regulations to appraise jewellery.
However, JVC recommends that whenever possible choose an Accredited Appraiser.
Crime Prevention & Reporting
JVC is in full partnership with the RCMP. Since 1996,
we have worked closely with the RCMP to help educate officers about the
jewellery industry. We have facilitated six law enforcement seminars with
over 120 officers participating. The result for our industry has been
an unprecedented number of arrests made, of individuals and groups, working
against the ethics of our industry.
You can report any criminal issues to Crime Stoppers
Phonebusters is the national deceptive telemarketing call center,
operated by the Ontario Provincial Police. They can be contacted at 1-888-495-8501
Canadian Government Competition Bureau
The Competion Bureau provides all information to do with the Competition
Act. Report misleading advertising, information on Trademarks, Copyrights,
Precious Metals Marking Act and Measures Canada.
They can be reached at 1-800-348-5358
Please see the JVC Resources Page for complete addressess
and contact information.
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