Lead Question

California Department of Toxic Substance Control
The Metal- Containing Jewelry Law

Class 1

Class 3

Class 1 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 3 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.

 

Class 2

Unsuitable for California

Class 2 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 plating, etc., provided they contain:
    < 10% lead by weight on or before 8/30/2009
    < 6% lead by weight after 8/30/2009
  •  Unplanted metals that contain less than 1.5% lead (for example, solid copper, raw brass sheet or wire, nickel, 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

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.

 

*** The following stones do not fit in Class 1: aragonite, bayldonite, boleite, cerussite, crocoite,  ekanite, linarite, mimetite, phosgenite, samarskite, vanadinite and wulfenite.
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