Tuesday, February 10, 2009

How the CPSIA Affects Children's Jewelry Designers

As most children's designers and retailers know, the Consumer Product Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) took affect today. I've been researching this for the past couple of months and right when I feel that I've got a grasp on things, new information develops and/or guidelines change. Then, it's back to "square one". I've also had many children's jewelry designers contact me regarding this issue. I myself have contacted those in my line of business to seek advice and collaborate on how to comply with this new law.
Most of the information posted on the web is one's intepretation of this poorly and vaguley written law. It's EXTREMELY difficult to find a solution when there are so many shades of gray. The bottom line is you either "sink or swim" and I've put too much into Fairy Tale Jewels to just close up shop. The following is MY interpretation of the law. Please feel free to comment if you have another opinion or additional information to share :0)

If you are a children's jewelry designer, we are one of the hardest ones hit with this new law. The stay recently placed on the CPSIA does NOT apply to us. Nope, starting TODAY, manufacturers and sellers of children's jewelry (including crafters) have to have an accredited laboratory test their jewelry and certify that it's within the allowable limits.

Now, there are a few exceptions. If your products are designed with the following, you DO NOT have to test (for now anyway):

  • Precious gemstones: diamond, ruby, sapphire and emerald
  • Semi-precious gemstones, "provided that the mineral or material is not based on lead or lead compounds and is not associated in nature with any mineral that is based on lead or lead compounds (unacceptable stones include aragonite, bayldonite, boleite, cerussite, crocoite, linarite, mimetite, phosgenite, vanadinite & wulfenite)
  • Natural or cultured pearls (pearls that are dyed MUST be tested)
  • .925 sterling silver beads, charms, components

So, if you have a bracelet designed with anything other than what is listed above, then in needs to be tested. If you have a bracelet designed with all sterling silver components and colorful cat's eye beads...it has to be tested. Yes, cat's eye beads do contain lead. It's a different form of lead (it's encased), but nonetheless, it is lead. Swarovski crystals...big no, no. Ok, you can use one 6mm round, it's equal to 300 ppms...woohoo! Or, a couple of 4mm bicones, whoopie!

My plan is to use cubic zirconia instead of Swarovski crystals. Much, much more expensive (like 5x's the cost of Swarovski), but there's not really any other options available. I thought about Czech glass crystals, but they even have traces of lead in them. Maybe not enough to add up, but they do contain lead.

The CPSIA has said that they will have definite answers as to which components are acceptable by August '09. So for now, it's CZs for me, freshwater pearls and sterling silver. So much for being inspired by color!

If you would like to read more about the CPSIA, please checkout the link below:



Anonymous said...

You might want to double check CZ's. From what I've been told they do contain trace amounts of lead.

Fairy Tale Jewels, LLC said...

I've checked with the manufacturers and they've said that they are lead free. It's hard to trust anyone though, espcially when it's your butt on the line :) If there are traces, they wouldn't add up to 300ppms thought...but you would still need to test, which is what we are trying not to do! I've heard of trace amounts of lead in "lead free" glass crystals too. Let's just hope that they exempt crystals altogether and we don't have to worry about any of this!

Linda Cramer said...

Thanks for the explanation..we just recently switched all our bracelets to all pearls for this very reason. It was a hard decision because people like the ones with Swarovski Crystals better. Also, so many people are still selling these, I really wondered if we made the right decision. Thank you for your blog update.

Monica said...

A jewelry design market that seems to be under served, at least in my area, is the market for upscale children's jewelry. Most of the jewelry I see in children's boutiques appears to be mass produced, possibly imported from overseas. This is important for several reasons. Much of the imported jewelry is cast in metals that contain lead which is a known health hazard to children. Parents are aware of this and are likely to be picky about the jewelry they purchase for their children. The second compelling reason to offer upscale children's jewelry is parents are willing to spend more on their children these days and children are much more knowledgeable and demanding about what they want. Designer Jewelry is preferable in most of the cases.

Fairy Tale Jewels, LLC said...

*Update* We've had the CZs tested and they do fall under 100 ppms, so they are safe...YEAH! Just a lot more expensive :) Although they are safe, they are not exempt, so you must have them tested!