The General Administration of Quality, Inspection and Quarantine and the Standardisation Administration of the People’s Republic of China have published a proposed standard, GB 28480-2012, which specifies the categories and limits the quantity of harmful elements in adornment. Proposed by China’s National Light Industry Council, the standard’s scope applies to all types of non-precious jewellery and ornaments, including those used by children, and indoor decorations except for gems and natural/artificial jadestones. The major harmful elements referred to in the standard are nickel, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, antimony, barium and selenium.
The standard defines the acceptable rate for nickel release for post-assembly products inserted into ears and other parts of the body as less than 0.2 μg/cm2/week while the acceptable release rate for ornaments and jewellery that come into direct and prolonged contact with the skin such as earrings, necklaces, rings, watch straps and bracelets is set at less than 0.5 μg/cm2/week. Any coating or plating on ornaments or jewellery should also be sufficient to ensure the nickel release rate does not exceed 0.5μg/cm2/week for at least two years of normal use.
The standard specifies the maximum content limit of harmful elements for jewellery (see Table 1) and the maximum content limit of soluble elements in jewellery worn by children aged 14 and less (see Table 2). It also lists the method for determining the rate of nickel release according to GB/T 19719 and GB/T 28485 and approved methods for determining the total and soluble content of other harmful elements in jewellery according to GB/T 28020, GB/T 28021 and GB/T 28019. References were made to previous standards for jewellery and adornments.
Table 1: Maximum limitation for total content of baneful elements in adornments
Chromium (VI) Cr
Maximum limitation Wmax mg/kg
b) For children jewellery: the total content of Lead (Pb) shall be less than or equal to 300mg/kg; total contents of other baneful elements should meet the requirement in 4.2.1 a); the contents of soluble elements should be less than or equal to the correspondent maximum limitation listed in Table 2.
Table 2: Maximum limitation for content of soluble baneful elements in children jewellery
Maximum Limitation (mg/kg)
4.2.2 Adornment made from other materials shall follow its relevant national standard. e.g. the adornment made from textile shall follow the textile safety requirement of baneful elements limitation.
GB/T 19719 Jewellery – Determination of the release of nickel – Method of spectrometry