The new regulation restricting the lead content of jewellery and other items, part of the EU REACH (Restriction, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) Regulation, has a specific ‘derogation’ or exemption for ‘crystal glass’.
Regular exposure to even very low quantities of lead can badly damage the intellectual and behavioural development of young children. REACH regulates the lead content of all types of jewellery and hair accessories, and all parts are included. Lead is commonly found in plastics, varnishes, paints, enamels and lacquers and in glass and crystals. The lead content of each individual part must be less than 0.05% (500 parts per million) by weight.
However, it is recognised that there are not any suitable alternatives for some materials with a higher lead content, amongst them vitreous enamels and crystal glass which are exempt from the regulation.
The legislation is enforceable from 9th October 2013 and many customers have been asking for a test to verify that glass components in jewellery and watches fall within the recognised definition of ‘crystal glass.’
In order to be classified as one of the categories of crystal glass the material must comply with three different criteria which regulate its chemical composition, its refractive index and its relative density. Through the combined resources of The Laboratory and the AnchorCert Gemmological Laboratory, The Birmingham Assay Office is in a unique position to offer this test which is now available and already proving very popular.
For more information on this UNIQUE test contact the Laboratory at The Birmingham Assay Office on 0871 871 6020 or email: