Tiffany’s Claim of ‘New Metal’ Upheld

images of Tiffany's RUBEDO jewellery
















The National Advertising Division (NAD), an offshoot of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, said in a statement issued Aug. 16 that the famed retailer was able to back its claims for the new alloy, which it introduced in February.

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Tiffany & Co.’s assertions that RUBEDO was a “new jeweller’s metal” had previously been criticised by metallurgists in an April New York Times article. The metallurgists quoted by the Times asserted that RUBEDO – an alloy containing gold, silver, copper, zinc, germanium and silicon – was “not a metal, and it was not all that new”.

However, NAD determined that consumers would not think that RUBEDO was a new element in the periodic table, and would understand that it is a new metal alloy.

NAD also looked at whether Tiffany could claim that RUBEDO is new. After reviewing the materials submitted by Tiffany, NAD determined it could.

Another claim in Tiffany advertising—that the RUBEDO metal “marries the richness of gold, the brilliance of silver and the warmth of copper”—raised a little more concern. NAD thought the line might mislead consumers as to the actual value of its metallic components. However, Tiffany said that it had already withdrawn this claim prior to NAD’s inquiry.

The name RUBEDO derives from the Latin, meaning “redness”. In alchemy, rubedo was also the name given to the fourth and final stage in the Magnum Opus, as gold was associated with redness and alchemical success. The three alchemical stages preceeding rubedo were “nigredo” (blackness) which symbolised purtification and spiritual death; “albedo” (whiteness) which represented purification; and “citrinas” (yellowness), the solar dawn or awakening. Finally, rubedo was often associated with enlightened conciousness and the fusion of spirit and matter.

The Latin meaning of “rubedo” can be seen in the alloy’s warm tones (pictures above).