Multinational Spanish jewellery firm Tous is being investigated for falsely advertising gold and silver products that were made with plastic and other non-metallic materials.
A complaint was reportedly filed by the Spanish Association of Jewellers and Jewellery Consumers (Consujoya) in the city of southern Spanish city of Cordoba.
Consujoya president Rafael Valenzuela told local media: “We received a complaint from a consumer who argued that some of Tous’ jewellery was made of plastic covered by metal.”
The company is internationally renowned and has over 702 shops in 53 different countries.
Their most emblematic item is a pendant in the shape of a teddy bear which they have reportedly patented.
The pictures show the moment a jeweller uses a pair of pliers to cut a Tous teddy bear-shaped pendant in half and discovers the filling is made of non-metallic material.
Valenzuela said: “We bought two different types of the Tous bear pendant and when we opened them in front of the notary, we saw there was plastic inside.”
In response to the allegations, Tous said in a Twitter message: “All our gold and silver jewellery are always made in accordance with the law and comply with the precious metal legislation. In addition, they have all been certified by official laboratories in Spain.”
Reports said that the Spanish Association of Jewellers, Silversmiths and Watchmakers supports the accused company, explaining that non-metallic fillings are often used to stabilise pieces during production.
The technique used is known as electroforming, a metal-modelling process that consists of a complex chemical process carried out in laboratories to form the jewellery pieces.
According to local media, the Spanish National Court and the Spanish Attorney General’s office quizzed Tous representatives last week, as well as an individual from Applus, the lab which tests the quality of Tous products before they go on sale.
The investigation is ongoing.