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HQ 089880

October 18, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 089880 DFC


TARIFF NO.: 7117.90.50

Mr. Joseph J. Kenny
Liberty International, Inc.
470 Main Street
Pawtucket, RI 02860

RE: Pendants, plastic; Jewelry, imitation

Dear Mr. Kenny:

In a letter dated June 27, 1991, on behalf of Merchants Overseas, Inc., of Providence, Rhode Island, you inquired as to the tariff classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), of plastic articles produced in Korea or Taiwan. The articles are used in the jewelry industry to make earrings and other jewelry items.


Nine samples were submitted for examination. They are labelled as style nos. 59/FLPO1, 59/FLPO2, 59/FLPO6, 59/FLP12, 59/FLP13, 59/FLP17, 59/FLP18, 59/FLP22 and 59/FLP23. Except style no. 59FLP23 all of the other samples are plastic shapes (drops, ball, star, heart, ring, etc.). With the exception of style no. 59FLP23, all the styles have holes at the top for attachment to chains, posts or bracelets.

Style no. 59/FLP23 has no hole. It is a plastic "nugget" which is intended to resemble a precious or semiprecious stone. It will be set in a cage-like finding, as illustrated in the photostat submitted. When set, the plastic nugget is suspended and, with the addition of a jump ring and ear-clip, it can be used as a "drop" or pendant on a necklace, or as a drop or pendant on an earring.


Can the samples be considered imitation jewelry for tariff purposes?


Classification of goods under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides that "classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes, and, provided such headings or notes do not otherwise require, according to [the remaining GRI's taken in order]. In other words, classification is governed first by the terms of the headings of the tariff and any relative section or chapter notes.

You state that the samples are used in the jewelry industry to make pendants, earrings, or other articles and require significant additional processing before they can be used in jewelry manufacture.

You concede that the samples might be considered parts of jewelry, but there is no provision under heading 7117, HTSUSA, for parts of imitation jewelry.

It is your opinion that the samples are classifiable under subheading 3926.90.40,HTSUSA, as other articles of plastics, other, imitation gemstones. THe applicable rate of duty for this provision is 2.8 percent ad valorem.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN) to the HTSUSA, although not dispositive, should be looked to for the proper interpretation of the HTSUSA. See 54 FR 35128 (August 23, 1989). The EN to heading 71.17 at page 965 reads in pertinent part as follows:

The heading also covers unfinished or incomplete articles of imitation jewellery, (ear-rings, bracelets, necklaces, etc.) such as:

(a) Semi-finished split rings, . . .sometimes used as ear-rings without further working.

(b) Ornamental motifs of base metal, whether or not polished, assembled by small links into strips of indefinite length.

You assert that the examples set forth in the cited EN by implication require that in order to be classified under heading 7117, articles must be usable as jewelry with only insignificant processing, such as polishing, or usable as jewelry in its condition as imported. You point out that such is not the case with the articles in issue. They require further assembly before they can even be strung on a necklace or attached to an earring.

We do not agree with your analysis since the samples, excluding style 59/FLP23, as imported are in fact pendants which are articles of jewelry rather than parts of jewelry. Specifically, they are jewelry articles by virtue of the fact that they are fully shaped into recognizable articles and have holes at the top so that they can be suspended. Further, they are not beads because it is understood that beads have thru-holes through their centers.

The Jewelers' Dictionary, 1976, 3rd Addition, published by Jewelers' Circular-Keystone, defines a pendant as "1. jewelry. A hanging ornament or decoration, usually suspended on a chain."

The American Heritage Dictionary, 1985, Second College Edition, defines a pendant as "something suspended from something else, esp. an ornament or piece of jewelry attached to a necklace or bracelet."

Legal Note 8(a) to Chapter 71 reads in pertinent part as follows:

8. For the purposes of heading 71.13, the expression "articles of jewellery" means:

(a) Any small objects of personal adornment (gem- set or not) (for example, rings, bracelets, necklaces, brooches, ear-rings, watch-chains, fobs, pendants . . ." (Emphasis added.)

Legal Note 10 to Chapter 71 reads in pertinent part that for the purposes of heading 71.17 "the expression 'imitation jewellery' means articles of jewellery within the meaning of paragraph (a) of note 8 above . . ."

Following the cited definitions, the sample pendants (except style 59/FLP23) are articles of jewelry classifiable under subheading 7117.90.50, HTSUSA, as imitation jewelry, other, other, valued over 20 cents per dozen pieces or parts.

Inasmuch as style 59/FLP23 imitation gemstone does not have a hole, or any other method of suspending it on something, it is not considered a pendant. It is a part of an imitation jewelry article, but there is no provision in heading 7117, HTSUSA, for parts of imitation jewelry. Consequently, style 59/FLP23 is classifiable under subheading 3926.90.40, HTSUSA, as other articles of plastics, other, imitation gemstones.


The samples with the exception of style 59/FLP23 are considered imitation jewelry for tariff purposes. They are dutiable at the rate of 11 percent ad valorem under subheading 7117.90.50, HTSUSA.

Style 59/FLP23 is dutiable at the rate of 2.8 percent ad valorem under subheading 3926.90.40, HTSUSA.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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