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HQ 950769

December 31, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 950769 NLP


TARIFF NO.: 7116.20.10

Mr. Philip Freeman
Cain Customs Brokers Inc.
421 Texano
P.O. Box 150
Hildago, TX 78557

RE: Reconsideration of NYRL 850438; cubic zirconia; subheading 7117.19.50; note 10 to chapter 71; explanatory note (A) to heading 7104; explanatory note (A) to heading 7116

Dear Mr. Freeman:

We have been asked to reconsider New York Ruling Letter (NYRL) 850438 dated March 30, 1990, which dealt with the classification of imitation jewelry articles under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).


NYRL 850438 dated March 30, 1990, dealt with the classification of a variety of imitation jewelry imported from Mexico. At issue in this reconsideration is item #4, a pair of stud type earrings of base metal, gold-plated, with heart shaped cubic zirconia synthetic stones. These earrings were held to be classifiable in subheading 7117.19.50, HTSUS, which provides for imitation jewelry, of base metal, whether or not plated with precious metal, other, other.


What is the classification of earrings of base metal, gold plated, with heart shaped cubic zirconia synthetic stones.


The classification of goods under the HTSUS is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's), taken in order. GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes.

Chapter 71, HTSUS, provides for imitation jewelry. Note 10 to Chapter 71, HTSUS, states the following:

For the purposes of heading 7117, the expression "imitation jewelry" means articles of jewelry within the meaning of paragraph (a) of note 8... not incorporating natural or cultured pearls, precious or semiprecious stones (natural, synthetic or reconstructed) nor (except as plating or as minor constituents) precious metal or metal clad with precious metal.

Therefore, jewelry that incorporates precious or semiprecious synthetic stones is not considered imitation jewelry classifiable in heading 7117, HTSUS.

Explanatory Note (A) to heading 7104 of the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HCDCS), page 954, provides that:

(A) synthetic precious and semi-precious stones. This expression covers a range of chemically produced stones which either:

- because of their colour, brilliance, resistance to deterioration, and hardness are used by jewellers, goldsmiths and silversmiths in place of natural or semi-precious stones, even if they do not have the same chemical composition and crystal structure as the stones which they resemble, e.g., yttrium aluminum garnet and synthetic cubic zirconia, both of which are used to imitate diamond. (Emphasis added)

Pursuant to this note, cubic zirconia stones are considered synthetic precious gemstones. Inasmuch as the subject earrings incorporate synthetic precious stones, they cannot be considered imitation jewelry pursuant to note 10 to chapter 71, HTSUS.

Heading 7116 provides for, inter alia, articles of precious or semi-precious stones (natural, synthetic or reconstructed). Explanatory Note (A) to heading 7116 (HCDCS), page 963, provides that this heading includes articles of personal adornment containing precious or semi-precious synthetic stones that are set or mounted on base metal, whether or not plated with precious metals. The subject earrings are articles of personal adornment that have synthetic precious stones mounted in gold plated base metal. The earrings are, therefore, classified in heading 7116,

HTSUS. More specifically, the earrings are classified in subheading 7116.20.10, HTSUS, which provides for articles of precious or semiprecious stones (natural, synthetic or reconstructed), articles of jewelry.


The cubic zirconia heart earrings, Item #4, were incorrectly classified in NYRL 850438. The correct classification for these earrings is in subheading 7116.20.10, HTSUS. The rate of duty is 6.5 percent ad valorem.

Pursuant to Section 502(a)(3) of the Trade Act of 1975 (19 U.S.C. Section 2652(a)(3)) and General Note 3(c)(ii)(A), HTSUS, Mexico has been designated a beneficiary developing country for the purposes of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), provided for in Title V of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended (19 U.S.C. Section 2461, et seq.). Articles classifiable under subheading 7116.20.10, which are products of Mexico, are entitled to duty-free treatment under the GSP upon compliance with all applicable requirements.

NYRL 850438 is modified accordingly.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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