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HQ 954877

December 21, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 954877 MMC


TARIFF NO.: 7104.20.00

District Director
U.S. Customs Service
10 Causeway Street
Boston, MA 02222-1059

RE: Protest No. 0401-92-100306; Sapphire crackle; Chapter 71 Note 1(a)

Dear District Director:

The following is our decision regarding the request for further review of Protest No. 0401-92-100306, which concerns the classification of sapphire crackle under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). The entry was liquidated on February 14, 1992, and a protest was timely filed on May 15, 1992.


Sapphire crackle consists of an assortment of rough pieces of a opaque or clear glass-like material created from synthetic sapphire boules. Boules are used in industrial applications, such as instrument bearings, jewel bearings and substrate. Due to varying factors during manufacture, the boules can crack. Once cracked, the boule cannot be used for its intended function in the production of industrial components. These cracked pieces are known as crackle. Crackle has no industrial use and is usually melted for reuse in the manufacturing of more boules.

Boules are created by adding pure aluminum oxide powder into the top of a furnace heated to 2050 F. The powder is sifted into a cylinder and falls through the furnace into an intense flame where it melts and forms the pear shaped boules. The finished boule ultimately will be split along its axis to produce sapphires.

The sapphire crackle was classified in subheading 7104.20.00, HTSUS, as unworked synthetic or reconstructed precious or semi-precious stone. Protestant argues that the sapphire crackle is properly classifiable as other aluminum oxide or other mineral substances.

The subheadings under consideration are as follows:

7104.20.00 [s]ynthetic or reconstructed precious or semi- precious stones, whether or not worked or graded but not strung, mounted or set; ungraded synthetic or reconstructed precious or semi-precious stones; temporarily strung for convenience of transport: [o]ther, unworked or simply sawn or roughly shaped.

2818.20.00 [a]rtifical corundum, whether or not chemically defined; aluminum oxide; aluminum hydroxide: [a]luminum oxide, other than artificial corundum.

2530.90.00 [m]ineral substances not elsewhere specified or included: [o]ther.


Whether the sapphire crackle is classifiable as synthetic or reconstructed precious or semi-precious stone?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUS is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's), taken in order. GRI 1, HTSUS, states in part that for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. Chapter 71, HTSUS, provides in pertinent part for precious or semiprecious stones.

Note 1, to Chapter 71, HTSUS, states:

[s]ubject to note 1(a) of section VI and except as provided below, all articles consisting wholly or partly:

(a) [o]f natural or cultured pearls or of precious or semiprecious stones (natural, synthetic or reconstructed)...
are to be classified in this chapter.

Sapphire crackle is wholly made from boules which are wholly synthetic semiprecious stones. Therefore, even if the crackle is a refined artificial corundum and even though it may be waste of an artificial gemstone manufacturing process, it must be classified in Chapter 71, HTSUS, because of the cited note.

For the foregoing reasons we find that the sapphire crackle is classifiable as other unworked or simply sawn or roughly shaped synthetic precious stones in subheading 7104.20.00, HTSUS.


The protest should be denied in full. In accordance with Section 3A (11)(b) of Customs Directive 0993550-065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, this decision, together with the Customs Form 19, should be mailed by your office to the protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the entry in accordance with the decision must be accomplished prior to mailing of the decision. Sixty days from the date of the decision, the Office of Regulations and Rulings will take steps to make the decision available to Customs personnel via the Customs Ruling Module in ACS and the public via the Diskette Subscription Service, Lexis, Freedom of Information Act and other public access channels.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings

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