A Guide to the ASTM F2999 Adult Jewelry Specification

ASTM F2999 "standard consumer safety specification for adult jewelry" is a detailed set of specifications that describe the safety specifications and test methods for adult jewelry.

This specification only applies to adult jewelry, which refers to jewelry intended to be worn primarily by people over 12 years of age. Jewelry intended to be worn by people under 12 years of age is covered by the ASTM F2923 specification for children's jewelry.

The ASTM F2999 specification covers two main types of hazards: the presence of toxic metals and mechanical dangers. This article will summarize the standards for both types of hazards. If you need to refer to the full specification, it is available on the ASTM website here.

Summary of Mechanical Specifications

Jewelry Containing Batteries

In any jewelry that contains batteries that can be swallowed or are defined as "small parts" (not exceeding 1.25 inches in any dimension), the batteries must not be accessible without the use of a common tool such as a screwdriver.

Jewelry Containing Magnets

Any jewelry that contains a hazardous magnet must have a suitable label. The full specification contains examples of such warning labels. In addition, due to the fact that magnets have the potential to affect the function of pacemakers and other implanted medical devices, manufacturers should consider additional labeling if appropriate.

Summary of Toxic Metal Specifications


The presence of lead in adult jewelry is subject to several specifications. The following is a list of different jewelry components and their maximum allowed lead content:

  • Unplated metals: 1.5% by mass
  • Surface coatings, such as paint: 600 ppm
  • Plastics and rubbers: 200 ppm
  • Electroplated metals: 6.0%
  • All other materials: 600 ppm

Some jewelry components are exempt from testing as long as they have not been treated during manufacturing in a way that introduces lead. These are:

  • Gemstones, such as diamonds, rubies and pearls
  • Paper, cardboard, and wood
  • Textiles, both natural and synthetic
  • Some metals that have not undergone any process that introduces lead, e.g. soldering
  • Surgical stainless steel
  • Precious metals such as gold, sterling silver, platinum, and others


If an item of jewelry, or any of its part, was tested and found to contain less than 1.5% of cadmium, then it does not require any further testing. However, if that item exceeds this limit, further specifications apply:

  • Plastic/polymeric materials must not exceed 75 ppm soluble cadmium
  • Metal materials must not exceed 200 µg soluble cadmium

Furthermore, if the item is "mouthable", then the content of soluble cadmium in it must not exceed 18 µg. An item is defined as mouthable if it is smaller than 5 cm on each side, but not so small as to be considered a “small part”.

Jewelry Containing Liquids

No item of jewelry may contain any liquid that requires special labeling under 16 CFR 1500.14.


There are no specifications regarding the amount of nickel present in adult jewelry. However, if the jewelry is sold as being suitable for people who are sensitive to nickel, then appropriate tests must be carried out.

QIMA - Laboratory Testing for ASTM F2999 Compliance

The full ASTM F2999 specification is very complex and extensive, and this article is only meant to provide a summary of its requirements. The best way to ensure that your product is fully compliant with F2999 is by engaging a professional testing provider.

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