Gemstone jewelry makes a special gift from a loved one. It’s one you want to keep for life in part, because of its sentimental value, but also for its genuine purity and rarity. You tend to believe that if you buy this kind of jewelry from long-standing reputable department stores it would be authentic as advertised.
Four years ago, Rossen Reports led an investigation with professional gemologist, Antoinette Matlins. They discovered ruby jewelry at these retailers filled with lead glass. They bought ruby rings at Lord & Taylor and Macy’s, and a ruby pendant at JCPenney. They paid thousands of dollars for all three according to WRCBtv.com. Sales people at each store said the rubies in these pieces were ‘genuine,’ ‘natural’ or ‘real.’
The Rossen Reports team had these pieces analyzed at two independent labs and found that all three gems tested had high levels of lead glass. One ruby ring worth $1200 would only be worth half that price wholesale based on the level of lead measured.
Lead-filled rubies under a microscope show air bubbles trapped inside. Natural rubies would never show air bubbles.
At the time of this report, JCPenney and Lord & Taylor offered refunds to dissatisfied customers.
How can consumers like you know what to look for when shopping for genuine gemstone jewelry? Here are some tips to avoid scams:
- If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. According to the Gemological Institute of America – If stones rose in price that quickly, sellers would keep them for themselves.
- Listen to your instincts. Unsolicited emails, deep discount sales should be met with skepticism. If you hear alarm bells in your head in these situations, pay attention. Your gut instincts are likely valid.
- Do your research. Learn everything you can about the 4 C’s – Cut, Clarity, Color, and Carat Weight. Find out the source of the gems before you buy.
- Confirm credentials. Ask for independent gem grade reports and certifications of authenticity. Then, get a second opinion from a trusted independent jeweler.
Harold Jewelry of Phoenix, Arizona hopes that these tips help you to shop with more confidence. We pride ourselves on ensuring that our gemstone jewelry is authenticated and genuine. See our designs here.