Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Fakes and Frauds

Just as the fashion industry has to contend with counterfeit products, the jewelry industry has to contend with “enhanced” stones and metal mixtures. There is technically nothing fraudulent with adding something to a gemstone or coloring a pearl, as long as it is disclosed upon purchase. The unfortunate aspect of enhancing any piece of jewelry is when the consumer has no knowledge.

Recently there were some alarming articles concerning the submission of a large batch of synthetic diamonds to IGI for grading. This is particularly troublesome since it is difficult to distinguish a synthetic diamond from a real diamond outside of a lab. Additionally, the submissions were made without disclosure, meaning they didn’t say the diamonds were synthetic. So either the company submitting didn’t know they were synthetic or they were trying to pull a fast one. Either way the consumer could have been swindled if they got out of the lab.

There has also been a lot of news about enhanced gemstones and pearls. Lead glass filling of rubies makes them brighter and prettier. It removes flaws and fractures to the naked eye. Once again there is nothing wrong unless the consumer is led to believe they are purchasing a natural stone. The same is true of pearls. Pearls can be dyed to match any number of colors. A popular trend right now, but not all colored pearls are natural. I’ve gone into many jewelry stores and asked if their pearl are natural and all respond in the positive. Hmmm…

Platinum is one of the rarest metals on earth. It is mixed with other metals, just as gold is mixed. No one wears 24 karat gold jewelry, it would be too malleable. Also, just like gold, platinum should be stamped to indicate content. PT950 indicates that the platinum is 95% pure. Other metals are added to make the precious metal stronger and allow heat treating to add spring to tension settings. Generally, platinum alloys do not have metal memory so once its cast it stays that way. Many questionable practices abound in the jewelry industry which is why you should always purchase from a reputable dealer, ask questions and educate your self before purchase. It could save you a lot of money in the long run.


  1. I am always skeptical when looking at jewelry, how I am to know if what I am looking at is real? I personally can't tell by looking at a string of pearls if they are real or natural. I can see how it would be easy to swindle people when selling jewelry.

  2. Believe it or not, if you rub pearls against your teeth, they should feel gritty. Yes this is unsanitary but it's an easy way to tell real from fake and it doesn't take any special equipment.

  3. What a nice jewelery and white pearls are generally a safe bet and it is very nice jewelry. I love white pearls and thanks for nice share it.