Earlier this month an article popped up online about jewelry that had been worn at the Golden Globes this year. I was in shock to see a brand that should never be listed, in any place, next to Tiffany & Co. I'm not going to state the name of the actual brand here, but perhaps you can do some research and figure it out. This brand is sold on almost every cruise ship in existence. It is also sold at the stores JCPenny, Macy's, Saks, and QVC. They are one of those brands, perhaps the most widespread, that makes people look at reputable jewelry brands and say, "Why is that so expensive? I can get that from ____ for so much less. " It is because they aren't selling what they claim to be selling. Check out the BBB complaints and you shall see. You will find a lot of negative conversations on the internet about them as well. When my mom and I went on a recent cruise we listened to one of those talks to get people into their store. There was a raffle as well. My mom said, "I knew this was going to happen", as I was upset that all the people were being scammed. When you are in the business, and know exactly how much things cost, it is very upsetting. It is a huge disservice to honest brands that have integrity.

I wrote about this a long time ago when I was making silver jewelry. There is a problem when, for example, a bracelet is being sold for the same amount of money it costs to buy just one of the 30+ stones that are part of the bracelet...and you are in the business buying from the suppliers that are accredited by highly respected organizations, like the GIA. Many fraudulent brands, like the one I speak of, take poor quality/worthless gemstones and artificially enhance them by pumping them with glass and color to make them appear like the real deal. To make matters worse, while this brand was giving its speech on the cruise, they were talking about fake gemstones on the market.  They spoke about the various treatments, how many jewelers aren't selling the real deal, and how theirs are authentic...but the reality is they were talking about themselves. I remember they stated you get a certificate of authenticity with the jewelry as well, but it isn't from any reputable organization, it is stated to make them sound/look good. One person actually wrote on the BBB website that they had their piece appraised after they received it, but the actual cost was less than half the price and the gemstones were discovered to be fakes.  For the majority of consumers, there were multiple reviews as well with the BBB on how stones fell out almost immediately upon purchase.  I can't say what I know about the gold they are supposedly selling, but fake metal is commonplace as well on the market. There are a few brands that pop up now and again online. It is bad when you have the exact wire size and stone for a ring that a store is selling, but you can't even buy the materials for the price that the ring is being sold for. I recorded myself a long time ago melting "sterling silver" jewelry. Yes, it was labeled as such, but there was no silver at all in any of the pieces.

Having said that, we will stick to gemstones. The abundance of fake gemstones is causing worry among both customers and the gemstone industry. With technological improvements, counterfeiting organizations have gotten more adept in their ability to create gemstone imitations that nearly mimic the real deal. These phony gemstones flood the market, making it more difficult for buyers to distinguish between real and counterfeit stones. Identifying a genuine gemstone from a fake involves close study and an eye for detail. The price is one of the most important markers of legitimacy. If a gemstone is for sale at an absurdly low price, it is probably too good to be true.  If a cruise ship jewelry store is raffling off its fine jewelry...it isn't real! Genuine gemstones have a high value owing to their scarcity and quality, and their prices reflect that. Furthermore, viewing the gemstone under various lighting settings might offer useful information. Genuine gemstones have a distinct play of color and sparkle, whilst imitations may seem drab and lifeless.

Selling fraudulent gemstones poses serious ethical issues. Buyers who unintentionally acquire fake gemstones are duped and can face financial struggles due to what they believed they had invested in. Furthermore, the widespread availability of counterfeit stones has a severe influence on the gemstone business. In addition to potential legal consequences, such as penalties or jail, vendors may face lawsuits from deceived consumers demanding restitution. The harm to a seller's image may be irreversible, resulting in a loss of revenue and credibility. Counterfeit pieces damage the industry's essential ideals of trust and honesty.

To address this issue, retailers must promote openness and educate customers about the legitimacy of their items.  Following rules of ethics regain faith and maintain the long-term viability of the gemstone market.  This ensures that real gemstones retain their beauty and worth for future generations. Request certificates for high-end stones, such as for a diamond in an engagement ring, to ensure that you are receiving what you paid for.  Have your piece appraised by a trusted appraiser in the industry to confirm the genuineness of the gemstone and overall piece. Learn about the properties of real gemstones, and be skeptical of offers that appear too good to be true. By remaining attentive and aware, you can reduce your chances of falling prey to counterfeit jewelry.