MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Second only to diamonds in the hierarchy of precious gems, rubies are the most valued of all the colored stones.READ MORE: South Florida Family Encourages Booster Shots After Vaccinated Relative Dies Of COVID-19
Mary Kay Elloian of Bedford was thrilled to find a pair of earrings deeply discounted at just $100.
“I was buying ruby, a pair of ruby earrings. That’s what I requested and that’s what I was buying,” Elloian said.
At least that’s what she says the salesperson at Macy’s in Burlington told her she was buying, but when she got the earrings home she noticed a partially-covered sticker with fine print.
“It actually said lead-filled. I felt like I was duped,” she said.
Trained at the Gemological Institute of America, Beth Doughty of Winchester explained that by improving color and clarity the lead glass transforms otherwise worthless stones into something pretty enough for jewelry.
“They are very, very low quality goods and they are trying to make them marketable and they have come up with this way to do it,” Doughty said.
Doughty examined another pair of earrings bought at Macy’s that are same model number as Elloian’s.
“GIA would describe this as a manufactured product in their report. Nowhere would the word ruby be,” said Doughty.
When you shop online at Macy’s the website says “almost all rubies are lead-glass filled.”READ MORE: 'Unacceptable,' South Florida Haitian Leaders Outraged Over What Happened In Del Rio, Texas
In a statement Macy’s says there is signage in the stores about the glass filled rubies. However, Elloian didn’t see them.
CBS4’s Cynthia Demos went shopping for the sign herself – she visited three of the nine Macy’s in South Florida.
Of the six sales associates approached, only two knew what lead-glass filled meant.
Macy’s said, “We are training our store associates to bring this information to the attention of our customers.”
Two out of the three Macy’s did have the sign up stating the rubies were lead-glass filled.
Lord and Taylor’s lead-filled rubies had large stickers identifying them as such.
Zales, Kay Jewelers and Sears told us upfront that their rubies are lab created which contain no natural ruby at all, but those synthetic stones do last like real rubies do. Something you can’t say about glass filled stones.
“The lead glass that’s being used to do the filling is not very durable,” said Shane McClure of the Gemological Institute.
According to the Gemological Institute of America, these stones may not hold up to any kind of repair or remounting.
“Even some of the most basic solvents that you might find around the house like bleach for instance could potentially damage the filler in these stones and it’s not repairable once it’s been damaged,” said McClure.
Good deal or not, Elloian returned her earrings.MORE NEWS: COVID-19 Death Toll Tops 53,000 In Florida
“People should know what they are buying,” she said.