Fake Rubies, Fake Diamonds, Macy’s and You

As we approach Christmas, many people will stroll though Macy’s stores and pass by the beautifully displayed gemstones.  Sitting under glass with lots of reflecting light you will find rubies, diamonds, sapphires and other prized stones.  Stuck way out of the way in some stores is a little card that tells you that what you see is not really the real thing.

In some stores you may see a card that tells you the “diamonds may be…treated.”, or that “this ruby has been heavily treated using a high refractive index lead glass to fill fractures and cavities…”

What does this mean?

That you are not buying a natural product but likely paying for the real thing.

Stated another way, what you may be buying is not a natural ruby but a composite filled with lead glass or a diamond that has been treated.  Be careful, ask if it is the real thing and make sure you don’t pay a price based on the item being the real thing — no matter how steep the discount or  “how good the deal”.

This year in San Francisco Superior Court there were two cases against Macy’s dealing with this issue (SF Superior Court Nos CGC-09-495171 and CGC-10-495868).   At their heart the cases dealt with allegations that Macy’s knowingly sold:

  • Rubies that were composites or filled with glass or lead filled glass;
  • Stones were being passed as untreated “green amethyst” when in fact this stone is in reality Praseolite (a heated form of quartz) while only purple amethyst is in fact real amethyst, natural and therefore of a much higher value;
  • Sapphires were fracture filled with glass;
  • Black sapphires were being passed off as “black diamonds”;
  • Many diamonds were enhanced by laser drilling or filling of surface cavities and fractures with a hardened substance;
  • Diamonds were irradiated or heated to induce color and then represented to be natural black diamonds.

On two separate occasions on each coast of our country television crews have gone into Macy’s and found significant instances where Macy’s was not quite telling the whole truth about their jewelry.  The first was Good Morning America.  (http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/ConsumerNews/rubies-real-deal/story?id=8988951).

As the Good Moring America piece points out “to the naked eye, there’s no difference, but examined under a microscope, gas bubbles that form as the glass cools can be seen in the composite rubies. Experts say composite rubies are fragile, and that they’re only worth a fraction of the value of natural rubies.” The crew from Good Morning America bought four ruby rings and brought them to a gemologist Christopher Smith for testing. All were supposed to be real rubies. The result;

“We identified the presence of lead within the glass, which is conclusive proof of this material,” Smith said. The three rings in question were from three different Macy’s stores in the New York area.

The second neutral inspection was from Channel 5 KPIX in San Francisco who aired a program showing the same thing in Macy’s Stores in the Bay Area on Super Bowl Sunday 2011.

If you purchased fine jewelry, rubies, diamonds, sapphires or other gemstones from Macy’s anywhere in the US since 2006, you may have a claim. To find out more about these issues, whether you are in New York, Los Angeles, Honolulu, Seattle, Miami, or parts between, please visit the Brandi Law Firm Macy’s Lawsuit website or contact the Brandi Law Firm Consumer Fraud Attorneys.

We are representing a group of people who bought what they were told were the real things, natural rubies, diamonds, etc., paid real prices, only to later learn their jewelry was not real and worth only a fraction of their purchase price.