Many jewelers are misrepresenting the gemstones they offer by omitting the words
laboratory-grown, laboratory-created, synthetic, imitation,
or simulated stone
when using the terms "gemstone", "birthstone", or the name of the gemstone by itself. A jeweler or company selling jewelry
cannot use the terms
"gemstone" or "birthstone"
by itself to refer to a lab-created gemstone unless they precede the words "gemstone" or "birthstone" with the term lab-created or a similar term referring to
lab-created. The terms "gemstone" and "birthstone" by themselves should only be used if the gem or gems being described are natural.
Often times companies will add a tiny little footnote mark next to the gemstone name to try and get around being perceived as unethical.
The FTC is very clear in its guidelines - if a gemstone is lab-created the gemstone name must be preceded with the term lab-created or a similar term.
Not preceding the gemstone name or the term "gemstone" or "birthstone" with a lab-created term implies a gemstone is natural. This unethical practice occurs both
online and in reputable jewelry stores. Usually this is just an oversight, but
sometimes the omission is a deliberate attempt to mislead potential customers.
Lab-Created versus Genuine Gemstones
A great majority of gemstones for sale today are lab-created. Lab-created gemstones
have vivid, vibrant colors, and often have no internal inclusions. This perfection misleads shoppers into thinking fine natural gems must be perfect.
For example, genuine crisp and clean emeralds with no eye-inclusions do not exist naturally.
Genuine emeralds will always have inclusions
and are often hazy in appearance and not clear stones;
however many companies sell lab-created, non-included, clean, crisp emeralds as natural genuine emerald gemstones.
This unethical practice misleads customers - and is very common in the jewelry industry. Ruby is another gemstone often misrepresented.
Ruby's are often fracture-filled with leaded-glass to disquise or remove inclusions. This is a very common practice and is unethical.
Another deception is to use spinel to impersonate genuine ruby.
have gotten clever and are creating
lab-created gemstones with actual inclusions making it increasingly hard to dicern the
natural gems from the lab-created non-natural gems.
The FTC is very clear on how gemstones should be represented.
The following paragraph comes directly from the FTC jewelry and precious metal guidelines section 23.23
§ 23.23 Misuse of the words "ruby," "sapphire," "emerald," "topaz," "stone," "birthstone," "gemstone," etc.
(a) It is unfair or deceptive to use the unqualified words "ruby," "sapphire," "emerald," "topaz," or the name of any other precious or semi-precious stone to describe any product that is not in fact a natural stone of the type described.
(b) It is unfair or deceptive to use the word "ruby," "sapphire," "emerald," "topaz," or the name of any other precious or semi-precious stone, or the word "stone," "birthstone," "gemstone,'' or similar term to describe a laboratory-grown, laboratory-created, [manufacturer name]-created, synthetic, imitation, or simulated stone, unless such word or name is immediately preceded with equal conspicuousness by the word "laboratory-grown," "laboratory-created," "[manufacturer name]-created," "synthetic," or by the word "imitation" or "simulated," so as to disclose clearly the nature of the product and the fact it is not a natural gemstone.
Note to paragraph (b): The use of the word "faux" to describe a laboratory-created or imitation stone is not an adequate disclosure that the stone is not natural.
(c) It is unfair or deceptive to use the word "laboratory-grown," "laboratory-created," "[manufacturer name]-created," or "synthetic" with the name of any natural stone to describe any industry product unless such industry product has essentially the same optical, physical, and chemical properties as the stone named.
Our Ethical Standards
We strictly adhere
to the AGTA Code of Ethics
and Principles of Fair Business Practices
Commission (FTC) jewelry and precious metals guidelines
. The FTC states you must use
the term "cultured" when referring to cultured pearls. Merely referring to a
pearl as a "pearl" instead of a "cultured pearl"
implies the pearl is natural.
We pride ourselves in upholding the ethical standards set forth by the Gemological
Institute of America (GIA), the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA), and the Federal
Trade Commission (FTC).