Tuesday, March 24, 2015

"Rotayti"??? Not A Gemstone!!! And Sterling Silver PLATED?

"Rotayti" Ring---See the glass bubbles?
Wow!  I'm so sad to see people getting fooled and taken advantage of.  If you see a piece of jewelry and you like it and buy it, that's great!  Costume jewelry is FUN.  But if you buy something and THINK you're getting a gemstone set in precious metals, and it turns out it's not....that's not great.

Sadly, there are SO many Ebay sellers who offer fake gemstones set in "925 Sterling Silver plated" metal, and SO many eager buyers who must have no idea what they're buying. 

TERRIBLE Fake Rutile Quartz -- Glass!
And even worse---there are people on Etsy who buy this same jewelry (probably from Ebay) and turn around and sell it as "handmade" jewelry, genuine gemstones set in "925 sterling silver"---and clearly it's neither.  I feel awful for unsuspecting Etsy buyers, but what can I do?

I can write about it and HOPEFULLY enlighten people about this.
Close up showing glass bubbles and...confetti??

"Rotayti" On Etsy...??
I saw on my "feed" a bracelet with a gemstone called "Rotayti".  I clicked on it and could immediately tell it was some sort of glass or plastic---a terrible looking thing, like brown stripes in clear glass.  I googled "Rotayti" just to see what on earth it was.  The results were (1) the item on Etsy; and (2) several Rotayti items on Ebay.  I clicked on those. 
"Rotayti" Pendant on Ebay
(OBVIOUSLY there is no such gemstone called "Rotayti" and my guess is it's some sort of mangled English for "Rutilated" or "Rutile" which is actually a gemstone.)  So the reseller on Etsy didn't even bother to find out what "Rotayti" was (or wasn't!) and just turned around and relisted it on Etsy! 

And I looked at Ebay and there it was----an Ebay seller from India offering many of the same items as the Etsy seller.  The India seller has "Rotayti", plus  "emerald" necklaces, "sapphire" pendants, "ruby" rings, etc., all set in "925 sterling silver plated" metal.  Yet the Etsy seller claims her items are "925 sterling silver" -- no mention of anything being plated!!

Supposed Lapis Lazuli
Close-up of supposed "Lapis" - NOT!
Upon close examination of these rings, for example a "lapis" ring that is obviously plastic or resin that's been painted, you can see that this metal is NOT sterling silver.  It looks like nickel or lead or possibly pewter, but certainly not solid sterling silver.  Scary mystery metal!

Fake Emeralds, Rubies, and Sapphires
Dyed Sillimanite, NOT Emerald
I've written about this before.  India is flooding the market with FAKE precious gemstones that are nothing more than dyed sillimanite.   Sillimanite is a mineral that's actually a polymorph of Kyanite and Andalusite.  It takes dye well, and can slightly mimic poor-quality gemstones.  If you look closely at dyed sillimanite, you can see clouds and fibrous layers within the stone.  Sillimanite also can be found exhibiting a cat's eye effect, mimicking star sapphire!  HERE is a great source of pictures of this mineral.
Dyed Sillimanite, NOT Emeralds, NOT Sterling--$5.99 on Ebay!!!!

Many Ebay sellers from India are offering "emerald" necklaces set in plated metal.  Some Etsy sellers are obviously buying these and reselling them as "emeralds" set in "sterling Silver".  They are NEITHER emeralds nor sterling silver.
Etsy "Emerald" Necklace---Terrible Metalwork (Not Sterling)

There are SO many Ebay sellers offering the same jewelry.  To name a few, there is divine_sutra, jewel-city (operating out of the UK), guneestore09 and victorianjewels_us. 
There are MANY more Ebay sellers with this same faux gemstone jewelry, but that's just a sampling.  All are set in silver plated mystery metals, with dyed stones as well as glass and other faux gems.  Is it possible that SOME of their gemstones are real?  Well, it's hard to say but if I KNOW that some are fake, who could trust that seller with anything else they sell?!
Their jewelry is very inexpensive!  Most is somewhere under $5, with "emerald necklaces" going for about $6!!  Great prices, but know that you're NOT getting emeralds or sapphires or rubies despite what they say!

What Is "Sterling Silver Plated"?
There is NO SUCH THING.  By LAW, if an item is marked "925" or described using the term "Sterling Silver", it must be SOLID Sterling Silver.  The "925" indicates that it's 92.5% silver, and 7.5% alloy (usually copper).

If a metal is silver PLATED, it is dipped in silver, or "flashed" with silver.  It is NOT "sterling silver" plated EVER.

Why Call Something "Sterling Silver Plated" Then?
One word: fraud.  Sellers will try to fool buyers who see the term "sterling silver" and assume it's just that---sterling.  They think by adding "plated" it makes it legal---it does NOT.

Again, only SOLID .925 Sterling Silver can be called "sterling Silver" at all.

In conclusion:  if you see a piece of jewelry that you think is pretty and affordable, buy it!  Wear it!  Enjoy it!  But if you see an "emerald" necklace for under $15, or a "ruby" ring that is HUGE and only $18 or so, you can be sure that those are NOT genuine gemstones.  Price isn't the only factor though---it's up to YOU to research the item (and the seller) to understand what it is you're buying.  KNOWLEDGE IS POWER, and I hope you've learned something here.

And remember, Buyer Beware!!!

Friday, March 20, 2015

"18k White Gold Filled" Rings?

I'm not here to "call out" any fraudulent sellers.  I'm only writing my blog to give information to anyone who might be searching for info on a gemstone or how to care for jewelry...things like that.  However, every now and then, I'll see something on Etsy that is TERRIBLE, and since these sellers are deceiving a LOT of buyers (and reporting to Etsy does absolutely nothing), I want to possibly help future buyers with information.  Knowledge is power!

I've talked about the glass stone called Opalite being sold as "moonstone" or "opal";  Moissanite being sold as a "natural" stone instead of a lab-created stone, just like cubic zirconia is a diamond simulant; hydro quartz stones being sold as gemstones and not glass; and CZs being sold as "created diamonds" rather than simulated diamonds.  There are also incredible claims that gold filled is "100 times more gold" than plated, or "100% more gold" which will "never tarnish" which is NOT TRUE (and I've written about this in another post).  All of those are examples of fraud, or "creative marketing", and I hope I've helped some people at least look further into the jewelry they are buying.

There is a UK seller on Etsy who has sold thousands of rings and things.  He claims his CZ rings are "created diamonds" set in plated mystery metals.  He claims his rings are "18k White Gold Filled" with a variety of "gemstones" set in them.  And not just this one UK seller---a simple Etsy search for "white gold filled ring" will show many sellers who offer gold PLATED rings, or even Sterling Silver rings,  as "white gold filled". 

The problem with this is that:

(1) 14/20 White Gold Filled wire used to be sold on riogrande.com but isn't sold any more (just read the Material Safety Data Sheet and you can see why!) and I haven't seen it offered anywhere else lately;
(2) You can have gold filled wire or gold filled sheet (very thin) but you cannot cast a ring with "gold filled" metal.

Why?  Because gold filled wire, tubes and sheet is made by adhering a VERY thin layer of karat gold (like 10 or 14k) onto brass.   So, it's a brass core with a thin layer of 10k or 14k gold that has been rolled onto it, and by heat and pressure, the gold becomes basically permanent.  It's a VERY thin karat-gold layer on top of brass. 

You cannot melt this material and pour it into a mold! 

You CAN however use wire to make a ring!  There are lots of very tiny stacking rings made with 14k gold filled WIRE.    But that is not what this particular UK seller is offering.  He has traditionally styled rings with prong settings (which are cast) and is selling these as "engagement rings."  The option for these rings is either "Titanium" or this "18k Gold Filled" metal.   And by "18k White Gold Filled" I think he means "gold plated brass"----costume jewelry---because that is what it is.

WORSE, the stones are not genuine gemstones.  They are CRYSTALS.  Sometimes they might be CZ, but none are gemstones.  One big giveaway that an eternity ring is made with crystals is that the inside of the band is solid.  Gemstones are always set with little openings in the back, to allow light to come through. Pink CZ being sold as sapphire.  Purple CZ sold as amethysts or tanzanite.  Kelly green CZ sold as emeralds!  It's really bad.

I found one of his so-called amethyst half-eternity rings on aliexpress because he used THEIR picture as one of his.  (Normally he retakes his own photos, but this one somehow got in is listing---a stock photo from aliexpress.)  It is described by the wholesaler as a purple crystal ring set in sterling silver and it is $5.69, not including any discounts or coupons which are offered.  He's selling this SAME ring as a gemstone (amethyst) ring set in "18k white gold filled" or sterling silver for $59.  Here's a picture of the ring on alibaba:
NOT Amethysts

Another example, here is a titanium ring set with a purple crystal that he sells as "tanzanite"---same band, same 6-prong setting, SAME RING:
NOT Tanzanite

This also is offered with a CZ but sold as "white topaz".  It's so sad to see glowing comments on his feedback, such as "my fiance loves this tanzanite ring" when I know it's just a CZ ring that is worth nowhere near the $100 he paid for the ring.  Is it pretty?  YES, but is it as advertised?  NO.  Is it worth $100?  Absolutely NOT.

Anyone can sell whatever they want and make a profit.  That's how businesses operate!  But selling something as a gemstone when it's just a simulated stone, set in plated brass but claiming it's "gold filled", in order to make a huge profit, is just wrong!  


Thursday, March 19, 2015

What is "SILVERITE"?

Silverite - $25/Strand
UPDATE July, 2016--I had 3 samples of "silverite" examined by a certified gemologist.  She examined them using various tests, including microscopic examination and other tests. She found no indication that any of these were minerals, but were all GLASS with a coating, some sort of pearlescent paint or coating.  She is a professional jeweler, a certified gemologist with one of the world's largest and most well-known and well-respected gemstone suppliers----and she never even heard of "silverite" and consulted with others in her field--and they never heard of "silverite" either. She examined three separate pieces from 3 different sellers, and determined that ALL WERE COATED GLASS.  These are NOT "corundum" or "sapphire" or "quartz" or any sort of gemstone or mineral AT ALL.  PERIOD.  Silverite is a FRAUD. Beware.

UPDATE August 19, 2016 -- I got an email from someone who insists that she had two strands of "pink silverite" tested and they are "confirmed to be genuine corundum."  (Corundum is sapphire---a precious gemstone.)

So of course, the burning question is this:  WHY on earth would anyone sell strands of genuine sapphires as anything OTHER than genuine, precious sapphires?  The answer is:  they wouldn't!    Simple logic would tell you that NO ONE would sell strands of genuine sapphires as "silverite", which is a supposed gem  that is nonexistent in the gemstone world!

That is as silly as someone selling genuine Muzo emeralds as "Muzite" or strands of genuine diamonds as "Glitzite" or something, rather than saying they are emeralds and diamonds.  NO ONE would do that!!

If they are genuine sapphires, they would be SOLD AS genuine sapphires---precious gemstones---not sold under some mysterious "pseudonym."

Again, more than one gemstone wholesaler in India (one of whom told me they mined the stones) have told me that "silverite" is "a new gemstone" and is "NOT corundum or any other gemstone already known" and is "uncoated and untreated".  However, I have yet to have any "silverite" examined and tested that has been anything other than coated glass.

Almost exclusively offered on Etsy, there are jewelry items made with a stone called "Silverite".  It's a very pretty stone that looks a little like rough diamonds, or with some sort of mica-like sheen.  I tried to find out more information about this supposed gemstone, so I googled it.  There isn't much info on this stone, other than it's being offered for sale.

What I discovered, though,  is very strange.

(1) First, I found "silverite" stones for sale on a website based in India.  They seem reputable and have a large selection of gemstones.  They also sell this silverite in their Etsy shop as well.   Etsy seems to be their major market (or only market) for selling this stone.  They offer white silverite, black silverite, natural uncut silverite, red, brown, "tanzanite" silverite, and grey silverite.  These stones are smooth cut, faceted, briolettes, raw beads, smooth ovals, and all are simply described as "natural".  There is no further description about this stone---just "natural silverite".
Blue-white Silverite

I contacted this seller via Etsy and asked what the stone is.  The reply was, "Its actually a new gemstone and only we've sold to all the sellers so far. We have in white and black and little blue / yellowish. Its not coated in any form or treated."

So according to the IMPORTER of this stone, it's a natural stone that is untreated and uncoated. 

Prices for this silverite runs about $25 a strand.  

(2) Another importer on Etsy in India offers Silverite and only describes it as "Natural Silverite".

Silverite Briolettes

(3)  So if these are the importers of this stone, then the Etsy sellers who use this stone probably purchased it from one of these importers, right?  Then why is it that sellers are marketing this stone as:

  • Mystic coated sapphire
  • Opalescent coated sapphire
  • Mystic corundum 
  • White sapphire
  • Mystic silverite
  • Mystic Pearl Finish Silverite
  • Silverite Sapphire
  • Mystic QUARTZ
  • Diamond coated white corundum
  • Madagascar Sapphire
So where do these terms, like "diamond coated white corundum" or "pearlescent coated" or "mystic sapphire" or even "Madagascar Sapphire" come from?  

I contacted the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), the leading source for gemstone information, and asked if they ever heard of this "new gemstone" called Silverite.  I heard back, and their answer was: no, never heard of that gemstone, and they could only find the term "Silverite" which is an abandoned trademark, never used.  It was filed in 2001 to describe gemstones that are coated with silver, gold, or platinum.  (Example:  gold plated pyrite.)  This seems like it could apply, but since this is a "dead" trademark, and it describes SO MANY "mystic" coated gemstones and even plated gemstones (like pyrite), this doesn't apply---remember, I was told this was "natural" and "uncoated" by the wholesaler.

Searching mindat.org for "silverite", I was re-directed to an entry for vermiculite!

So....I still have no answer as to what this gemstone is, or if it is even a gemstone at all!  Is it natural and uncoated?  Sapphire? Quartz? Vermiculite?

What is Vermiculite?

Blue-black Vermiculite
Vermiculite is a mineral that you've probably heard of.  It's used in gardening products, and home insulation, and many other construction industry products.  It looks like mica, with shiny "layers" that flake, and a translucent appearance.  It's mined in Brazil and China and the U.S. and all over the world, and comes in many colors including brown, gold, reddish, blue, white, black.

Silverite Briolettes---look a LOT like Vermiculite

     I've included some pictures of Vermiculite and you can see the resemblance it has to "silverite".  Is it possible that silverite is some sort of treated Vermiculite?  Treated to harden it?  Perhaps untreated and natural Vermiculite?  Many importers of gemstones give proprietary names to stones, some of which aren't gems at all----Opalite, for example (which is glass).  Could silverite be just a trade name for some form of Vermiculite?  It seems possible to me.
Brown-Yellow Vermiculite

It would seem that sellers on Etsy are buying this stone from India and are using "creative marketing" to sell jewelry made with silverite.  By calling it a "coated sapphire" or even a "diamond coated" sapphire, they're promoting this stone as something it is not.  If the seller from India that I contacted says it's NOT coated and is its own "new gemstone", then I'm quite sure it isn't any sort of sapphire or other precious gem---especially at such cheap prices.  It certainly is NOT diamond coated!  It does resemble vermiculite to me, but Vermiculite is a soft mineral and is not a gemstone. It also somewhat resembles Kyanite perhaps---hard to say just by looking at online pictures though.

I'm not going to buy any of this silverite, basically because I can't even get a straight answer from the gem wholesalers as to what it actually is.  I would never want to misrepresent something that may or may not be a gemstone and claim it's "diamond coated" or "sapphire" when the importers do NOT say that.  I'm just waiting and hoping for someone to send this Silverite to a lab for testing to determine what it really is!

If the Gemological Institute of America doesn't know anything about silverite, it's a pretty safe bet that it's not really a gemstone at all, certainly not a recognized "new" gemstone, and quite possibly could just be a new trade name for some other mineral or material.

So---buyer beware!

-----> UPDATE:  Apparently I was being GENEROUS by comparing "silverite" with vermiculite!  It's NOT even vermiculite!  It's not any sort of mineral at all.  This is a GLASS product that is coated with some sort of pearlescent paint or glaze, and is sold as "silverite".  It's NOT a mineral.  It's NOT a gemstone.  It's a fraud!