SAN DIEGO (CN) – Jewelry Television cheats the public by selling gemstones it falsely advertises as green or red andesine-labradorite, a class action claims in Federal Court. Plaintiffs say Jewelry TV sells the rocks as “a highly coveted, extremely rare, all natural expensive gem that looks like Oregon sunstone,” but it’s just “low-cost yellow or colorless labradorite that has been given a chemical ‘facelift’ to make it appear like the rare Oregon sunstone.”
Named plaintiff Marliese Weed says she paid more than $4,000 for a rock. She also sued Jewelry TV’s corporate parent, America’s Collectibles Network, of Knoxville, Tenn.
Weed claims the defendants have made more than $5 million from selling the allegedly bogus stones. The complaint states: “Demand for these gemstones was artificially inflated because of the unlawful misconduct by JTV and consumers of the gemstones are victims of JTV, who are running what is reminiscent of a ‘boiler room’ operation as it relates to these gemstones.”
It adds: “Defendants, a very large and sophisticated company with in excess of $400 million in revenues last year, knew or should have known that the gemstones it was selling were shams and nothing more than the mass-produced results of chemical facelifts in gemological beauty parlors. … Defendant … obtained its sham product for pennies per carat and sold it for extraordinary profits. Because the sham gemstones came from plentiful low-value yellow feldspar, defendant was able to sell them for great profits while still undercutting the per-carat price of real Oregon sunstone.”
Feldspar is the most common rock on the surface of the Earth. Irradiation is being increasingly used to alter the colors and appearance of precious and semi-precious gemstones, and can produce rocks that are difficult to distinguish from naturally colored stones, according to people in the industry.
The class seeks restitution, disgorgement, costs, damages and an injunction. It is represented by Mark Tamblyn with Wexler, Toriseva, Wallace of Sacramento.