News 12 at 6 o'clock / Thursday, Feb. 16, 2102
AIKEN CTY., S.C. -- A woman purchased what she thought was a gold ring only to find out later that it was actually silver.
Although rarely one to splurge on sparkle, Norma Brown couldn't resist when she laid eyes on a gold-colored ring with diamond chips.
"It was a nice size. It just nice-looking ring," she said. "I asked was it 14 karat and I was told it was, so I purchased it."
Brown thought the ring was a deal since it was originally priced at $499 but was on sale for $267 at Solid Gold.
A few months later, she started noticing a change.
"I kept looking at the ring and it seemed like the color just wasn't there," Brown said.
Brown took her ring to a precision metal expert. Andy Rast, manager at WIlliston Gold & Pawn, examined the ring.
"You're looking at a silver ring with a gold plate," he told Brown.
Rast says Brown's ring was far from real gold, only dusted to make the outside look yellowish. He says retail value for that ring in his shop would be under $30.
"I was so upset. I didn't know what to do," Brown said.
Rast says she isn't the only upset Solid Gold customer that's come into his shop.
"People are floored when I tell them that their gold ring is not gold and it's heartbreaking," he said.
Part of the problem, he says, is with the color of the jewelry and the name of the business.
"I would be confused because it looks like it's gold; your name is saying it's Solid Gold," he said.
The manager of Solid Gold says he believes his salesperson never told Brown the ring was 14 karats. He told us over the phone that they do not have 14-karat gold and a diamond ring with 14 karats would be much more expensive. He also said that his store upholds a no-return and exchange within seven days policy.
Brown's receipt does not detail the type of metal or jewelry she purchased.
Rast says all too often people don't know what they're looking at when it comes to jewelry.
"A lot of the stampings on the inside will tell you," he said. "This one is clearly stamped 925, which is silver."
Gold markings mean the following:
-24k = pure gold
-14k = 14 parts gold and 10 parts other metals
-10k = 10 parts gold and 14 parts other metals
You can also have an acid test done to determine whether something is real gold. There is a diamond tester which can also test to see if the stone is real.
"I don't feel like looking right now because you because you got to go to the right place and make sure you're getting the right thing," Brown said.
Brown said after 12 On Your Side contacted the store that someone identifying himself as the manager called her back to tell her to come by for a refund.