PHOENIX --People in Arizona and across the nation, for buying a ruby , are putting down big bucks for something they think is the real deal.
But in reality, they're getting ripped off.
"It's really an amazing transformation from basically junk to a gem," said Craig Lynch, president of the Arizona Jewelers Association.
Lynch is talking about a scheme where jewelry dealers convince consumers into thinking they're buying 100-percent genuine rubies, but they aren't.
"They're being duped that this is ruby," Lynch said. "It's partly ruby and mostly glass and they're paying exorbitant prices for them."
In fact, according to Lynch, many jewelry dealers are passing off the glass-filled rubies for the real thing.
"It fools the person," he said. "It looks like it's 10 times that value."
How do you know they're not the real thing? Well, Raymond Mason of the Arizona Gemological Society says simple household cleaners and heat will dull and crack the glass over time.
"In any abnormal heat, they're at risk," Mason said. "Any abnormal chemicals, household chemicals like ammonia, will also etch the stone."
Faux rubies fall apart after being heated up.
Lynch said usually consumers never know they've been taken advantage of until it's too late.
"For the consumer, even some of the basic jewelers have a hard time identifying it because it is a brand-new process," Lynch said.
The best advice is to not buy jewelry from anyone you aren't familiar with.
The experts say you should also avoid buying jewelry over the Internet, on cruise ships and overseas to keep from getting taken advantage of.
By the way, rubies are just the beginning. According to the experts, tiny pieces of diamonds and sapphires, for example, will be "morphed" into looking like the real thing when they're not.