Many families shell out big bucks for aclass ring when young students graduate from high school— but most aren't worth anywhere near the amount charged for them, CBC's I-Team has learned.

When Cheryl Sarvis's youngest daughter graduated, she bought her a ring to commemorate the event.

"I had a school ring when I graduated. It's just something that you did," she said.

Sarvis paid more than $150 for the ring, including taxes.But when she brought the ring to a jeweller to be appraised, she was shocked by what she heard.

"I got a call back a couple of days later from the jewelry store, asking me why I wanted to appraise this ring," Sarvis told CBC.

"They told me that the appraisal was $40, but the ring was only worth $25."

After repeated calls to Jostens, where the ring was purchased, to ask about the markup, Sarvis finally got a response from the salesman.

"He generally said that a lot of the value was in the sentiment, and to me that's not really what I feel," she said.

CBC brought the ring to Gerry Gordon, a local gemologist with more than 15 years ofexperience in the industry.

"This ring is not a precious metal. It's called lustrium, which is basically stainless steel," Gordon said.

"Basically what we're dealing with on this ring is a non-precious metal and synthetic stones, so as a result, looking at this ring, you're not going to come up with a lot of value."

Rings 'almost worthless': student's mother

Unless a class ring is made of some precious metal like gold, Gordon said, it's likely to have little monetary value. And spending more doesn't mean receiving more value: Gordon appaised a traditionally styled classring purchased for $370 at about $150.

Jostens officials said rings are made for each graduating class, and they include several personalized details, such as the name, year and school logo.

The company said consumers are also not just paying for the metal and gemstones— they're also paying for service and reliability.

But Sarvis doesn't buy it, saying she still feels ripped off.

"It really has no value," she said. "It's almost worthless."