Diamond appraisals can be a tricky business. First of all, virtually anyone can call themselves an independent jewelry appraiser. There is no law that requires appraisers to have the same license as lawyers and doctors.
Grant it, there are associations, schools and institutes that jewelers can attend to be qualified to appraise diamonds, but even so, an appraiser’s “saying it” doesn’t necessarily make it so.
I’ve been reading where some jewelry appraisers are secretly on jewelers ‘payroll in exchange for undervaluing competitors’ items (which could ultimately result in lost sales).
Second, appraisals are not the same as diamond grading certificates or reports. I have seen undercover investigation reports conducted in mall jewelry stores, where employees show a reporter their “certificates” containing the appraised values of various stones.
An employee would say something like; “We are selling you this engagement ring for $ 900, but you can see from this diamond certificate that the stone was appraised for $ 2,200.”
What a deal, right? Well, ding ding ding – red flag!
For one thing, reputable diamond reports, such as those conducted by GIA, AGS, and GCAL, do not offer appraisal values, but instead provide independent assessments of the clarity, cut, karat, and color of the stones. The price of making a report may be in the report, but not in a figure that indicates how much a diamond is worth.
The next thing is: don’t get swept up in the hype of an engagement ring “blowout sale”. If a particular diamond appraisal is one that a jeweler can invest in, you can bet your bottom dollar that the jeweler would be selling the stone for $ 2,200 and not $ 900.
Many jewelers can afford to offer extraordinary sales because they initially sell engagement rings at 200-300% above wholesale prices. And if you inspect those cheap engagement rings, don’t be surprised to find that they are not cut well or have poor clarity.
And if you decide to buy that “reduced price jewelry,” good luck returning it and getting your money back. You may be told that there are no refunds for sale items.
When buying an engagement ring online, go with reputable retailers like James Allen or Amazon. They offer a wide range of quality parts to fit any budget, plus they have 100% money back guarantees in case you are not satisfied with your purchase.
Profile of a reputable jewelry appraiser
Simply put, you want the advice of people who are trained to appraise jewelry and have professional experience in the area. Review this checklist to see if your potential appraiser fits a reputable appraiser’s bill.
1. At the very least, have your diamond evaluated by a Graduate Gemologist (“GG”) or a comparable member of the Gemological Institute of Great Britain (“FGA”). The ‘GG’ is the most prestigious credential in the jewelry industry.
Professionals with these qualifications underwent rigorous approaches to comparing, classifying, identifying, buying, and selling stones.
However, keep in mind that neither the “GGs” nor the “FGAs” were taught to evaluate stones. Ideally, a jewelry appraiser should have the best credentials in gemology, as well as additional training and certification from a reputable appraisal organization.
2. Does the person conducting the assessment have references? Ask for references. An experienced professional appraiser should be able to give you references to places like banks and trust companies.
3. Have your diamonds appraised by an independent third party, not someone associated with a jewelry store. When appraisals are issued at the store, they are generally done for the purpose of getting customers to purchase the merchandise from that particular store.
What you want is someone who doesn’t give a damn whether they buy the ring or not, value an engagement ring. The typical store clerk who so enthusiastically gives you his “expert opinion” is neither independent nor professionally qualified to give an appraisal.
Some popular independent appraisers include the Association of Accredited Gemologists, the American Society of Appraisers, and the National Society of Jewelry Appraisers.
Anatomy of a diamond appraisal
An engagement ring is something that you will want to treasure, but if you or your partner loses your ring, then you will want to have some kind of backup position – insurance.
Some people think that if you buy a ring for $ 2,000 and insure it for $ 4,000, then if the ring is lost, the insurance company will simply write a check for the $ 4,000. Well, we all wish it were that simple, right? is that so?
An insurance company would want to see the valuation of your ring to help them reach a payment figure. But if the valuation does not contain an explicit and accurate description of the ring, then be prepared for the probability of getting a payment that is much less than the sum insured.
Because when the insurer goes to a jeweler and says that they normally sell this ring for $ 2000, how much will they sell it to me for? If the jeweler says $ 1000 or $ 1200, that is what you will get.
But if the valuation contains the relevant information and is reputable, then you have a better chance of getting an appropriate in-kind replacement. Why “in kind?
Because insurance contracts often limit cash settlements. Furthermore, since insurance companies have purchasing power by volume and purchasing agreements with their providers, they can obtain appropriate replacements for substantially less than what consumers can obtain.
Since there are different types of jewelry insurance policies, I advise you to speak with your agent or broker for more details on your options and settlement practices.
At a minimum, a comprehensive jewelry appraisal will have the following:
A photo of the jewels.
Style number, diamond brand, shape, measurements and weight.
The 4 Cs of stone: color, clarity, cut, and carat weight.
The laboratory that issued the diamond grading report and the report number.
The type of construction, craftsmanship and design.
The date, name and signature of the appraiser, the information in the appendix and the ratings page.
The value and the purpose and function of the appraisal. For example, was the diamond appraised at market value for tax purposes or at retail value for insurance?
Transparency in the valuation of jewelry
A credentialed appraiser is one thing, but the appraisal process itself should be one carried out in front of you. So, a transparent appraiser:
Do not ask to have the diamond removed from the setting. You want to protect yourself from an appraiser swapping your stone for a lower quality one. However, there is greater precision in the valuation of a loose stone than one that is still in the setting.
Weigh a loose stone in front of you before the assessment begins and after the process is complete.
Clean the piece in front of you
It will only give you ranges in clarity, color and color if the stone is evaluated while it is mounted. According to leading diamond expert Fred Cuellar, the highest grade for a mounted diamond is VS1 clarity and G color.
It does not give you an exact figure of what a jewel is worth, but rather offers a range.
He will not ask or offer to buy your jewelry or sell you one of his own.
We will not charge you a fee based on the value of our jewelry. This should help eliminate the temptation to overvalue the merchandise.
You want to know if you want the wholesale, retail (fair market) or higher download value of your merchandise.
While appraisers are not gods, ideally you will only want to deal with an appraiser who fully supports your work. That is, there will be no liability waiver in the appraisal saying that the appraiser will not be responsible for any action taken with the appraisal.
If an appraiser doesn’t endorse your work, then it doesn’t make much sense to have the appraisal done first.