Diamond Appraisals 101
The job of a diamond appraiser is to verify that the diamond you own is the same that is on your certificate. You don't think that a dealer would show you one diamond and give you another? Yes, unfortunately, it does happen.
When the appraiser establishes your diamond's authenticity, then you will be given a fair market value on your stone from a current wholesale price list. This is the biggest misunderstanding of what a diamond appraisers does. See our appraiser qualifications and list of appraisal resources.
Appraisers don't set a diamond's value, they report it according to established market prices. They cannot ethically value it higher than its base marketplace worth. Whether you're about to make a purchase or have already purchased an item from an online vendor, you'll have absolute proof of its value and authenticity of the certification.
Of course, appraisals are done on any type of jewelry, not only on unmounted diamonds. A jewelry appraisal is necessary if you sell it later on, in case of theft, if you want to determine a piece's value before you purchase it or you need to settle an estate. Don't look for the cheapest diamond appraisal. You may find out that you have a worthless piece of paper that your insurance company won't honor when you make a claim.
As diamond market values change, obtain an appraisal on your diamond every few years. Using the same appraiser to get an update will reduce your appraisal cost. As insurance claims are based on current value, it pays to keep your appraisal properly updated.
Make sure your appraisal is based on the type of diamond you own. For example, if you have a prestige name diamond, say from Tiffany's, you want it to be replaced by Tiffany, not a discount broker.
Diamond Appraisal Report
The final jewelry appraisal report should be printed, not handwritten, and contain this information:
- The date and location at which it was prepared, your name and intended users of this report
- State the purpose and function of the diamond appraisal
- A signed statement that the appraiser has no financial interest in your diamond jewelry.
- The exact measurements, a precise description of your diamond or type of jewelry item, its age and present condition
- Photos or other lab work that show the jewelry or diamond's details
- A final valuation statement which explains what the value of the diamond represents and on what it was based, as well as the diamond replacement cost
Diamond Appraiser Qualifications
Your diamond certification report should be verified by a qualified, independent appraiser, who should never try to sell you a diamond or have any financial interest in it, generally meaning, a retailer who refers you to their own appraiser. A signed statement to this effect must be in your appraisal report. A diamond appraisal fee should never be based on the value of the stone.
Ask the jewelry appraiser what their professional qualifications are to be an appraiser:
- Find out which gemological certification and appraisal training your appraiser has obtained. Are they a Certified Insurance Appraiser™?
- Are they a certified gemologist and from which organization were they certified?
- To which professional appraisal organization do they belong?
- What is their level of membership?
- Did they achieve their level by taking tests or paying dues? (Yes, some organizations give titles to their members just by paying dues.) Check that all credentials are up to date and verify this information.
- What is their jewelry specialty area? There are many types of jewelry, make sure their expertise is matched to your needs.
- Do they take continuing education courses and which are specific to gems and jewelry?
Diamond Appraisal Resources
The GIA offers a training course for retail sales people to improve their knowledge and presentation skills, and give an Accredited Jewelry Professional (AJP) diploma upon completion of the course. You may see these initials included after an appraiser's name, but this title does not certify someone to be an appraiser or a gemologist.
You can get a free referral to a certified jewelry appraiser from these associations:
- American Society of Appraisers
555 Herndon Parkway, Suite 125, Herndon, VA 20170
- International Society of Appraisers
1131 S.W. 7th Street, Suite 105, Renton, WA 98055
- American Association of Appraisers
- The American Gem Registry
Denver Merchandise Mart, 451 E. 58 th Avenue #2471, Denver Colorado 80216
- Learn about the ultimate protection for your jewelry with Gemprint. Your jeweler or appraiser may offer this valuable service.
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