Jewelry appraisals and jewelry grading both sound familiar to anyone who first hears about what they are, but there is a difference between the both of them.
WHAT IS A DIAMOND JEWELRY APPRAISAL?
There are 27 different types of appraisals. You choose which kind of appraisal you need depending on what you want to do with your jewelry. The specific thing being either needing insurance, wanting to sell, liquidation, and so on.
A jewelry appraisal is when a professional gemologist or jeweler gives your gemstone a dollar-value. While an appraisal gives your gemstone a value, it's meant to help the business side of your jewelry. (Yes, your jewelry has a business side!)
Your appraisal doesn't give you the absolute value of your stone. It's what would, for example, get you what you need if you were to claim insurance. It’s really just an estimate of the actual value. The reason being that there isn’t a deep inspection like there would be in a jewelry grading.
A diamond jewelry appraisal is something you should do after buying your jewelry because it gives you peace of mind. You don’t have to worry about what will happen if you were lose it or have it stolen.
So, what exactly happens during a diamond appraisal? Well, Mazal Diamond shared, that, “In the process of appraisal your diamond will be inspected, either loose, mounted or in its jewelry setting.”
WHAT IS DIAMOND JEWELRY GRADING?
A jewelry appraisal is what gives your stone a value. Jewelry grading is when a gemologist evaluates your stone and it’s 4 C’s. The 4 C’s being your jewel’s stone carat weight, color, cut, and clarity.
The 4 C’s and diamond grading is what gives you a market value.
It’s important that you know what the 4 C’s are before you go in for a diamond grading so that you can follow along and know what your gemologist is talking about.
Worthy shared that, “a diamond grading report is the most transparent, accurate and objective tool you need to determine how the market values your diamond jewelry in a specific moment in time.”
Although I’m sure you know, I’m going to remind you anyway. Make sure that whether you’re getting an appraisal or a diamond jewelry grading, you’re going to a professional. A jeweler has to be trained and a gemologist truly needs to be professional.
You’ll probably be tempted to Google up someone with the cheapest prices. However, the people who charge little for this type of job are the people that you shouldn’t be trusting. The wrong jeweler or gemologist can give you a wrong estimate. Or the value of your gemstone after a grading could be much lower than it’s actually worth.
Do your research first, and know that the investment for a good appraisal or grading is worth it.
There are 4 things that one has to look at when looking for a diamond, when getting an appraisal, and when getting insured in case you were to need a replacement. These things are known as the diamond's 4 c's. What do the diamond's 4 c's stand for? They stand for carat weight, color, clarity, and cut.
What... in the world is that? you may be thinking. Don’t worry about Googling it up because we’ve got the answer to that question covered.
No ring is exactly the same, and a diamond's 4 c's are some of the distinguishable factors in a ring. This is what people look for to assess the quality and value of a ring.
You may be thinking that it’s not important to know what a diamond's 4 c's are, but if you were to walk into your local jewelry store, you will be able to communicate exactly what type of ring you’re looking for.
1. CARAT WEIGHT
You probably hear the word “carat” often, especially in movies where one of the girls gets engaged and her friends start asking how many carats her ring is.
Gia shares, “Diamond carat weight is the measurement of how much a diamond weighs. A metric “carat” is defined as 200 milligrams.”
The higher the diamond carat weight, the higher the value of your ring. That’s why when you hear that a ring is a high number of carats, it impresses people.
Why is it that the value goes up if the carat weighs more? Well, the higher the weight, the bigger the diamond, and bigger diamonds are rare, therefore more expensive and valuable.
2. COLOR GRADE
Color grade depends on the lack of color of your ring. Which ring color values more? The more colorless your ring is, the higher its value.
All diamonds are pretty colorless, but some do have a sort of hue that makes it look a little yellow. It’s not too noticeable, but if you were to compare it to a pure white diamond, then you can tell. Even then, some of the hues are indistinguishable unless you’re a professional.
A diamond that’s as clear as ice has a high value.
3. CLARITY GRADE
Diamonds are not perfect. They sometimes have imperfections, or 'birthmarks'. Clarity grade, according to Lumera Diamonds, “refers to the degree to which these imperfections are present.”
The less you can see the birthmarks, the better because the value is higher. You can't really see a lot of the imperfections and blemishes unless you’re a professional diamond grader.
4. CUT GRADE
While seeing the word ‘cut’ in cut grade may have you believing that it’s the shape of the diamond, it’s actually something more unexpected. The cut is how well the diamond interacts with the light.
Diamonds transmit light, so in order to get the most sparkle out of a diamond, its symmetry and proportions needs to be perfect. The polish of the ring, obviously, will also help.
The value of a ring is high if it has an even pattern of dark and light areas, reflects white light, creates rainbow colors, and sparkles.
You may be thinking about getting a piece of jewelry appraised because as I’m sure you’ve learned, an appraisal is a sheet of paper that defines your jewelry value. More specifically, it gives your jewelry dollar-value, and you need it to get insured.
An appraisal doesn’t necessarily give you the value of your diamond as it’s really only an estimate that’s needed for you to be insured. A grading would give you a value for your jewelry based on current diamond gemstones and precious metals market conditions
So, what do you do if you want to sell the jewelry? Well, it’s best to have the piece graded by a graduate gemologist (an expert who deals with the science of gemstones.)
What is Grading?
Gemologists base their grading on the stone’s 4 C’s. The 4 C’s are the carat weight, cut grade, color grade, and clarity grade.
Graduate Gemologist who is also trained in the art of appraising fine jewelry can identify how your jewelry piece looks, and then determine what your jewelry’s worth is.
The carat weight is as the phrase states, the weight of your diamond. The higher the carat weight, the more your jewelry is worth.
Cut grade will take into consideration the way your jewelry interacts with the light. The more even the pattern between the dark and light areas, the better. The more light and sparkle, and the more symmetrical your antique jewelry is, the higher it’s value.
You get a high color grade the more colorless your diamond is compared to one that has a slight yellowish or brownish hue.
Finally, the clarity grade refers to the number of imperfections that you can see on your diamond. The more you can see these defects, the less valuable your diamond is.
Is Your Antique Jewelry Valuable Enough?
Really, only a Graduate Gemologist who is also trained in the art of appraising fine jewelry can tell you how valuable your antique jewelry is, but here are a few more things that can affect the value.
The condition of the jewelry is a big one because your stone may be beautiful, but if it’s in bad condition, you may not be hearing the high value that you’re expecting. Also, the rarer your stone, the more it’ll be valued. Plus, of course, the demand and popularity of the stone will affect how much you receive for the stone.
It’s important that you look for a professional gemologist that will give you the best grading report. Don’t choose a gemologist because they charge less because they may not be as astute as they say they are.
Shopping for an engagement ring? Compare the prices of loose diamonds to see which one is the best value. The way to do this is by determining the price per carat. It just requires some simple math: Divide the price for each diamond by the carat weight. Photo: Harold & Erica Van Pelt/GIA. Courtesy: Julius Klein, Ishaia Trading Corp. and Rick Shatz, Inc.
Read more at GIA.EDU
Consumers have more options than ever when it comes to buying diamonds. In addition to jewelry retailers, you can shop conveniently from your computer, tablet, or smartphone. Many of the same considerations apply whether you’re buying a diamond in person or online, but GIA has a few additional tips for shopping online that will help you click the “Buy Now” button with confidence.
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Carlos Castillo is a graduate from the prestigious Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and the University of New Orleans.