Tag Archives: 4Cs

Believing 3 Common On-Line Myths Can Cost You When Buying Jewelry

IMG_3225In an age where everything can be purchased with the click of a button, it is easy to get ripped off by unethical On-Line merchants. You really can’t tell the quality of the gemstones or workmanship of the jewelry from On-Line descriptions and images.

If you buy fine jewelry without ever seeing or touching the item, how do you verify you received what you expected and that the on-line description matches the item?

Here is a quick rundown of some common myths, truths and Jewelry Judge recommendations:


1 – MYTH: It Comes with an Appraisal, so I know I am getting a GREAT Deal!

TRUTH: The merchant has a vested interest in selling, which may create a conflict of interest when they provide an In-House Appraisal, is it really an impartial valuation?

RECOMMENDATION: Always have your purchases authenticated by a qualified independent gemologist/appraiser to make sure you got what you paid for and to verify the diamond matches the grading report, the Jewelry Judge can verify the quality and value represented by the on-line merchant.


2 – MYTH: They have a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee, that’s all that matters.

TRUTH: Verify the terms of the 30-day money back guarantee, as the merchant may place limitations on returns, charge a restocking fee or ONLY provide you with an exchange or store credit, not a full refund.

RECOMMENDATION: Never buy from a site that does not have a no-questions-asked return policy. Imagine buying a ring from a site that has no return policy and then finding out that it can’t be sized due to the design. Or buying an antique ring stated to have rose cut diamonds and a natural emerald only to find out it’s a modern reproduction using a diamond look-a-like and the green stone is aventurine quartz not emerald. The Jewelry Judge can identify and verify the quality represented by the on-line merchant.

If there are any problems, it is important you deal with it immediately to qualify for consumer protection against fraudulent transactions.


3 – MYTH: It is a Certified Diamond.

TRUTH: There is no such thing as a certified diamond — it may come with a diamond grading report, which should provide an unbiased assessment of a diamond’s 4Cs, and detailing if a gemstone is synthetic – in other words, man-made or laboratory grown – or has undergone any treatments, all of which dramatically affect the value.

RECOMMENDATION: Be sure an accredited gemological institute, such as GIA or AGS, has graded the diamond. This way, you can compare one diamond’s details to that of another, at the same store or different one. The Jewelry Judge can verify the report matches the diamond you received from the on-line merchant.

GIA Report


Some on-line sellers, as well as, brick & mortar stores may allow your purchase to be shipped directly to the Jewelry Judge Gem Lab prior to your payment so an independent appraisal can be performed before you commit to buying it.

Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon Double CheckTrust but Verify, with a Jewelry Judge Double Check!

A Jewelry Judge Double Check verifies all the details of your jewelry purchase to ensure you received what you paid for. Ben Gordon is not affiliated with any retail  establishment or jewelry manufacturer, and Does Not Buy or Sell jewelry.

We represent you, the client, exclusively.

Book Appointment  or Call 713 961 1432. We do our best to accommodate your busy schedule.   Visit our website:  The Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon

Still have a question? Get in touch with us by email and one of our experts would be happy to assist you!

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What Should You Do With Mom’s Jewelry?

Estate3 A parents death is a traumatic and difficult experience for those left behind.

Don’t let the estate settlement of your jewelry cause additional complexity or disharmony among your heirs.

We know jewelry is important to some and less important to others.

To some it is memories and a story that connects them to the dearly departed.

To others it represents a financial gift.

Protect Your Inheritance by ensuring you have fair market value appraisal reports for your estate jewelry and include a copy with your will. Designate an heir to receive each piece or have the estate sell the jewelry, since cash is always easier to fairly distribute.

Prevent misunderstandings and ill feelings. If you are in the process of settling an estate that includes jewelry, bring it in for a consultation, so we can help identify what is real and what is costume jewelry. Too often people discard items, thinking them fake when they are actually real. Some costume jewelry has value as collector items.

Don’t let some appraiser come in and cherry-pick the best pieces.

We Do Not Buy or Sell Jewelry!

Come in for a Jewelry Judge Consultation, call (713) 961-1432 or Book an Appointment On-Line Today!

Jewelry Appraisal Checklist!

When getting jewelry appraised, you should ensure that the appraisal comes with key information. Insurance companies need this information to price and issue a policy. Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon Appraisal Reports follow these strict guidelines when appraising jewelry for you.

  1. Identification of all gemstones along with their shape, measurements, and weights.
  2. All diamonds described by the “Four C’s” color, clarity, cut, and carat weight.
  3. All major colored gems described by their color with a recognized description system detailing hue, tone, saturation, clarity and cut.
  4. Pearls should be described by their color, luster, nacre, shape, blemishes, size and matching.
  5. Metals should be described as to their carat content (14K, 18K, etc.) as well as platinum and other metal groups.
  6. The type of construction, craftsmanship, design and makers mark.
  7. A photograph of the item from all sides.
  8. The date, appraiser’s name and signature, addendum information, and qualifications page.
  9. The value and the purpose or function of the appraisal.

If your previous jewelry appraisals are one-paragraph long, on a napkin, have no photo, or appears to be a generic report, it’s time to step up to the professional documents supplied by The Jewelry Judge. It’s your best protection in the event of loss or damage to your jewelry.

Confidence comes with knowing what you have and what it’s worth! Set up an appointment with the Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon for TRUE confidence:

  • confidence that the buyer received what they paid for!
  • confidence in knowing your jewelry never leaves your sight!
  • confidence in a Master Graduate Gemologist/Appraiser’s 65 years of professional experience.

That’s what a Jewelry Judge Appraisal Report delivers to every client.

EVALUATING YOUR JEWELRY

IS OUR ONLY BUSINESS

FOR ALL ITS WORTH

Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon

5433 Westheimer Rd, Suite 606, Houston, TX 77027

Phone:  713-961-1432  –  www.jewelryjudgebengordon.com

Engagement Ring Shopping in 2017?

jewelry judge ben gordon with real peopleConsider Confidence

Regardless of where you purchase your engagement ring and diamond from in 2017. The cut, clarity, color and carat weight (the 4Cs) are definite contributing factors to the value of the diamond, but there are three more Cs to consider before & after shopping for an engagement ring.

Confidence – that’s what a Jewelry Judge Appraisal will deliver

  1. Confidence that the buyer is getting what they pay for.
  2. Confidence in knowing they can conveniently and easily have a written appraisal for insurance purposes or consultation for peace of mind.
  3. Confidence in a Master Graduate Gemologist/Appraiser’s professional experience.

See the Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon on Houston’s Channel 2 November 14, 2016 Consumer News Report 

 

Searching For Answers?

girls-best-friendJewelry is not merely adornment; it is family history, memories and emotional attachments.     Each ring, pendant, bracelet or earrings, holds memories that help tell the jewelry’s story, the manufacturing techniques, fashion trends and styles all have a reference to a time, place and state of mind.

The Jewelry Judge combines Genealogy with Gemology, because Ben knows that Precious Heirlooms are a voice from the past & possibly into the future…  The jewelry of Real People always has a story worth being remembered, appreciated, and handed down to future heirs.

jewelry-judge-ben-gordon-jewelry-boxCultural Background has a deep impact on the type of jewelry imparted to family members.  It tells the century, cultural influences, family status, country and possibly the religion.  Whether beads, pearls, silver, gold, turquoise or other materials, it shows the available metals and tools used by the society making the jewelry.  The cut of a gemstone often provides insight into the age, as more complex faceting became available relatively recently.

Our experience and training has taught us to recognize manufacturing techniques, fashion trends and styles.  We can also identify patterns of wear that may reveal the personality and lifestyle of the original owner.

Our clients tell us we are psychic!   No, we are just passionate about what we do.  If you are anything like Ben, you enjoy all the surprises, history, memories and stories every piece of jewelry tells.

We are your one-stop shop for identification and valuation of diamonds, colored gemstones, antique, vintage and estate jewelry.  Confidence comes with a Jewelry Judge Appraisal Report.

Our appraisal and consultation services will answer the Question:

What’s Your Jewelry Worth?

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Diamonds and the “F” Word

loose-diamondperfectround.jpgWhen speaking of diamonds, the “F” word can mean Fracture, Fissure or Feather. These terms all describe naturally occurring characteristics within a diamond that affect its clarity.

Fractures are breaks in diamonds that are not parallel to the cleavage plane. Fractures are usually irregular in shape, making a diamond look chipped.

Fissure or Cleavages are cracks in a diamond that occur in a straight line. If the cracks reach the surface or run deep, the durability of the stone may be reduced with the possibility of the diamond breaking with age.

Feather
Feather

Feathers are cracks in the stone that resemble the design of feathers. The presence of feathers in a diamond usually does not affect the life of the stone unless and until the feather runs through a major length of the stone or shows major stress points where it can break.

Fractures, fissures and feathers cannot be polished out to enhance a stone, but they CAN be filled with a type of liquid glass containing lead (Pb). This process is somewhat like filling a crack in a car windshield.

Fracture Filled2
Fracture Filled

The imperfection is still there but it is just less visible to the naked eye. This “fracture filling” is known as “clarity enhancement” or “CE.” It makes a less perfect stone look better to the eye.

Filling these fractures does not strengthen the stone. In fact, if subjected to heat and pressure – such as when the diamond is reset, resized or cleaned – the stone can become damaged and even break. Even a slight tap in an unfortunate spot can ruin a treated diamond.

What does “CE” do to pricing and value?
“Clarity enhanced” or “fracture filled” diamonds should carry a lower price. They will still sparkle, but they are certainly less valuable and should be priced accordingly.

If you want to achieve the sparkle of a large diamond with high clarity, but the one you really want is beyond your budget, a fracture filled or ‘CE’ clarity enhanced diamond may be just the thing for you. Be aware though that such a diamond does not have the rarity or the intrinsic beauty of an untreated diamond and your price should reflect this.

A Fraudulent Practice?
Not necessarily. “Fracture filling” only becomes unethical when clarity enhancement is intentionally concealed and not disclosed at the point of sale.

Should the Jeweler Disclose Enhancements?

FTC Guidelines for the Jewelry Industry strongly state that “it is illegal for a Diamond Seller NOT to Disclose that a diamond has been Clarity-Enhanced by fracture-filling.

Customers should ask for a diamond grading report and verify that they understand exactly what they are paying for. Each term used in describing a diamond on the grading report should be discussed at the point of purchase.  A knowledgeable and trusted independent jewelry appraiser is needed when making important purchases.

What should I do?
When you are unsure, it’s a good idea to seek the advice of a third party independent jewelry appraiser who is also a gemologist. If you have a concern about a recent diamond purchase, bring it in to the Jewelry Judge as soon as possible.

For the informed consumer, there is no reason to fear the “F” words. We are here to help you enjoy a fantastic and fun experience with your fascinating diamond purchase.

Note: A diamond grading report is not a guarantee of value, merely a description of the unique features of a specific diamond based upon laboratory examination – but that’s the subject of another article!

Read more at Changing the Natural Essence of the Diamond

NOROVIRUS IS NOT THE ONLY CRUISE DANGER

Norovirus is an epidemic of gastroenteritis, happening all too often on cruise ships. Limit your exposure by:

  • Washing your hands frequently with soap and water.
  • Washing fruits and vegetables and ensure seafood is cooked thoroughly.
  • When you are sick, do not prepare food.
  • Clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces.
  • Wash laundry thoroughly and machine dry.

Pirate Virus is an epidemic of Tourists easily separated from their money.

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Limit your exposure to overpaying for jewelry by avoiding:

Pirate Ploys

  • Inflated List Prices – Nothing says value like a price tag. Pirates inflate “list” prices on the tags, trying to lure you into thinking the jewelry is worth much more than it is. Then if you bargain they will reduce the price and still make a pirate’s profit.
  • Light Makes White – Bright lights make every diamond look better. Pirate shops may have special light bulbs to make a yellowish diamond glisten white.
  • Hide the Flaws – Pirates may hide flaws under the prongs of the setting. Under the prong, an I1 clarity may appear like a more valuable VS2. Learn more about the  4Cs.
  • Grade Bumping – Pirates exaggerate the grade. Pirates will be INACCURATE by one or two color and clarity grades since you do not know which lab definitions they use. Pirates like to provide a range, such as G-H color.
  • Laser Drilling – Pirate diamonds may have drill holes to hide dark carbon impurities and enhance the diamond clarity when viewed by the naked eye.
  • Fracture Filling – Pirates use inexpensive fracture filled diamonds, which make the flaws invisible, but the diamond is unstable and likely to break.
  • Synthetic Diamonds – “Natural” Lab Grown diamonds are everywhere! Especially on pirate ships where synthetics may get mixed-in with natural mined diamonds. Learn more about Synthetics.
  • CZ, Quartz or Moissanite – Diamond look-a-likes “simulants” can fool you and every pirate knows it. You might come home with a $12 cubic zirconia that cost you $2,000. It is amazing how these look-a-likes get mixed into pirate jewelry.
  • The 50% Off Sale – Pirates love Huge Sales (don’t you?). Don’t fall for it, pirates mark up everything, then mark them half-price during a sale. Liquidation and “going out of business” sales use the same ploy.

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If you want to enjoy the Bounty and avoid over priced Pirate Booty, come in for a Jewelry Judge Consultation before your cruise! We will educate you on trends and scams we are aware of, as well as arm you with the knowledge to make you an informed consumer.

Beware of buying diamonds, gemstones or jewelry while on a cruise. Enjoy your vacation, enjoy the food, company and souvenir T-Shirts, but avoid the pirate jewelry. Put the money you will have saved from not buying the pirate jewelry toward another holiday! Bring us along as your guests!

Certified Diamonds?

ColorimeterIs a diamond with a ‘certificate’ more valuable than a diamond without one?

The term ‘certificate’ is no longer valid in the diamond industry, but it is used as a marketing buzz word by jewelers. The preferred term is ‘grading report.’ There is a cost associated in obtaining a grading report, and diamonds without them may be sent to a laboratory at any time to be graded.

There is a major difference in the source of grading reports because different gem grading laboratories may use different grading standards. The industry standard diamond grading reports are provided by GIA (Gemological Institute of America). We do not rely on grading reports from laboratories outside of the US. There are ‘credibility value’ concerns to grading reports, since they may vary depending upon the laboratory that has issued the report.

President Ronald Reagan once said “Trust but Verify”.

Anyone buying a diamond, whether loose or set in jewelry, regardless of the origin of the lab report, needs an ‘Independent Appraiser’ capable of examining the diamond to confirm identity, quality, and value of the diamond. As well as, ensure that the diamond grading report matches the diamond, so that if there are any questions they can be addressed and verified immediately.

For Integrity and Honesty, Trust the Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon.

Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon is available in his Houston gem lab to consult and appraise jewelry for insurance replacement, estate probate, division of property, and for consultation whenever you are buying or selling.

Is a diamond with a ‘certificate’ more valuable than a diamond without one? The difference in value between two identical diamonds would be the cost of the grading report.

For most diamonds already set in jewelry a Jewelry Judge Appraisal Report may be more economical and more useful to you. We use the same unbiased and scientifically-based assessment of your diamond’s qualities and go a step farther in assigning a value based on current market conditions and the quality of the diamond. In the end, what you really want to know is: What’s my jewelry worth?

Visit our website:  The Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon

Book Appointment

 

 

7 Things to Know When Buying a Ring

1. Learn about the four Cs — the color of the diamond, the clarity of the diamond, the quality of the cut of the diamond, and the carat weight of the diamond. These will have the greatest impact on value and price of the diamond. Know the 5th C – Confidence comes with a Jewelry Judge Appraisal Report!

2. Check store reputations — always purchase from a jeweler who has been in business for a number of years. If you are not familiar with the jeweler or online site, check their reputation and rating with the Better Business Bureau and the American Gem Society before you buy.

3. Buy a certified diamond — it comes with a diamond grading report that has been issued by an independent, unbiased gemological institute (GIA or AGS preferred). This way, you have the opportunity to compare one diamond’s details to that of another, at the same store or different one.

4. Grading report — always purchase diamond jewelry accompanied by a grading report. The grading report provides an unbiased assessment of a jewel’s four Cs. It informs you if a stone is synthetic – in other words, man-made or laboratory grown – or has undergone any treatments, which may dramatically affect the value. Be sure an accredited gemological institute, such as GIA or AGS, has graded the diamond jewelry.

5. READ the store’s return policy — most reputable retailers have at least a 30-day, money-back guarantee, although there may be some cases where the jewelry is not returnable, such as if it has been custom-made for a particular client or engraved with unique initials.

6. Use a credit card — pay with a credit card and keep the receipt for your records, as it’s a legal document that protects the consumer should anything happen to the diamond. It may be required when making a return, always READ the store’s return policy for better protection. If there are any problems, make sure you deal with it as soon as possible to qualify for consumer protection against fraudulent transactions.

7. Bring it to the Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon — for verification many jewelry stores and on-line merchants will send the jewelry to our gem lab in advance of your purchase so we can authenticate the diamond grading report prior to your purchase. If not, bring it in for verification as soon as possible!

Download this PDF Document and share it with your friends and family.

Buying an Engagement

Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon
5433 Westheimer Road, Suite 606
Houston, TX. 77056
Call for an appointment 713 961 1432 we try to accommodate your busy schedule!
Book an appointment online: Book Appointment