Tag Archives: Engagement Ring

Man-Made vs Earth Mined Diamonds – 7 Considerations

The hottest topic in the jewelry industry is the controversy over Man-Made vs Earth Mined Diamonds.  Here are a few things to think about…

  1. Lab-grown diamonds are a technology product produced in a factory.

Pickup Diamonds

  1. Lab-grown diamonds will get bigger and cheaper as production technology improves, so the smart consumer should make sure that the jeweler they purchase a synthetic diamond from has a good buy back or upgrade policy.
  2. Lab-grown diamonds currently have no established resale market. This means they will not hold their value.
  3. Natural mined diamonds have a resale market for pre-owned diamonds, whether auctions, dealers, or wholesale buyers.
  4. As technology improves, you will find that the Lab-grown diamond price decrease, making any Lab-grown diamond you already own worth less than when you purchased it. The natural mined diamond value will be affected as well. The price of diamonds (without grading reports) will suffer due to the fact that they can’t be positively identified without lab testing of the mounted diamond. Without a grading report to assure that the diamond was identified as a natural earth mined diamond, a shadow of doubt will impact any value.
  5. The natural diamond market will also be affected by the influx of synthetic diamonds too small to be cost effective to grade or unmount and identify. The natural mined diamond value will be affected as well. The price of diamonds (without grading reports) will suffer due to the fact that they can’t be positively identified without lab testing of the mounted diamond. Without a grading report to assure that the diamond was identified as a natural earth mined diamond, a shadow of doubt will impact any value.
  6. The future of the natural earth mined diamond market will be in larger size diamonds, fancy colored and grading report certified diamonds.

JJLogowithGavel Professional Opinion:

“Lab-grown diamonds provide affordable fashion jewelry that may not be forever, but may be just perfect for your budget right now. With no resale market for pre-owned lab-grown diamonds once you buy it, wear it and enjoy it.”

 

When comparing precious gemstones for purchase it’s always recommended to get an unbiased and independent opinion.  Many jewelers will hold a credit card in exchange for a 24 hour examination period of gemstones or jewelry.  The Jewelry Judge specializes in consulting before an important purchase is made.  Come see the Jewelry Judge before you commit to a purchase.

Book Appointment  On-Line  or  Call 713-961-1432

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Here To Stay: Man-Made, Lab-Grown, Synthetic Diamonds

DiamondsLab-grown (Synthetic) diamonds are here to stay and will only become more widespread in the retail jewelry market.  These lab-grown diamonds are virtually indistinguishable from natural diamond and will fool pretty much every conventional diamond testing method.

A lab-grown diamond is not an imitation or fake. A Lab-grown diamond is made of the same material as a natural earth diamond, with the same physical properties and crystal structure. It  has the same hardness, the same refractive index, and many of the same visible features.  A Lab-grown diamond is a diamond produced inside of a factory instead of deep in the earth over millions of years ago.

Specialized Knowledge and Testing Technology

Lab-grown diamonds are beautiful, the colorless, high clarity material being made is identical to the best quality natural diamonds and is currently about half the cost.. While the lab growth process may occasionally leave some microscopic indications that the diamond is man-made, , often without specialized knowledge, gemologists are challenged to identify it as a synthetic without removing the diamond or sending it to GIA or AGS for a grading report.   The Jewelry Judge stays current with the technology and identification procedures.

JJLogowithGavel

“As an appraiser I do not debate the merits of lab-grown versus natural earth mined diamonds. Lab-grown diamonds are here to stay, and the mass production of factory lab-grown diamonds is changing the jewelry industry.”

 

When comparing precious gemstones for purchase it’s always recommended to get an unbiased and independent opinion. Many jewelers will hold a credit card in exchange for a 24 hour examination period of gemstones or jewelry. The Jewelry Judge specializes in consulting before an important purchase is made. Come see the Jewelry Judge before you commit to a purchase.

Book Appointment On-Line or Call 713-961-1432

Is diamond pricing based solely on the 4 C’s of color, clarity, cut and carat weight?

Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon - GIA 4CsWhile the concept of the 4 C’s for diamonds was provided by GIA in 1953, and is a great industry standard today, there are additional factors to consider when pricing a diamond or other gemstone.

For example, the enhancement or treatment of a diamond (and gemstones) must be included as a price factor because it can have a significant impact on the price. Diamond treatments such as fracture filling and high heat + high pressure treatment did not exist prior to the 1980’s, but are common today. As are synthetic lab-grown (man-made) diamonds and look-a-likes, both have much less value than natural earth mined diamonds.

Transparency is also another price factor. Transparency is describes how clear, hazy, cloudy or opaque a gemstone is. It’s a separate factor from clarity. Hardly ever mentioned by retail jewelers, transparency has always been a value factor for colored gemstones, and it can be just as important as color in today’s diamonds.  Non-transparent diamonds are becoming more common in today’s color diamond market.

4CsSalespeople like a quick easy way of presenting gemstone pricing to their customers, so they use the 4 C’s.

The Jewelry Judge does not sell or buy gemstones or jewelry.

I provide you information on how gemstones are valued during your appraisal process. To do that, I am committed to providing you with complete, accurate, up-to-date information, in order to answer the question: What’s Your Jewelry Worth?

Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon Double CheckThat all being said:

Get a second opinion with a Jewelry Judge Double Check!

 

65Years-2018

February Birthstone – Amethyst

Amethyst Rough and cutAmethyst is not only the February Birthstone, it is also used to celebrate the 6th and 17th wedding anniversary. Amethyst is the perfect color to provide warmth and strength during this winter month.

Amethyst is the purple variety of quartz. While amethyst is most commonly recognized as a purple color, the gemstone color range is a light pinkish violet to a deep purple.

Sometimes, they will have layers of color variations, so the way the gemstone is cut is important to the way the color shows through the top of the finished gemstone.

Amethyst stripes

Amethyst Ring3Amethyst jewelry has been found and dated as early as 2000 BC, and has been associated with many myths, legends, religions, and numerous cultures. Some historical accounts say that Saint Valentine had an amethyst ring carved with an image of Cupid. And for those familiar with Old Testament history, amethyst was one of the twelve gemstones that represented the twelve tribes of Israel.

 

mohs scale

Is it OK to have an Amethyst Engagement Ring?

Amethyst is appropriate for everyday wear, but its Mohs hardness of 7 means it will show wear over the years and may require re-polishing. Today, consumers make unconventional engagement ring choices, choosing birthstones or other colored gemstones rather than diamond. It’s a personal choice.

 

When looking to purchase Amethyst:

  1. Visit and consult the Jewelry Judge, who is trained and certified to ensure that the consumer gets the best information to make a great purchase.
  2. Check the color of the stone. Amethyst often has “stripes” or layers of color from how and when it was formed, so the cut and polish of the stone is important to show the overall color evenly. Avoid brownish or rust colored tints to the stone and be careful the color is not too deep or it can appear black in some lights.
  3. Look for clarity in an amethyst. Most gemologists will favor a richly colored stone with some minor inclusions (not eye-visible), since the color of this gem is so highly prized. In lighter colored amethysts, visible inclusions will greatly reduce the value of the gemstone.

During early history, amethyst was held to be one of the most precious gemstones, and it was the exclusive choice of clergy as a symbol for the deity of Christ. Today, availability of abundant supplies of amethyst allowed the commercialization and marketing to the general public.  Amethyst’s abundance means the price difference between large and small sizes is minimal, so it is a great gemstone for a statement piece. Larger rings, earrings or pendants can make a great addition to any jewelry collection. Smaller amethysts can be deeply and richly colored, making these pieces pop and get noticed.

Does Where an Amethyst is Mined increase it’s value?
Jewelers and dealers often tell consumers origin matters, because an amethyst from Siberia or Zambia might have a better color than amethyst from Brazil. Origin alone does not add or detract value to amethyst or any gemstone. The Jewelry Judge bases Value on the 4Cs of Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat size, which like diamonds helps determine the quality. Color is the most important value factor regardless of the country of origin for Amethyst and most gemstones.

What’s AAA Quality Amethyst?
Individual companies and dealers often create their own quality descriptions, like AAA, AA, A to denote the range of quality for their goods. No Standard quality grading scale has been accepted by the industry for amethyst or any colored gemstone. The Jewelry Judge uses the 4Cs for Diamonds to guide value for amethyst and all colored gemstones.

What are Enhancements or Treatments?

Gemstone treatments or enhancements refer to the way some gemstones are treated to improve their appearance or durability, or even change their color. Many gemstones are treated in some way (such as heat) to improve their color. The effects of some treatments may lessen or change over time and some treated gemstones may require special care.
Enhancements do affect the value of a gemstone, when measured against a comparable untreated gemstone.

Treatments and/or enhancements should always be disclosed by the seller, along with any special care that might be required. You can shop better by taking the time to learn how to buy jewelry. It can seem like a lot, but with a short consultation with the Jewelry Judge, you’ll be shopping like a professional in no time.

Here are a few basics to get your shopping jump-started:16-SimsBlue

What are natural gemstones?
Natural gemstones come from the earth and are mined worldwide. Some natural gemstones can be enhanced, which means sometimes they are treated in some way (such as heat) to improve their color.

What are imitation gemstones?
Imitation or simulated stones look like natural gemstones in appearance only. This includes tinted glass, cubic zirconia, moissanite or other material that resembles natural stones when treated. Laboratory-created and imitation stones should be clearly identified by the seller, but too often are not.

What are laboratory-created gemstones?
These stones, which can also be referred to as laboratory-grown, manufacturer-created, man-made, or synthetic, have essentially the same chemical, physical, and optical properties as natural gemstones (but not the value). Laboratory-created gemstones do not have the rarity or value of natural-colored gemstones. Although they are similar in many ways to natural gemstones, a professional gemologist like the Jewelry Judge will be able to recognize their difference with proper testing.

Here are four sure fire tips to assure a great purchase:

  1. Compare before you decide. We frequently help couples decide between two or three center diamonds . Often they appear quite differently under the microscope which is almost never on the sales counter in a jewelry store. Local jewelers will often hold a credit card for 24hrs while our clients bring in diamonds for our evaluation. This is called a pre-sale consultation and could save thousands of dollars.
  2. Trust but verify It’s not unusual for us to have a client bring in a $20,000 or $50,000 diamond that was purchased on the Internet. We authenticate and match the stone to the laboratory report that came with the purchase to assure everything is ‘kosher.’ Get a Jewelry Judge Double Check!
  3. Insure before the honeymoon We do not sell insurance, but can show our clients how to obtain no obligation complementary insurance quotes.
  4. Condition Check – Our laboratory instruments can detect small chips or fissures in a diamond that might have occurred during the stone setting process. It’s fairly common to find a chipped corner hidden under a prong that was squeezed to tightly. Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon Double Check

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!

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

Diamonds may be forever, but your jewelry appraisal is not!

There’s a time limit for appraisals of all jewelry containing gemstones and precious metals. Values change from year to year.

JJ-Reminders

Why and When should you get an old appraisal updated?

  • If your past appraisal is 3 or more years old, an insurance company needs current information as to condition and value.
  • If you are changing insurance companies.
  • If you are remounting a stone or modifying an item, thus significantly altering its identity and changing its value.
  • If there is volatility in the marketplace which causes severe changes of gemstones and precious metal prices.
  • If you need an appraisal for another use such as a divorce, estate settlement or liquidation.
  • If you are gifting or bequeathing the item.
  • If you are placing the item into a trust.

“An appraisal is a reality check of value at specific date in time,” Ben continues.
“An appraisal must give as complete a description of an item as is needed to indemnify the insured in case of damage, loss or theft. Without accurate identification, it cannot be accurately valued or replaced, should the need arise.”

Ben frequently mentions the term indemnity. “It’s the main purpose for an insurance replacement appraisal,” he says. “And yet we seldom hear other appraisers use the word.”

What’s indemnity, it is making a consumer whole again in case of loss. “I’ll look at the piece and describe it, to ensure there are no errors or insufficient information that would make it impossible to replace the item with one that is identical or nearly alike, as well as set a proper premium for it,” Ben says. “We ensure the appraisal is complete and adequate, so the customer can be made whole, in the event an insurance claim is made.”

JJLogowithGavelEVALUATING YOUR JEWELRY
           IS OUR ONLY BUSINESS
                FOR ALL ITS WORTH

An independent jewelry appraisal solution for 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 with 65 years of professional experience in the jewelry trade.

That’s what a Jewelry Judge Appraisal Report delivers to every client. Book an Appointment Today!

Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon
5433 Westheimer Rd, Suite 606
Houston, TX 77027
713-961-1432 or www.jewelryjudgebengordon.com

The On-Line Diamond Buying Secret – Sellers won’t tell you!

In today’s point and click world, when you are buying online you really can’t see the quality of the gemstone or workmanship.

Buy_Now_Button

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 actually a modern reproduction using a diamond look-a-like and the green stone is aventurine quartz not emerald.

Diamond Simulants
Is IT Real?

Look for a GIA or AGSL Diamond Grading Report (improperly called a certified diamond on-line) with the diamond. GIA and AGSL are the most trusted gem grading labs around.

GIA Report

Look for at least a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee. Verify the terms of the 30-day money back guarantee as it gives you time to make sure your purchase is perfect. If you need to return it for any reason, the seller may provide you with an exchange or full refund.

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 detailing the quality represented by the on-line store.

As an “independent” appraiser, we are not affiliated with any retail establishment or jewelry manufacturer, and we do not buy or sell jewelry. We represent you, the client, exclusively.

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

Confidence comes with knowing what you have and knowing what it’s worth!

EVALUATING YOUR JEWELRY

IS OUR ONLY BUSINESS

FOR ALL ITS WORTH

65Book an appointment with the Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon for confidence:

  1. confidence that you received what you paid for!
  2. confidence in knowing your jewelry never leaves your sight!
  3. confidence in a Master Graduate Gemologist/Appraiser with                                            65 years of professional experience in the jewelry trade.

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

Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon, 5433 Westheimer Rd, Suite 606, Houston, TX 77027

713-961-1432  –  www.jewelryjudgebengordon.com

What Do You Charge for an Appraisal?

Many potential customers call or text asking what does an appraisal cost.

A Doctor cannot provide the price to fix a broken arm before seeing the arm and getting X-rays! A doctor needs to see the arm to know how bad the break is, where it is and whether surgery will be required in the hospital or as an out- patient procedure.

Broken Arms

Jewelry Appraisals require getting some details from an initial look at the jewelry to determine the complexity of the job before a price can be set.

We try to explain to them that we need to preview the item to determine the complexity (number of stones to measure and grade, rarity, age and designer, time for research, and other factors), as these will affect the appraisal fee, which will vary according to the item.

Cluster Ring Solitaire

A cluster ring with multiple diamonds of varying sizes and shapes is more complex than a ring with a single gemstone.

 

There is NO FEE to Estimate the Cost of your Appraisal before we start the process. We always estimate your fee and Obtain Your Approval before we start any appraisal work.

If you feel the FEE is unreasonable you are under No Obligation to continue the appraisal work and you have lost nothing but the time of the initial look.

Book an Appointment for a No Obligation Appraisal Estimate today!

 

 

Why is a Jewelry Appraisal like a Home Inspection?

Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon -3WhiteWhileYouWatch You need to know;

  • What you’re getting before you buy.
  • The features of the house and if any features reveal the need for repair or maintenance, before you make a commitment.
  • Comparable values of similar homes for sale, under contract or sold in the area.
  • if there are any ‘money traps’, was everything properly disclosed to you.
  • Assure you’re getting what you pay for in a house.
  • Know the price you paid is fair.

How much risk are you willing to take by undervaluing, or overvaluing your new home?

Think about what you are willing to pay for a home? $65,000?  $250,000? over a $million?

Now replace words ‘house’ and ‘home’ in the above text with ‘Diamond’, ‘Engagement Ring’ or ‘Estate Jewelry’.

And think about what an appraisal report could be worth to you…to your heirs….

As with a home inspection you expect a written report with accurate measurements, clear photographs, and detailed descriptions prepared by a qualified professional and delivered in a timely manner.

Batman

Arrive at your Jewelry Judge appointment with questions and concerns – You will leave with peace of mind.

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