Tag Archives: Estate Appraisal

May Birthstone Emerald

emeralds-roughEmerald is the May Birthstone, as well as, the 20th and 35th Anniversary Gemstone.

When the Spanish came to the Americas, Europeans saw how beautiful emeralds were as Colombian emeralds were brought back to Europe by the conquistadors.

Today Emerald has moved back into its position as one of the “big three” gemstones, with  Sapphire (1st) and ruby (2nd).  New mines and increased production brings many beautiful gemstones from Zambia and Muzo in Colombia is now back in production. Both mining and selling will increase the availability of emerald in the market place.

Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon Double CheckKnow what you have by getting a Jewelry Judge Consultation.

It is common knowledge that Colombian emeralds (and other colored gemstones) are undervalued, since their rarity and beauty still catch the attention of investors. But over priced on-line sources are way too common. Like the diamond and other gemstones,  emeralds can be judged according to the 4Cs: color, cut, clarity and carat weight. These gems are highly prized and intensely colored ones can be quite rare, so make sure that you get a Jewelry Judge Appraisal Report or Consultation.

Most gemologists agree that it comes down to color, clarity and transparency when purchasing an emerald. Color should be evenly distributed and not too dark.

Determining if you have a Columbian Emerald is done using a Chelsea filter, which is basically a blue filter, that reveals hidden secrets in the different wavelengths of a gemstone. If the stone under the Chelsea filter looks pink or red, it is a Colombian emerald (Brazilian and African emeralds remain green due to iron content in the gem).

If the stone looks green, it is something other than Colombian emerald (tourmaline or green glass, etc.). This is because emeralds have a double peak spectrum, one in the red zone and one in the blue zone which cancel each other out and produce what our eyes detect as (Emerald Green).  The Chelsea filter takes advantage of this spectrum by blocking the blue part of the spectrum and only allowing the red or pink to come through.

emerald1Inclusions are a natural part of an emerald. Emerald is harder than quartz or tourmaline and resists most scratching and wear. It is not as hard as diamond and sapphire, and may be damaged if dropped or bumped hard. Small microscopic fissures are common to emerald due to the crystal structure.

The normal processing that takes place after cutting and polishing an emerald, includes the treatment of  fissures that reach the surface (if any), which are (Treated) masked with a colorless oil (usually Cedarwood Oil) or resin to reduce the visibility of those fissures. This simple and low-tech process is accepted as normal by the gem industry and is called clarity enhancement which may be minor, moderate or significant.

Emerald color is unaltered by this treatment and remains natural. Oiling does not detract too much from the overall value of the stone when inclusions are present. But it’s all about the color, hue and saturation of the gemstone!

Emerald2

Be Careful: Emeralds set in jewelry may last for centuries with the proper care. Since the many natural emeralds contain filled fractures, it’s risky to clean them in an ultrasound or with steam. Ultrasonic vibrations can weaken already-fractured stones, and hot steam can cause oil or unhardened resin to come out of fractures. Leaving you with an ugly looking gemstone. Because of this we do not recommend Emerald as a “Daily Wear” item such as an engagement ring, but rather as a social or event piece that you can show off on an occasional basis.

Cleaning: Use warm, soapy water coupled with a soft toothbrush and gentle scrubbing for the safest way to clean emeralds.

Trust has been the hallmark of our appraisal business, it is the reason our clients continue to bring their precious jewelry to us.

Mr. Gordon is an advocate for consumer awareness and demonstrates his community commitment by regularly delivering talks to educate and protect the public.

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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

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.