Gold prospecting is the act of searching for gold in old jewelry and shoe boxes. What’s in your Closet?
Bring in your old jewelry boxes and have the Jewelry Judge sort and value the jewelry and gold.
This is traditionally an estate activity, either by someone dividing up jewelry among children or the heirs who inherited a mix of jewelry after the loss of a family member.
We will separate the fine jewelry and precious metals from costume, identify quality, identify the designer/manufacturer, provide documentation and value the items in your treasure chest. We will also refer you to trusted buyers, consignors or auction houses which are appropriate for your items of value.
During the current economic down turn, selling precious metals and fine jewelry or watches is once again not only popular, but in some cases a necessity. We experienced this in 2015 when gold was at $1,400 an ounce, today it is selling at $1,700 an ounce.
Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon is known for his While You Watch consultations and appraisals.
Now, clients don’t even have to leave home to schedule a professional consultation.
The Jewelry Judge offers personal online visits by pre-arrangement. Send him photos of jewelry by email ahead of time and connect within twenty-four hours via Zoom, Skype or Facetime, depending upon your computer or preferred mobile device. He will respond with details about how to ‘log in’ to meet with him.
What Do You Need to Know?
Thinking about selling– find out what you should expect to receive if selling jewelry!
Replacement value insurance appraisal – learn how much it would take to replace your engagement ring.
Sorting through estate pieces – did you inherit a shoe box full of jewelry and need to know what’s worth keeping?
Setting up your e-Bay store – Want to know what’s a fair price to ask for your items?
Confirming an online purchase – It looks smaller in the box than on your screen; did you receive what you paid for?
“At our gem lab, we have always done appraisals in full view of our clients,” Mr. Gordon affirms. “Of course, we miss the person- to-person office visits, but we’re happy to be able to continue to help with virtual online consultations.”
Most items with a GIA or AGS laboratory grading report (even if the report is twenty years old) are eligible for online valuations. For others, you may only need a verbal consultation. Call 713 961-1432 to find out if we can help.
In difficult economic times, people sell hard assets such as jewelry and luxury valuables to provide money for other priorities, such as college tuition or travel.
To assure that our clients know the value of any items they consider selling, we offer a ‘Fair Market Valuation.’ Knowing how much a jewel is worth before taking it to an estate buyer or consigning it to auction will help assure the best price is obtained.
Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon does not buy or sell. This allows him to maintain objectivity. He does, however, refer clients to trusted buyers or reputable auction galleries depending upon the specific items to be liquidated.
This ring sold at auction for over $28,000. Its original owner thought it might bring $15-18,000. A Jewelry Judge valuation and referral helped bring a much higher price.
When making a hard decision, we recommend knowing the hard facts about hard assets. Difficult decisions become easier with a Jewelry Judge Consultation. Make your decisions based upon hard facts – Call 713 961-1432. Book Appointment On-Line
With the current price of gold upwards of $1600 per troy ounce, gold jewelry sellers are back.
Houston’s Jewelry Judgedoes not buy or sell jewelry, but he often consults to inform individuals wishing to sell their gold on what price they can expect. “People often forget,” he remarks, “that anyone buying gold will most likely be reselling it.”
This means that, for example, a handful of 14k gold chains weighing exactly 1 troy ounce will bring less than 30% of the daily spot price for gold. 18k and 22k gold may bring somewhat more, because of the higher percentage of gold in the mix. Know the value of your gold before you sell to avoid disappointment – consult with The Jewelry Judge.
What about gold jewelry with colored gemstones in it? Mr. Gordon shakes his head, “Many gold buyers lump all jewelry items together and weigh it as though it were gold. This could mean that a valuable gemstone could be quite under priced. That’s where it helps to consult with Houston’s Jewelry Judge. Sometimes, there’s something really valuable in a tangled mess.” We can identify what’s worth salvaging, re-designing, or letting it go to scrap. And if there is a need to sell, we help direct our clients to reputable buyers.”
A gold karat is a unit of measurement that identifies its purity. 100% gold is soft and malleable and would be impractical as jewelry as it would become distorted and wear quickly. Other metals such as copper, silver, zinc, and nickel are therefore mixed with gold to strengthen it.
What percent is gold and what percent is other metals?
Here is a simple guide to the meaning of 22K, 18K 14K and 10K gold – the most popular gold purity indicators found in fine jewelry.
• 24-karat = pure gold with nothing added
• 22-karat is 91.67 % pure gold and 8.33 % other
• 18-karat yellow gold is made from 75% gold and 25% other
• 14-karat gold is 14/24ths (58.3%) gold and 41.7% other
• 10-karat gold is 10/24ths (41.6%) gold and 58.4% other
The gold bars at Fort Knox are 24 karat gold, the purest gold possible. There is no such thing as 25 or 26 karat gold, so steer clear of anyone who makes such a claim. Most gold jewelry sold today is stamped to indicate the karat value, but often a stamp is illegible or worn away. The Jewelry Judge can test to identify the karat weight of gold as well as platinum and silver.
Weighing and testing services provide you with information you can trust before you sell your gold jewelry.
Everyone should know if their gold jewelry is 14k, 18k, 22k or another purity, as well as, its weight in grams or pennyweights. While Houston’s Jewelry Judgedoes not buy or sell jewelry, we can quickly and accurately weigh your gold before you approach a buyer so you will know approximately what you should receive based upon current market value when you sell. This service is also available for silver and platinum items.
Learn how the Jewelry Judge provides consumer protection as part of the jewelry appraisal process. Here is a recent appraisal where a major discrepancy was resolved!
We at The Jewelry Judge gem lab take pride in uncovering fraud and misrepresentation when we advocate for our clients in disputes. Devious intent is not always the case when there is a significant discrepancy between what was paid for and what was received.
Here’s a case in point – the mismatched sapphire.
Our client brought us a beautiful loose sapphire with a GIA certificate and a receipt describing the gemstone as weighing 1.93 carat oval blue unheated sapphire.
When we weighed and measured it, our results showed 1.43 carat weight. The discrepancy in carat weight could mean a difference of $1,000.
No one panicked!
We simply called the retailer where the gemstone had been purchased two days earlier. He remembered the customer well – she had compared four sapphires of different sizes and colors. Each was brought out of inventory and carefully unwrapped from its small packet. Each was examined with a loupe and tweezers. A decision was made to purchase the 1.93 ctw gemstone and the three remaining sapphires were wrapped up and returned to stock.
It is easy for a sales professional to inadvertently wrap a gemstone in the wrong packet, especially when to the naked eye, gemstones can appear to be quite similar. The retailer quickly examined the remaining three packets in his inventory and confirmed that the 1.93 ctw gemstone was in the 1.4 wrapper and our client had her preferred stone within a half hour.
Errors can and do occur. But this happy ending was brought about by:
• Our client’s quick action – it was only two days after the purchase that she brought the loose stone to us for confirmation and insurance valuation.
• Our immediate call to the principal who was personally known to The Jewelry Judge (while the client sat with us).
• This retailer was happy that we brought the discrepancy to his attention, and his inventory confirmed our findings.
Both the retailer and our client thanked us for weighing and testing the beautiful oval sapphire. Yes, a mistake had been made – unintended human error is possible. Our call to the retailer gave him an opportunity to quickly correct the error and protect his reputation.
Have you been procrastinating about getting your jewelry appraised or updating and old appraisal?
Values may be inflated by the retailer on new jewelry, and if it is an older piece values change from year to year with gemstone and precious metal market prices.
Why and When should you get your jewelry appraised?
Insurance companies often INCREASE Premiums on insured jewelry every year.
If your past appraisal is 3 or more years old, you may be paying more on your premium than necessary based on the current condition and value.
If you are changing insurance companies, they need detailed information.
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.
The Jewelry Judge 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.”
An independent jewelry appraisal “While You Watch” brings:
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.
Have you just received your Grandmother’s pendant as a gift or inheritance?
Are you troubled by the emotional significance of this keepsake, but probably won’t wear it as it’s not to your taste?
Here are 4 Things you can do…
Sell it outright to an interested party
Donate it to a charity
Send it to an auction sale
Re-design it and enjoy the memories
In each of the above actions, there is a critical piece of information that can help with the decision. It is the value of the item. Emotional value is determined by the recipient, but monetary value is information that requires expertise and knowledge.
Call 713 492 – 1432 or click consultation to reserve 15 minutes of free consultation time to determine your best action.
Why a Free 15 Minute Consultation?
A free consultation points you in the right direction.
For those who which to sell estate jewelry or any fine jewelry or watches, you’ll learn what market price you might expect and even locate a potential buyer for your item. If considering a donation, learn what paperwork you’ll need to document its value. For those selling at auction, find out which auction houses to consider and what to expect. And for those who wish to create a new design or refresh the look of a vintage piece, Mr. Gordon can advise on resources. Grandmothers would approve!
No matter what the trend, or the season, The Jewelry Judge can consult on your purchase before you buy.
Many retailers will hold a credit card while an item is ‘out on approval’ for a few hours while an independent appraiser authenticates and validates the item. Others will accept a return – be sure to check individual store policies to avoid any surprises and beware of ‘final sale’ items.
The Jewelry Judge offers same day turn-around and walk-in appointments (some wait-time may be necessary). Call us at 713 961-1432 to verify authenticity and consult before committing to large dollar purchases. Book On-Line Today!
We look forward to a helping celebrate a happy holiday season with you!
The holiday season is the most important time of the year for retailers. It’s a time when new trends emerge and when special (and sometimes low end) merchandise hits the stores. Here are some trends to watch for – or in some cases, to watch out for.
Synthetic diamonds are everywhere now. Expect to see more of them. Even DeBeers is branding them and promoting the man-made diamonds available in many colors!
They are promoted as less expensive (as they should be) than earth mined diamonds. Be sure to know what you’re buying. Some of these are being offered without disclosing that they are man-made. And branding can make them actually more expensive per carat that earth mined diamonds.
It’s common for retailers to stock up on more inexpensive lines and feature these with a mix of higher quality items. The low prices lure the customer and may be too tempting to resist. Stick to your guns if you value quality and avoid being distracted with ‘lower priced’ merchandise.
Holiday Trend 3:Pandora beads may make a seasonal comeback
This was a fashion fad that has faded, but during the holidays, you can expect to see these come back in their many variations.
These are fun for teenagers, but not really fine jewelry as there is no resale value. Costume jewelry is not an investment.
Great fun and clients love the designer name. Priced under $500, these rings make fun stocking stuffers. Our preference is for vintage Yurman designs – heftier and worth their weight. Generally, we wouldn’t appraise an item valued at less than $1000. Keep in mind that high end brands often have a ‘popular’ line which makes the brand accessible to those with modest budgets.
Holiday Trend 5: Pave Diamonds
Our clients know how much we love diamonds! Not only are no two natural diamonds alike, but no two manufacturers’ designs are alike. There is great variation in the way diamonds are set that can affect the value.
We recommend examining the mountings under magnification to check for smooth and even prongs, level surfaces and of course, tiny nicks. Pave diamonds should also be well matched for beauty and value.
Holiday Trend 6: Luxury Watches
A watch is a timeless gift (couldn’t resist the pun)! We caution our buyers to especially double check when spending thousands of dollars on a luxury fashion item. Be sure your retailer is reliable especially if purchasing estate or pre-owned watches. Even reputable jewelers can make mistakes.
We have found numerous ‘hybrid’ watches that are assembled from various after- market components such as a diamond bezel or replacement crystal faces. These ‘hybrids’ may be attractive, but they will certainly not be as valuable as an all original luxury watch.
Whatever your selection for holiday shopping, don’t forget to verify your purchase with a Jewelry Judge consultation. Convenient appointments Book On-Line – walk-ins available at www.jewelryjudgebengordon.com or call 713 961-1432.
Once we have thoroughly cleaned a jewel, we examine it for any changes from its original condition when new. For example, we test the prongs of a mounting to assure that they are secure. We check for sizing changes – a loss of weight could put a lovely engagement ring at risk of slipping off without the wearer knowing it. It is not unusual for the edge of a gemstone to show wear. In many cases such small imperfections can be polished out to restore the original beauty without loss of carat weight.
Metal can become brittle or thin over time, so we also check the shank. Often chips and nicks can be polished out.
All of these issues can affect the value of your jewelry. Certainly, they affect your enjoyment of them. How often do we toss a ring into a drawer because it’s unwearable because of a loose stone or broken prong?
Let the Jewelry Judge do a free condition check to examine your jewelry. Often a simple steam cleaning can bring back former luster. In many cases, we can avoid loss or further damage at no cost to you.
Consult the Jewelry Judge and take advantage of our FREE Cleaning & Condition Check. You won’t be disappointed. Book an Appointment Today!
Why? Just as your doctor would not diagnose or prescribe without an examination, a gemologist needs to identify and authenticate and starting with a sparkling clean jewel is essential for accuracy.
Lotions, perfumes, perspiration and soap scum leave dull film and grit on diamonds or precious gemstones. This is especially true for rings and wedding sets. Cosmetics too leave residue that diminishes the beauty and sparkle of bracelets, earrings and pendants.
We do not charge for the time it takes to clean your jewelry when you arrive. Our view is that every jewel deserves a cleaning and condition check before we perform any other service. You will be able to watch this process and notice the immediate difference in appearance.
Cleaning dissolves and removes dirt and grime, but it takes knowledge and skill to clean jewelry properly. Opals, for example, should never be cleaned in hot steam. And pearls improperly cleaned can be permanently damaged.
Many jewelry appraisers charge extra for the time it takes to clean each piece of jewelry prior to starting the appraisal.
Our practice has always been to provide steam cleaning as a free service to our clients. You benefit from the pleasure of wearing your jewelry with pride.
Consult the Jewelry Judge and take advantage of our FREE Cleaning & Inspection. You won’t be disappointed. Book an Appointment Today!
With 66 years in the jewelry industry that includes, design, manufacturing, distribution, marketing, and retailing, Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon is uniquely qualified to consult and appraise all types of fine jewelry.
As a Master Graduate Gemologist and Independent Appraiser, he approaches each task from the prospective of a scientist whose first task is to identify and authenticate. Only then, when the facts are in, can appropriate values be determined.
Mr. Gordon is a living encyclopedia. He has seen the sputnik designs of the 50s and 60s; the chunky funky 70s and 80s; the bangles, chokers and chains of the 90s; and the millennial modern that is now peppered with man-made diamonds and colored stones.
Whatever the era or style, The Jewelry Judge can help you care for, collect, appreciate and protect your fine jewelry.
“Social and technological influences effect the trends in jewelry throughout history,” Mr. Gordon comments, “but quality of craftsmanship and design are lasting.”
With deep roots in the community, The Jewelry Judge stands as an advocate for his clients. ‘Independent’ means he does not represent any other interest but you. Mr. Gordon consults with both buyers and sellers to assure fair pricing and fully disclosed representation.
Many clients do not know if their jewelry items need an official written appraisal report. For example, if you are selling an item you won’t need to insure it, but you will need to know where to go to obtain a fair price. Often a short and simple consultation will meet your need. We offer a FREE fifteen (15) minute consultation to determine the next step(s). It is important to have a face to face meeting since proper authentication cannot be done from photographs alone.
See what a free 15 minute consultation can do for you.
Is there such thing as environmentally friendly jewelry?
Lab grown diamonds have become increasingly popular, but use huge amounts of fossil fuel energy to create the high pressure and heat conditions that produce these factory made diamonds.
So where else can a person go to find jewelry they would be proud to wear and feel good about doing something for the environment? It may be easier than you think!
Think Retail Showrooms
Many retail jewelers have a separate case in their showrooms for consignment ‘Estate Jewelry.’
The term, Estate Jewelry may sound like ‘dowager’ jewels or like Queen Victoria’s mourning jewelry, but there are many gems (no pun here) to be found. Estate Jewelry is simply ‘pre-owned’ jewelry. Like cars, there are pre-owned lemons and pre-owned fine collectors’ specimens.
“Good design is timeless,” says Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon, “especially if it carries a luxury brand such as Cartier or Tiffany. These tend to be the brands that hold their value.”
Auction sales are a good source of high-end estate jewelry. It’s a good idea to set your maximum price to prevent getting carried away in the emotion and excitement of the sale. We recommend that you preview the items before bidding – it’s best if the auction gallery is local and you can see and touch the items.
Consider Pawn Shops
Pawn shops always have quantities of estate jewelry in inventory i.e. pre-owned. The secret is to look for unique pieces, not those piled up in the glass cases, but ask for any items that may be in their vaults. Use words like ‘quality,’ ‘ vintage,’ ‘classic,’ ‘designer,’ when talking with the proprietor and he/she will hopefully bring out interesting trays of available fine jewelry.
But how do you know what you’re getting and is it priced fairly?
“That’s where I come in,” Ben Gordon smiles. “Reputable retailers will often allow a buyer to get a second opinion before completing the sale.”
Reputable retailers will hold a credit card while the jewelry is out for examination. There may also be a return policy that will allow for a piece to be returned within a specified period. Know these policies BEFORE you commit.
So don’t be afraid of Estate Jewelry – there’s an expert consultant available to help you. And you’ll be helping the environment with your purchase.
The Jewelry Judge responds to urgent requests for a consultation to confirm authenticity and value. In less than one hour, he can weigh, measure, and test diamonds and colored stones; identify period and style; provide historic information; and examine for condition issues.