Tag Archives: grading reports

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

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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!

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

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?

jj-64years

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

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