Tag Archives: Houston Appraiser

Why Get Your Jewelry Appraised?


silver colored ring with clear gemstone and white pearl
Photo by Marta Branco on Pexels.com

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.

JJ-Reminders

16-Worth2018The 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.”

Houston Jewelry Appraiser 67 Years 2019An 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.

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

4 Things to Do with Inherited Jewelry

Moms EstateHave 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…

  1. Sell it outright to an interested party
  2. Donate it to a charity
  3. Send it to an auction sale
  4. 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.

Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon helps with information to base decisions upon. 

Call 713 492 – 1432 or click consultation to reserve 15 minutes of free consultation time to determine your best action. 

Houston Jewelry Appraiser Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon - 15 Minutes 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!

Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon - Virtual Appraisal

Fear Free Consultations for All Seasons

Happy Halloween

No matter what the trend, or the season, The Jewelry Judge can consult on your purchase before you buy.

Houston Jewelry Appraiser Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon - Fear Free

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!

Complimentary Condition Check

Houston Jewelry Appraiser Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon VerifyOnce 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 fatigue can cause cracking
Metal fatigue can cause cracking
A chipped diamond
A chipped diamond under magnification

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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?

Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon - Steam Cleaning a RingLet 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!

Complimentary Cleaning & Inspection

Every Jewelry Judge Consultation and Appraisal begins with a steam cleaning and condition check.

Which one would you rather wear.png
Which one would you rather wear?

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.

Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon - Steam Cleaning a RingCleaning 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.

DiaOur 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!

 

All you may need is LOVE! – But Jewelry Never Hurts!

Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon Love is in the airVerifyFor the third consecutive year, U.S. consumers are expected to spend more on jewelry than any other Valentine’s Day gift category.

amethyst cutFebruary’s  Birthstone
Amethyst is also used to celebrate the 6th and 17th wedding anniversary.  Learn More Here

johnson 50 necklace2What does this appraiser think about love and jewelry?  

 

“Well, grins Ben Gordon, aka The Jewelry Judge,   “Some might say that the science of appraising takes away from the romance, but for me, every piece of jewelry is a love affair.” says The Jewelry Judge, “Jewelry is not merely adornment. It is family history, emotional attachments and important memories. ”

LoveYoursIf you love jewelry, you’ll love to have us appraise your jewelry!

Estate Valuations: Relieving a Burden

Houston Jewelry Appraiser - If you lovePaying it Forward

Recently a gentleman in his seventies came into our gem lab.
He brought a few pieces of jewelry he had given his wife over the years.
He informed us, “This is part of our estate even though it sits in our safe deposit box at the bank, I need to start an inventory and get values for our kids.”

Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon - Houston Jewelry Appraisal - While You Watch

When we asked why, he responded,
“Why put them through the trouble when we pass on? They’ll be busy enough with memorial details and visiting relatives.”

What a thoughtful act of love and kindness. While he and his wife are in good health and look forward to many years, they are planning ahead.

We finished the estate appraisals in an afternoon.

Within a week we heard from him again. He brought in the remaining contents of the safe deposit box. He now has a full inventory with details and thanked us for the peace of mind.

Safe-Deposit-BoxesThe cost of an estate appraisal can be based upon the number of items OR the amount of time depending upon the preference of the owner.

This head of the family is taking one burden off the shoulders of his heirs.

That’s what we call ‘paying it forward.’ We appreciate clients like this. His heirs will thank him too.

Houston Jewelry Appraiser Feb 3- 5 Star Review Google

 

Here is where to keep your jewelry safe!

If you wish to keep your precious and fine jewelry away from burglars, fire or natural disaster, here are four things to consider. Determine where to store them, whether in a bank safety deposit box or an in-home safe.

  1. How valuable is your jewelry?
    Safe-Deposit-BoxesIf jewelry items have family memories, are irreplaceable or are very valuable, such as expensive jewelry or family heirlooms, you want to keep them in a bank safe/safety-deposit box.
    If they are not as valuable, has no sentimental value or can be easily replaced, an in-home safe is probably good enough.
  2. How often do you wear these items?
    SafeIf you only wear your fine jewelry, on special occasions, a bank safe works well.
    If you wear them nearly every day or at least once a week, then a good in-home safe is a better choice.
  3. Planning a trip or vacation?
    If you have plans to be away from home for 30 days or more, be sure to put all of your valuables in a bank safe-deposit box.
    For shorter periods an in-home safe is fine.
  4. How secure does your in-home safe need to be?
    An in-home safe should be tool and torch resistant (TL-30/TR-30) with a rating of 30 minutes or more. It should also be too heavy for a burglar to carry or be bolted securely to the floor of your home.

If you need advice about where to store your fine jewelry, contact the Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon today.

Virtual Appraisal - Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon3

With our NEW Service “Virtual Jewelry Appraisal” you can you can get a value for your jewelry without having to leave your home. Call us and we will setup a Skype or Face-Time session for a consultation. Information you can trust to place a value on your valuables. Book Appointment  On-Line  or  Call 713-961-1432

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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

The Jewelry Judge – Identifying Pearls

Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon - Pearl IDPearl is the Birthstone for June and the 30th wedding anniversary. The Jewelry Judge shares his knowledge and experience with clients everyday.

How do you tell the difference between a natural pearl and its cultured cousins?

Do you know the difference between freshwater cultured pearls and Japanese Akoya?

Pear Necklace

The most valuable cultured pearls are saltwater pearls that originate from oysters of the Pinctada family and include Akoya, Tahitian and South Sea varieties.  They are prized for their nacre, the iridescent outer layer of the pearl, and satiny luster.

Pinctada fucata is the species of oyster used by Kokichi Mikimoto, the Japanese pearl farmer and entrepreneur credited with creating the first cultured pearl.

OysterCultured pearls are created by taking a spherical bead nucleus, inserting it into the oyster to provide a catalyst around which the nacre grows, forming a pearl. If a bead nucleus is present when looking down the drill hole, this is confirmation of a cultured origin.

Pearl StrandsChina uses mussels in farming the freshwater cultured pearls they produce in large quantities. Freshwater pearls are usually more affordable than saltwater cultured pearls and they are available in a wide range of prices, shapes, sizes and colors. Tissue-nucleated freshwater pearls are mainly baroque with some variations while bead-nucleated pearls are mostly semi-round to round.

There are many pearl look-a-likes (imitations) on the market including plastic, shell-coated beads, mother-of-pearl beads and even glass beads that contain ground fish scales called ‘essence d’orient’.

Identifying Pearls:

  1. Rub the pearl across your front tooth, it should feel gritty, not smooth.
  2. Rub two pearls of a strand together, once again they should feel gritty, not smooth.
  3. Evaluate the drill hole. The pearl’s drilled hole is a smooth cross cut, while the faux bead will have a punched out appearance.
  4. Cultured pearls are not perfect in appearance. Faux beads are perfectly round and smooth without defects.
  5. Over time paint chips may be noted as faux beads age.
  6. Weight of cultured pearls is heavier than faux beads.

 

The sizes of cultured akoyas overlap those of freshwater pearls, but the superior luster and surface quality of akoyas will stand out when compared to freshwater pearls.

Caution:

  1. Be on the lookout for treatments that are used to enhance color. Inexpensive freshwater cultured pearls may be dyed black to imitate Tahitians or dyed gold to simulate South Sea golden pearls.
  2. Inspect the exterior surface of the pearl for concentrations of dye, or peer down the drill hole to determine if dyed after drilling.
  3. Sometimes lighter-colored Tahitians may be dyed or the bead nucleus irradiated so the pearl appears black.

Identifying pearl types and treatments can be a complex task.
See the Judge and he will share his expertise during a consultation.