Tag Archives: Houston Jewelry Appraisal

The Gold Rush 2020

Houston Jewelry Appraiser Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon - Prospecting for Gold 2020We love prospecting for gold!

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.

We can help you turn gold into cash!

Gold Jewelry
See the Jewelry Judge

Already Using Lots of Screen Time?

Schedule a Live Online Visit with The Jewelry Judge!

Ring1Jewelry 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?

Houston Jewelry Appraiser Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon - Online Appraisal“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.

 

 

Hard Facts – Hard Assets – Hard Decisions

AquamarineringIn 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.

aquamarinering3When 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 713 961-1432Book Appointment On-Line

A Chance to Brag Just a Little… and to Add our Thanks

Houston Jewelry Appraiser 67 Years 2019As a small business the Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon is always wondering how to reach new clients to keep our business growing.  In our 67 years’ experience, we find that there is nothing better than ‘word of mouth’ but possibly equally powerful are online reviews.

 

A Busy Week for Us.

Our appointments ran a little longer than usual with several walk-ins and individuals who brought in trays and boxes to be separated and categorized. We did our best to accommodate all without rushing anyone. We’d like to share the Five Star comments below. We cannot think of a better way to describe who we are and what we do.  We especially thank those who took the time to give us valuable feedback.

Houston Jewelry Appraiser Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon - Online Appraisal

March 10, 2020 – Gail B

Experienced and Professional Jewelry Appraisal

“I made my appointment with Mr Gordon online. I was completely impressed with the professional service I experienced with my jewelry appraisal. I had 3 items to appraise for insurance purposes. I don’t recommend bringing more than 3 items if you are in a hurry. Mr Gordon will expertly examine each and every piece and explain the process in detail if you require details. He does not rush! While my appointment took 2 hrs I respected the care and courtesy he devoted to my treasures. Special thanks to Linda”

 

2020 BBB Winner_Interim2March 11, 2020 – Paulete GW

Excellent service

“Mr and Mrs Gordon are nothing short of real jewels! They are professional experts and valuable assets to more than just the jewelry world but to the community!”

 

laserinscription- GIAMarch 13, 2020 – D.N.

Professional, Class Act

He went over each specification and let us look at the GIA inscription on the the diamond.

Very confident in his skills. He’s been doing this for 67 years!”

 

To read more comments about how we work and what our clients think of our services, click the Review Tab at our appointment booking link on our website.

Online Consultations for Crown of Light Appraisals via Facebook or Skype

Did you splurge on a Crown of Light jewelry purchase while on your last vacation?  Now that you have returned home, it’s time to consider protecting your purchase.

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Protect your Purchase with a Written Insurance Appraisal

The Jewelry Judge does not sell insurance, but he does specialize in providing the documents required by insurers to verify the value of a Crown of Light purchase.  He can also guide you on what type(s) of insurance to consider (and what types to avoid).

CrownofLight-greybackgroundMost US retailers are not familiar with the special design of the patented Crown of Light diamond cut.  Instead of the 58 facets of the traditional round brilliant cut diamond, Crown of Light round diamonds have 90 facets. There are other differences as well that are identified during a Jewelry Judge Crown of Light valuation.

Privacy, Convenience and Time Savings Too!

Mr. Gordon will consult in the privacy of your home or office via FaceTime or Skype.    Have the serial number and the written GIA diamond grading report for your purchase ready when you call 713 961-1432 to set up your online appointment.  Or email bgordon@jewelryjudge.net for details on Crown of Light consultations.

How Can We Consult Online?

Houston Jewelry Appraiser - On-Linel Appraisal - Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon

COLcouture-3We verify that you are in possession of the Crown of Light jewelry while speaking with you online.  Before our ‘virtual’ appointment, you provide us the information on your purchase receipt. At the conclusion of the appointment, Master Graduate Gemologist Ben Gordon will provide a written digital appraisal report via email (pdf files and photos).

You can easily forward these to your insurer and print as many copies as you need for your own records.

A virtual online consultation represents a savings. When you print your written report at home, you save time and travel inconvenience.  Learn more about Insurance Appraisals for Crown of Light Diamonds by calling The Jewelry Judge at 713 961-1432 or emailing bgordon@jewelryjudge.net.

Where to Sell Gold Jewelry in Houston?

Gold JewelryWith the current price of gold upwards of $1600 per troy ounce, gold jewelry sellers are back.

Houston’s Jewelry Judge does 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.”

Houston Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon - Consultation

Breaking the Gold Code: 22K 18K 14K 10K

Houston Jewelry Appraiser Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon - Gold ServiceA 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.

karat
24 possible karats in gold.

• 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.

If in doubt about what you own, why not check it out? – Book an Appointment Today!  Identification of gold content and weight is the first step in valuing any jewelry item.

Weighing and testing services provide you with information you can trust before you sell your gold jewelry.

Gold TestingEveryone 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 Judge does 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.

 

 

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!

Holiday Trends to Watch For — or Watch Out For!

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.

Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon Mastery Colored Diamonds

Holiday trend 1:  Man-made or lab grown diamonds   

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.

gold beaded necklaces on gold jewelry box
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Holiday Trend 2: Lower end/lesser quality/inexpensive trinkets 

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.

Trend PandoraHoliday 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.

Holiday Trend 4:  David Yurman candy colored enameled rings

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.

Trend PaveHoliday 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.

_DSC0930Holiday 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.

Happy Shopping!

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!

 

Where to Buy Environmentally Friendly Jewelry

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.”

Houston Jewelry Appraiser - Heritage Auctions - NAJA Auctions

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.

On Line Purchases

And of course, the Internet has numerous sites where estate jewelry can be found.  Be sure to read the return policy before purchasing.

Trust but Verify: Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon Double Check

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.

Houston Jewelry Appraiser Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon Verify

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.