Our client removed the jewels from the pouch, and we had a quick intake of breath. Intense colors, lots of sparkle! BUT…
Returning from a trip to Sri Lanka and the Far East, she wanted to know if she had gotten a good deal. Sri Lanka is known for its rubies. She purchased the complete suite from the same source which guaranteed authenticity.
Even in the photo, it is clear why we gasped. Rubies, especially those in these generous sizes, ranging from 2.00 ctw to 5.00 ctw are seldom flawless. Flawless means free from natural inclusions or other distinguishing characteristics. These were perfectly clean, even under the microscope. The color was even.
The Jewelry Judge was certain that these rubies were synthetic, but it was necessary to demonstrate to the client how we came to that conclusion. The surrounding white stones were not diamonds – that alone was a warning sign. These rubies were frankly fake!
Natural rubies are rare, they’re also expensive. Synthetic rubies run approximately 70-90% cheaper than natural rubies.
Our client paid such a low price for the entire suite of jewelry that she should have been suspicious. What was a low price for ‘rubies’ was really a very high price for glass!
“We urge our clients who travel abroad to buy only from trusted sources.” Remember, when travelling outside of the country, there is no Better Business Bureau; no Interstate Commerce Commission; no fraud complaint authority.
When in doubt, check it out! Consult with The Jewelry Judge for peace of mind. Call 713 961-1432 for an appointment to verify before you make an important purchase of jewelry.
Diamond enhancements are treatments done to improve the appearance of the stone. Don’t be fooled into thinking they improve the value of the diamond.
Jewelry fraud can be either blatant or subtle. Blatant fraud is the kind that makes the papers, like a retailer selling CZ and calling it diamond.
But there are subtler frauds, disclosure of enhancements on the appraisal is essential because:
Enhancements lower the value of a diamond. A buyer might be led to believe an enhanced diamond is comparable in value to an untreated diamond of similar appearance, but that is not the case.
This is especially true for fancy colored diamonds, as natural fancies have many times the value of color-treated fancies. Some treatments are not permanent. A buyer may not be informed of this or may not understand the consequences.
If a fracture filling deteriorates, the fracture will reappear. This is due to inherent vice and is not “damage” for which the insurer is liable.
Color-treated diamonds can be affected by various conditions. For example, color produced by irradiation may change if the stone is subjected to high heat, as from a jeweler’s torch. Such a change is not “damage” for which the insurer is liable.
Enhancement can disguise a flaw but not eliminate it. Filling a fracture with foreign material does not make the stone solid diamond. If treatments are not disclosed, a settlement could result in gross overpayment.
A diamond could break because a fracture filling failed. If the treatment were not disclosed, the insurer could pay a claim that wasn’t an insured loss at all—just a treatment that vaporized!
What about an Insurance cash settlement? Consumers often assume that, in the event of a claim, they will get the insured value in cash—and if that value is inflated, they’ll even come out ahead.
Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon explains “That this is not the case! In a cash settlement, you would receive the amount that it would cost the insurer to replace the jewelry at time of loss, and that cost is based on the jewelry itself, as described in the appraisal, not on the possibly inflated valuation.
It’s important to know whether the insurance company even offers cash settlements. Cash is an option most insureds expect, but may not think to ask about until a loss occurs. Typical insurers will only repair or replace the jewelry, and that repair/replace business will likely go to a jeweler who has previously agreed to recommend this insurer to the store’s customers.
Consult the Jewelry Judge for all the answers to your questions!
This week, The Jewelry Judge appraised multiple Crown of Light diamonds. Crown of Light is a patented specialty cut requiring particular knowledge to appraise. Unlike a traditional round diamond with 58 facets, Crown of Light diamonds have 90 facets. In profile the unique dome that distinguishes a Crown of Light is clearly visible.
There are other differences besides the faceting. Because of his experience with them, Ben Gordon has become the most sought-after appraiser in Texas.
Whether your diamond is a Crown of Light or any other cut such as emerald, pear, cushion, oval, or heart shaped, The Jewelry Judge can provide insurance, estate appraisals and valuations for resale as well.
To learn more about your diamonds, call The Jewelry Judge at 713 301 0701 or schedule a convenient time from his website by clicking here.
In person and virtual online appointments are available. Knowledge You Can Trust
It’s difficult to ‘time’ any market, but the past week’s increase in gold prices, now over $2000. May be signaling an opportunity to Spring clean. Look for broken chains, damaged and no longer worn jewelry to take advantage of the upward trend and meet with Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon to know what to expect if you sell.
Unlock hidden value now while the upward trend continues. Gold recently has been over $2000 an ounce, but dealers don’t pay 100% of that when they buy. Visit with Ben Gordon, The Jewelry Judge to find out just what you might receive if you sold now.
Ben’s passion for jewelry combined with his enthusiasm in educating our clients is a winning combination. His dedication to detail in documenting your valuables will ensure that should you need to make an insurance claim, your carrier will have all of the information needed.
Clients not only leave his gem lab with proper documentation but they leave satisfied and confident that they have received what they needed and expected as well as being more educated about the history and specifics of their fine jewelry.
The Jewelry Judge’s purpose is to provide you with the finest quality appraisals and services in accordance with the high ethical standards expected by the jewelry appraisal industry. We invite you to view videos throughout our website to further enhance your jewelry and gemstone knowledge.
Pre or post-purchase consultation of watches, diamond, ruby, emerald, sapphire and many other gemstones and jewelry is available, including private purchases and internet buying. Ben provides service to the greater Houston, Texas area, in-person or by Virtual sessions via Zoom, Skype or Facetime. Photomicrographs are also available to accompany the plots of your diamonds.
For estate collections of 11 or more Ben can appraise your watches, diamonds, gold, coloured gemstones and fine jewelry in the privacy of his gem lab, we can work with your scheduling needs, and in most cases, print the documents immediately.
Ben takes appointments at his secure gem lab location in 5433 Westheimer Rd. Suite 606 Houston, Texas 77056.
Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon hopes you will never need to file an insurance claim for damaged, lost or stolen jewelry. Insurance companies may have varying claims procedures but our trusted source for this post is Jewelers’ Mutual insurance Company.
Jewelers’ Mutual offers a free Guide to Jewelry Insurance and free no obligation quotes. Just click on the hypertext to go directly to easy-to-read explanations. If questions should arise, The Jewelry Judge is available to help walk you through what you need to know. Ben Gordon does not sell jewelry insurance, but his industry knowledge can help a jewelry owner understand what is covered and how much insurance is needed to protect your jewelry.
Not all jewelry needs insurance. Ben Gordon can sort through your items to determine which among them should be a priority for insurance purposes. His appraisal reports meet the insurer’s criteria for documenting value.
Keeping your jewelry safe is one of our goals at The Jewelry Judge. We can help determine how much coverage you’ll need. He’s easy to reach at 713 961-1432.
Does your diamond ring spin around on your finger? Did you loose weight recently? There is more than one solution to making a ring smaller.
These ring sizing solutions minimize the chance that the same ring that was made smaller, may need to be sized up later. Take pregnancy for instance – in nine months, a lady’s fingers may return to pre-pregnancy size. Click the link for excellent tips and some dos and don’ts.
Visit Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon before making a permanent change to your jewelry. One way to protect its value is to first “do no harm.” Mr. Gordon can advise of alternatives to consider when modifying or repairing any jewelry item.
Once you see how easy it is, you’ll never put a band-aid on a ring again.
Most of the news has been negative lately. But there is a ray of light for jewelry owners who want to sell their little worn jewelry or broken and damaged chains. Gold prices have reached more than $1940 per troy ounce, an increase of more than 27 percent in 2020 alone.
Jewelry appraiser and Graduate Gemologist Ben Gordon reports he is now seeing more clients interested in learning what their items are worth if they should need to sell to raise money in these challenging financial times.
Much of the gold that is sold ends up in the melting pot somewhere, but Mr. Gordon tells his clients if there is something of extraordinary value that should be rescued or perhaps even sold at auction or directly to a jewelry dealer.
It is certainly worthwhile so spend a few dollars ($$) to learn who will pay the best price to a seller. Especially when that seller could potentially receive thousands of dollars ($$$$) for their tangled jewelry.
“Know what you should expect as a fair price, before you sell,” the Jewelry Judge recommends. “And be aware of current gold pricing. We’re here to help achieve the best outcome for our clients.”
Virtual online and in person consultations are available by appointment.
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 more than $1,900 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
As 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.
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”
March 11, 2020 – Paulete GW
“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!”
March 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!”
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.
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).
Most 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 email@example.com for details on Crown of Light consultations.
How Can We Consult Online?
We 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
The hottest topic in the jewelry industry is the controversy over Man-Made vs Earth Mined Diamonds. Thanks go out to Value This with Brian and Leon for talking with the Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon on the subject of Lab-Grown synthetic diamonds.
That may sound harsh, especially with jewelry stores everywhere offering certified diamonds. So, what’s up with that?
“We are not the compliance police,” asserts Mr. Gordon, “ but the term ‘Certified, or Certificated’ is old school marketing.” The term, ‘Certificate’ carried too many different meanings and the jewelry industry itself issued guidelines to help standardize the terminology for describing diamonds and gemstones. “Technically, any retailer can create a Certificate, but only gem labs create Grading Reports,” The Jewelry Judge explains.
A big part of the Jewelry Judge mission is education, so clarity (no pun here) is important to Mr. Gordon. Diamonds with Grading Reports have undergone scientific analysis by qualified professionals who analyse, report and grade the qualities of each gemstone. There will be a description for each of the four C’s, i.e., Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat weight. There will also be additional language to describe fluorescence, color enhancement, fracture filling or heat treatments.
Store receipts and typical Certificates have little to no meaning because they do not go far enough to completely describe a diamond. “Don’t mix up the terms,” the Judge warns.
Diamonds with a laboratory Grading Report may be priced slightly higher than non-graded diamonds because of the extra step of having the gemological laboratory test them. A jeweler may pass this cost along to the buyer.
How do I Get a Laboratory Grading Report?
“Each appraisal we create comes with a grading report,” Mr. Gordon explains. A laboratory grading report is for analysis and identification only. “Our testing is similar to the testing that is done at the gem labs, but our purpose is to arrive at a valuation. We take the report one step further by adding current market value.” A diamond Grading Report’s details should never change, (unless the stone is damaged or altered), but appraisal values will certainly change with market conditions.
“If your diamond did not come with a Grading Report, don’t worry,” assures Ben. For a service fee, important stones can be sent to a reputable lab to obtain a Grading Report. The GIA, Gemological Institute of America and AGS (American Gem Society) are two reputable gem labs based in the US. There are other laboratories around the world, but they have not earned the level of trust of the US based gem labs.
Double-Check for Peace of Mind
“Many of the consultations we do are to confirm laboratory Grading Reports,” Mr. Gordon explains. “And sometimes we find that the grading report that comes with a diamond, does not match.” It’s always best to ‘trust but verify’ especially with new purchases. In some cases, an honest mistake has been made, in others, there may be a suspicion of fraud.
The Jewelry Judge can identify discrepancies and offer suggestions for resolution. “We have saved or recovered thousands of dollars for our clients, by helping them to document a claim,” Mr. Gordon added.
Click here to schedule a visit with The Jewelry Judge. Verify a laboratory grading report, retrieve a lost one, or learn current values of your precious jewelry or loose diamonds. The peace of mind you’ll gain, as well as “Information You Can Trust” is worth an hour of your time. Consult the most experienced Houston Jewelry Appraiser!
Salt and pepper diamonds are making an entrance this season.
Traditionally diamonds have been valued for their 4Cs, of which a key characteristic is clarity – or lack of inclusions, sometimes described as flaws.
Salt and pepper diamonds are for an unconventional bride or jewelry collector. Their inclusions are described as features and they bring a unique character to the diamond.
“What we see here, is the focus on the design, rather than the gemstone,” Mr. Gordon observes. “It’s not about quality, but more about price and style.” Beauty is where we find it. Taste is personal.
Of course, they’re still true diamonds. In fact, one way to authenticate an earth mined diamond is to look for internal characteristics. With this new trend, these characteristics are considered desirable.
“Well, grins Ben Gordon, aka The Jewelry Judge, “I’ve made my bread and butter for over 65 years valuing diamonds. In some ways, they make my job easier. The good news is, so far at least, they are not fakes masquerading as real diamonds.”
“It’s my job to stay up to date with the industry,” says The Jewelry Judge, “I don’t form a personal opinion; I apply objective testing and my knowledge to identify, evaluate, and value jewelry, gemstones and watches, to provide information that can be trusted as fact.”
“Some might say that the science of appraising takes away from the romance, but for me, I can never satisfy my curiosity to peer inside a diamond. For me, diamonds of any kind are a feast!”
For the third consecutive year, U.S. consumers are expected to spend more on jewelry than any other Valentine’s Day gift category.
Amethyst is also used to celebrate the 6th and 17th wedding anniversary. Learn More Here
What 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. ”
Jewelry industry pros say that Cut is the most important of the famous 4 C’s (Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat). A diamond’s cut is what determines how your precious stone will perform ‘Hearts and Arrows’ imaging of a diamond reveals symmetry of cut and shows how the light bounces within the stone.
No two diamonds will perform alike; each facet reflects light and bounces it around internally to varying degrees.
Most newly engaged couples learn about their diamonds from the retailer who sold it to them. But the details of the sale merely touch the surface so to speak. ‘Hearts and Arrows’ imaging reveals what happens to light inside the diamond.
“The term ‘Performance,’ Mr. Gordon adds, refers specifically to how a stone reflects light. Not everyone is interested in the ‘internals’ or science of their diamond” Mr. Gordon comments, “but for those who are, a ‘Hearts and Arrows” performance report will show the quality of a diamond’s Cut.”
Will My Diamond be Affected by Testing?
It’s important to know that the instruments used in his diamond grading lab are non-invasive. Hearts and Arrows performance testing is for loose diamonds only. Light is projected onto a loose diamond and it creates an image that shows where the light is reflected and where it ‘escapes.’
“Quite a lot of information can be discovered even when a stone is in its mounting. Mr. Gordon explains. We encourage buyers to have a loose stone analysed, prior to mounting or placing it in its setting to obtain the most detail.”
Online reviewers often describe their visits to The Jewelry Judge as an ‘awesome experience,’ ‘learning experience,’ ‘memorable experience.’ Experiences happen daily in the gem lab.
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.”
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.
The 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.
When buying jewelry (whether online, which has become too convenient, or in-store) always proceed with caution and make sure your purchase is properly described and arrives in your hands with the proper documentation and treatment declarations.
Regardless of where you are purchasing jewelry, you will want to consider these 6 things before you click that “purchase” button:
Always Research the seller
Do your due diligence on the seller first. Read other buyers’ comments or reviews, to see whether the seller has a reputation for being ethical, fair, and easy to work with. Verify association with national organizations like the American Gem Society (this is a must)! The American Gem Society is the country’s preeminent jewelry trade organization dedicated to consumer protection. Which means, if you’re looking to buy jewelry, you just clicked on the right website.
The same applies to local jewelry stores, with the addition that an independent jeweler is preferred to a big box retailer chain. See if the local jeweler has or can get the same or similar piece and match the price of the online retailer. Handling disputes after the sale will always be easier dealing with a local jeweler.
Read the sales fine print
Request lots of extra pictures
Ask the seller for detailed pictures and descriptions to ensure the quality of the jewelry you’re purchasing. Especially for high-end watches! If the seller claims the piece is signed or the metal is a certain quality, request a photo of the signature or metal purity stamp on the piece. NOTE: You can also ask that the piece be sent to the Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon for review before the purchase is charged.
Make sure it’s packaged properly
The most common cause of damage to jewelry are Scratches! So make sure that your piece is packaged carefully and tightly, so it cannot be easily tossed around in transit. Request that the seller pack each individual item in a soft cloth pouch that can be sealed or tied shut so the piece can’t come loose during shipping. Additionally, twisting and bending of semi-rigid chains or other jewelry pieces may cause permanent damage. Pay extra if needed to ensure that your item is shipped in a box that is large enough.
Verify your insurance coverage
When you are purchasing expensive diamonds, gemstones, and jewelry with precious metals, there is no guarantee that your existing homeowners policy will provide sufficient protection if the piece is lost, damaged, or stolen. Before buying a piece, contact your agent to verify the coverage amounts you have in place. Consider speaking with an insurance company specializing in jewelry, we can recommend a few. Consider adding automatic coverage for newly acquired jewelry to ensure that your purchase is protected from the moment you click “buy.”
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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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.
How valuable is your jewelry?
If 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.
How often do you wear these items?
If 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.
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.
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.
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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How do I know if I’ve paid too much?
Cost is on everyone’s mind these days. And when purchasing an expensive piece of jewelry, it’s a challenge to comparison shop – especially if purchasing from the Internet – because you cannot see and touch the item before it is delivered. And under the bright lights of a jewelry showroom, EVERY gemstone becomes a seduction! To make it more difficult, sales persons often speak in terms of a jewelry investment!
Paid too much for a diamond?
Let’s face it, most of us do not buy jewelry as an investment. We buy it as adornment, symbols of love and affection, to celebrate an event, and to establish status. Whatever the reason, it’s not likely to be for investment purposes. (Investments can/do loose value too!)
To verify that a price is fair in today’s market, it’s important to obtain an independent valuation. The retailer who sells jewelry has a stake in the sale. If the retailer’s buying from an estate, there is a stake in this too.
An independent appraiser works only for you. His stake is his reputation. It’s important to assure fair pricing when buying OR selling jewelry, to obtain an objective opinion. For peace of mind, a independent opinion will assure that you do not over- pay for a diamond or for the insurance to protect it.
Paying too much for insurance?
Over the years, paying too much for insurance can really add up. Assume you’ve been insuring two diamond rings for $10,000 each for a total of $20,000.
Replacement value of the rings by an independent jewelry appraiser may value them at $14,500. The insurance company doesn’t care that you have over insured by $5,500. In fact your insurance company probably raises your premium automatically each year by 5 – 10 percent assuming the replacement value will increase too. But actually, precious metals have only kept pace with inflation over the last 10 years which has been around 2 percent. And diamonds while they have held their value, only the most rare, largest and highest quality stones have significantly appreciated.
Meanwhile, your insurance premium might be higher each year. If you held that policy for only ten years, you would have likely over paid by $1000. The cost of a nice pair of earrings!
While the Jewelry Judge does not sell insurance, he does consult on insurance needs along with accurate and independent appraisals. Verify the value of your jewelry periodically to assure you are paying a fair price for protection. Book an Appointment Today!
LOCAL HOUSTON PROFESSIONAL CONTINUES COMMITMENT TO CONSUMER PROTECTION WITH JEWELRY INDUSTRY RE-CERTIFICATION
Oct. 6, 2018 – Houston, TX – Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon of Texas Independent Jewelry Appraisers has successfully completed the annual American Gem Society (AGS) re-certification exam. This mandatory exam was developed to maintain professional credentials, which demonstrates their ongoing commitment to the Society’s mission of consumer protection through continued education and upholding the highest ethical standards.
“The foundation that the American Gem Society stands upon is comprised of our educational programs and credentials,” said John Carter, CGA, president of the American Gem Society Board of Directors. “It’s the way that we differentiate our members from the rest of the trade and completing the process is no small task.
Only one in twenty retail jewelers have chosen to meet the exacting standards required for membership. When purchasing fine jewelry, shop with confidence by visiting a credentialed American Gem Society jeweler. You can find an American Gem Society jeweler at ags.org/findajeweler. For more information regarding the American Gem Society, please call 866.805.6500 or visit the AGS website at www.americangemsociety.org.
The American Gem Society was founded in 1934 by Robert M. Shipley, as a nonprofit trade association dedicated to promoting a high standard of ethics, continuous education, and consumer protection within the jewelry industry.
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.
Lab-grown diamonds currently have no established resale market. This means they will not hold their value.
Natural mined diamonds have a resale market for pre-owned diamonds, whether auctions, dealers, or wholesale buyers.
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.
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.
The future of the natural earth mined diamond market will be in larger size diamonds, fancy colored and grading report certified diamonds.
“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.”
Lab-grown (Synthetic) diamonds are here to stay and will only become more widespread in the retail jewelry market. These lab-grown diamonds are virtually indistinguishable from natural diamond and will fool pretty much every conventional diamond testing method.
A lab-grown diamond is not an imitation or fake. A Lab-grown diamond is made of the same material as a natural earth diamond, with the same physical properties and crystal structure. It has the same hardness, the same refractive index, and many of the same visible features. A Lab-grown diamond is a diamond produced inside of a factory instead of deep in the earth over millions of years ago.
Specialized Knowledge and Testing Technology
Lab-grown diamonds are beautiful, the colorless, high clarity material being made is identical to the best quality natural diamonds and is currently about half the cost.. While the lab growth process may occasionally leave some microscopic indications that the diamond is man-made, , often without specialized knowledge, gemologists are challenged to identify it as a synthetic without removing the diamond or sending it to GIA or AGS for a grading report. The Jewelry Judge stays current with the technology and identification procedures.
“As an appraiser I do not debate the merits of lab-grown versus natural earth mined diamonds. Lab-grown diamonds are here to stay, and the mass production of factory lab-grown diamonds is changing the jewelry industry.”
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.
Examination: We precisely examine the property to be included in the appraisal report while testing gemstones, metal properties, obtaining measurements and taking photographs. The information on the items is then recorded in preparation for research and the final appraisal report.
Research: Research time is the time taken to compile test results to identify the gemstones, calculate weights and determine grades. Time is also taken to locate comparable items, determine manufacture dates, investigate retail markets and consult experts, as necessary. Values calculated for appraisals are based on comparable sales analysis for each item.
Report: All appraisal reports are printed and bound. A PDF copy and photographs are emailed to client for backup purposes. Included in the report is a cover letter detailing the process taken and definition of values used; the jewelry, gemstone or watch descriptions with photographs and value conclusions, diamond grading definition page (where needed), references and instruments page along with the appraiser’s qualifications.
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