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!
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!
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. ”
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.
No Animals Injured! And Now We’re Saving Trees Too!
“Our appraisals are non-invasive. We clean, measure, weigh, test and photograph – all without injuring any sentient being, client or gemstone!”
Few clients realize that the feature gemstone in a ring or pendant can be measured without removing it from its mounting.
“That’s where the skill comes in,” explains Master Graduate Gemologist and Appraiser, Ben Gordon. “Accurate measurements require excellent equipment and detailed calculations. Our clients are relieved to learn that like a doctor, our first mission is to “Do no harm.”
Yes, better living through technology! Our appraisal reports are sent as digital files that include photographs. We save paper and our clients receive the information they need to protect their fine jewelry.
Insurance companies recommend updating a jewelry appraisal every three to five years. The Jewelry Judge keeps digital archives that help with this process.
“In fact, Mr. Gordon reports, most insurance premiums increase steadily year after year – sometimes faster than the appreciated value of the item insured.”
This makes it important to keep the appraisals updated to avoid paying too much for protection. And if indeed, the value of an item has increased, then adequate coverage is assured. An appraisal appointment may take as little as thirty minutes.
Protecting animals and saving trees may not be a reason to obtain a jewelry appraisal, but it’s nice to know that this appraiser is environmentally conscious and kind, too.