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.
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.
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!
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. ”
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.
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
Friend us on Facebook , and keep up to date on all the events and posts!
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.