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
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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.