Tag Archives: Most experienced jewelry appraiser in houston

Why Get Your Jewelry Appraised?


silver colored ring with clear gemstone and white pearl
Photo by Marta Branco on Pexels.com

Have you been procrastinating about getting your jewelry appraised or updating and old appraisal?

Values may be inflated by the retailer on new jewelry, and if it is an older piece values change from year to year with gemstone and precious metal market prices.

 

 

Why and When should you get your jewelry appraised?

  • Insurance companies often INCREASE Premiums on insured jewelry every year.
  • If your past appraisal is 3 or more years old, you may be paying more on your premium than necessary based on the current condition and value.
  • If you are changing insurance companies, they need detailed information.
  • If you are remounting a stone or modifying an item, thus significantly altering its identity and changing its value.
  • If there is volatility in the marketplace which causes severe changes of gemstones and precious metal prices.
  • If you need an appraisal for another use such as a divorce, estate settlement or liquidation.
  • If you are gifting or bequeathing the item.
  • If you are placing the item into a trust.

JJ-Reminders

16-Worth2018The Jewelry Judge frequently mentions the term indemnity. “It’s the main purpose for an insurance replacement appraisal,” he says. “And yet we seldom hear other appraisers use the word.”

What’s indemnity, it is making a consumer whole again in case of loss. “I’ll look at the piece and describe it, to ensure there are no errors or insufficient information that would make it impossible to replace the item with one that is identical or nearly alike, as well as set a proper premium for it,” Ben says. “We ensure the appraisal is complete and adequate, so the customer can be made whole, in the event an insurance claim is made.”

Houston Jewelry Appraiser 67 Years 2019An independent jewelry appraisal “While You Watch” brings:

  • confidence that the buyer received what they paid for!
  • confidence in knowing your jewelry never leaves your sight!
  • confidence in a Master Graduate Gemologist/Appraiser.

That’s what a Jewelry Judge Appraisal Report delivers to every client. Book an Appointment Today!

Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon
5433 Westheimer Rd, Suite 606
Houston, TX 77027
713-961-1432 or www.jewelryjudgebengordon.com

4 Things to Do with Inherited Jewelry

Moms EstateHave you just received your Grandmother’s pendant as a gift or inheritance?

Are you troubled by the emotional significance of this keepsake, but probably won’t wear it as it’s not to your taste?

 

 Here are 4 Things you can do…

  1. Sell it outright to an interested party
  2. Donate it to a charity
  3. Send it to an auction sale
  4. Re-design it and enjoy the memories

In each of the above actions, there is a critical piece of information that can help with the decision.  It is the value of the item.  Emotional value is determined by the recipient, but monetary value is information that requires expertise and knowledge.

Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon helps with information to base decisions upon. 

Call 713 492 – 1432 or click consultation to reserve 15 minutes of free consultation time to determine your best action. 

Houston Jewelry Appraiser Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon - 15 Minutes Why a Free 15 Minute Consultation?

A free consultation points you in the right direction.

For those who which to sell estate jewelry or any fine jewelry or watches,  you’ll learn what market price you might expect and even locate a potential buyer for your item.  If considering a donation, learn what paperwork you’ll need to document its value.  For those selling at auction, find out which auction houses to consider and what to expect.  And for those who wish to create a new design or refresh the look of a vintage piece, Mr. Gordon can advise on resources.  Grandmothers would approve!

Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon - Virtual Appraisal

Fear Free Consultations for All Seasons

Happy Halloween

No matter what the trend, or the season, The Jewelry Judge can consult on your purchase before you buy.

Houston Jewelry Appraiser Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon - Fear Free

Many retailers will hold a credit card while an item is ‘out on approval’ for a few hours while an independent appraiser authenticates and validates the item.  Others will accept a return – be sure to check individual store policies to avoid any surprises and beware of ‘final sale’ items.

The Jewelry Judge offers same day turn-around and walk-in appointments (some wait-time may be necessary).  Call us at 713 961-1432 to verify authenticity and consult before committing to large dollar purchases. Book On-Line Today!

We look forward to a helping celebrate a happy holiday season with you!

Holiday Trends to Watch For — or Watch Out For!

The holiday season is the most important time of the year for retailers.  It’s a time when new trends emerge and when special (and sometimes low end) merchandise hits the stores.  Here are some trends to watch for  – or in some cases, to watch out for.

Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon Mastery Colored Diamonds

Holiday trend 1:  Man-made or lab grown diamonds   

Synthetic diamonds are everywhere now.  Expect to see more of them.  Even DeBeers is branding them and promoting the man-made diamonds available in many colors!

They are promoted as less expensive (as they should be) than earth mined diamonds.  Be sure to know what you’re buying. Some of these are being offered without disclosing that they are man-made.  And branding can make them actually more expensive per carat that earth mined diamonds.

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

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

It’s common for retailers to stock up on more inexpensive lines and feature these with a mix of higher quality items.  The low prices lure the customer and may be too tempting to resist.  Stick to your guns if you value quality and avoid being distracted with ‘lower priced’ merchandise.

Trend PandoraHoliday Trend 3:  Pandora beads may make a seasonal comeback

This was a fashion fad that has faded, but during the holidays, you can expect to see these come back in their many variations.

These are fun for teenagers, but not really fine jewelry as there is no resale value.  Costume jewelry is not an investment.

Holiday Trend 4:  David Yurman candy colored enameled rings

Great fun and clients love the designer name.  Priced under $500, these rings make fun stocking stuffers.  Our preference is for vintage Yurman designs – heftier and worth their weight.  Generally, we wouldn’t appraise an item valued at less than $1000.  Keep in mind that high end brands often have a ‘popular’ line which makes the brand accessible to those with modest budgets.

Trend PaveHoliday Trend 5:  Pave Diamonds  

Our clients know how much we love diamonds!  Not only are no two natural diamonds alike, but no two manufacturers’ designs are alike.  There is great variation in the way diamonds are set that can affect the value.

We recommend examining the mountings under magnification to check for smooth and even prongs, level surfaces and of course, tiny nicks.  Pave diamonds should also be well matched for beauty and value.

_DSC0930Holiday Trend 6: Luxury Watches 

A watch is a timeless gift (couldn’t resist the pun)!  We caution our buyers to especially double check when spending thousands of dollars on a luxury fashion item.  Be sure your retailer is reliable especially if purchasing estate or pre-owned watches.  Even reputable jewelers can make mistakes.

We have found numerous ‘hybrid’ watches that are assembled from various after- market components such as a diamond bezel or replacement crystal faces.  These ‘hybrids’ may be attractive, but they will certainly not be as valuable as an all original  luxury watch.

Whatever your selection for holiday shopping, don’t forget to verify your purchase with a Jewelry Judge consultation. Convenient appointments Book On-Line – walk-ins available at www.jewelryjudgebengordon.com or call 713 961-1432.

Happy Shopping!

Complimentary Condition Check

Houston Jewelry Appraiser Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon VerifyOnce we have thoroughly cleaned a jewel, we examine it for any changes from its original condition when new.  For example, we test the prongs of a mounting to assure that they are secure.  We check for sizing changes – a loss of weight could put a lovely engagement ring at risk of slipping off without the wearer knowing it.  It is not unusual for the edge of a gemstone to show wear.  In many cases such small imperfections can be polished out to restore the original beauty without loss of carat weight.

Metal fatigue can cause cracking
Metal fatigue can cause cracking
A chipped diamond
A chipped diamond under magnification

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Metal can become brittle or thin over time, so we also check the shank.  Often chips and nicks can be polished out.

All of these issues can affect the value of your jewelry.  Certainly, they affect your enjoyment of them.  How often do we toss a ring into a drawer because it’s unwearable because of a loose stone or broken prong?

Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon - Steam Cleaning a RingLet the Jewelry Judge do a free condition check to examine your jewelry.  Often a simple steam cleaning can bring back former luster.  In many cases, we can avoid loss or further damage at no cost to you.

Consult the Jewelry Judge and take advantage of our FREE Cleaning & Condition Check.  You won’t be disappointed. Book an Appointment Today!

Complimentary Cleaning & Inspection

Every Jewelry Judge Consultation and Appraisal begins with a steam cleaning and condition check.

Which one would you rather wear.png
Which one would you rather wear?

Why?  Just as your doctor would not diagnose or prescribe without an examination, a gemologist needs to identify and authenticate and starting with a sparkling clean jewel is essential for accuracy.

Lotions, perfumes, perspiration and soap scum leave dull film and grit on diamonds or precious gemstones.  This is especially true for rings and wedding sets.  Cosmetics too leave residue that diminishes the beauty and sparkle of bracelets, earrings and pendants.

We do not charge for the time it takes to clean your jewelry when you arrive.  Our view is that every jewel deserves a cleaning and condition check before we perform any other service.  You will be able to watch this process and notice the immediate difference in appearance.

Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon - Steam Cleaning a RingCleaning dissolves and removes dirt and grime, but it takes knowledge and skill to clean jewelry properly. Opals, for example, should never be cleaned in hot steam.  And pearls improperly cleaned can be permanently damaged.

Many jewelry appraisers charge extra for the time it takes to clean each piece of jewelry prior to starting the appraisal.

DiaOur practice has always been to provide steam cleaning as a free service to our clients. You benefit from the pleasure of wearing your jewelry with pride.

Consult the Jewelry Judge and take advantage of our FREE Cleaning & Inspection. You won’t be disappointed. Book an Appointment Today!

 

Value This Lab Grown Diamonds

Brian and Leon - Value This

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. 

Visit Value This Radio – Brian and Leon, will blow your mind with their witty and thorough knowledge of everything that you can put a price tag on. Find Value This with Brian and Leon on Facebook.

Watch this VIDEO and Listen to the discussion… Information You Can Trust! 

Want to learn more about purchasing Lab Grown Diamonds?

Here are a few things to READ for more information…

Professional Opinion:

“Lab-grown diamonds provide affordable jewelry and it may be just perfect for your budget right now. But with no resale market for pre-owned lab-grown diamonds once you buy it, wear it and enjoy it.”

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.

Book Appointment  On-Line  or  Call 713-961-1432

No Such Thing as a ‘Certified Diamond’

BenThat 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.

GIA CertA 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.

Diamond Plot
Diamond Plotting Diagram
(courtesy of GIA)

Double-Check for Peace of Mind

Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon Double CheckMany 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!

Houston Jewelry Appraiser - If you love

All you may need is LOVE! – But Jewelry Never Hurts!

Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon Love is in the airVerifyFor the third consecutive year, U.S. consumers are expected to spend more on jewelry than any other Valentine’s Day gift category.

amethyst cutFebruary’s  Birthstone
Amethyst is also used to celebrate the 6th and 17th wedding anniversary.  Learn More Here

johnson 50 necklace2What 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. ”

LoveYoursIf you love jewelry, you’ll love to have us appraise your jewelry!

Show your Heart(s) this Valentine’s Day

DiaJewelry 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.

light performanceMost 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.

BenAs a Master Graduate Gemologist and Appraiser, Ben Gordon, has specialized laboratory photographic equipment that lets newly engaged couples peek into their diamonds by creating an image that captures light.

“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.’

Sepecs

“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.

Click to Book a convenient time to visit the gem lab or call 713.961.1432.

Show your betrothed how the diamond you chose performs,
Get ready to fall in love with your engagement diamond all over again this Valentine’s Day with Hearts and Arrows imaging.

’Hearts and Arrows’ imaging shows in red and blue, how light behaves when a diamond is analyzed. The more hearts and arrows formed means a more reflective diamond.

who_you_gonna_call_jewelry_purchase

 

6 Things to Do Before Buying Jewelry Anywhere!

Holiday2018

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:

  1. Always Research the seller
    AGS-LogoDo 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.
  2. Look Local
    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.
  3. Read the sales fine print
    Review the seller’s privacy policy to see whether they share your email or contact information with third-party organizations.  Carefully read their sales exchange and return policy to ensure that if you’re not happy with what you received, or something comes to you damaged, you will have some recourse.  Do they accept a Return for refund, Exchange or Store Credit?
  4. Request lots of extra pictures
    Detailed PictureWatchesAsk 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.Detailed Picture
  5. 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.
  6. 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.”

For information you can trust, consult the Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon today.

Virtual Appraisal - Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon3

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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We’re Saving Trees!

No Animals Injured! And Now We’re Saving Trees Too!  

Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon - Steam Cleaning a Ring“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.

Mr. Gordon is known as The Jewelry Judge. His gem lab is located in Uptown/Galleria.

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.”

Tango - Rescue Dog
Tango, a rescue from CAP, Houston

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.