Jewelry Appraisals – How Much is My Diamond Jewelry Really Worth?

Jewelry Appraisals / Grading Certificates and Insurance Appraisals are sometimes sought by people wanting to understand what quality of diamonds they have and to also get some idea of price for insurance purposes. However, they bear little resemblance to the second hand prices and the real characteristics of the diamonds.

Obtaining a jewelers grading certificate or insurance appraisal costs money, anything up to $100 for a printed appraisal. Think twice about paying this amount of money for an approximation, as it won’t help greatly in selling your items. A verbal appraisal is much cheaper and can be free, but WP Diamonds cannot rely on this information to provide you with an accurate price either.

Part 1 – The WP Diamonds Study Into Jewelers Grading Certificates

Our study highlights how grading certificates provided to consumers often contain optimistic appraisals of diamond color and clarity.
NEW YORK, N.Y. (8/15/13)–When consumers buy diamonds, they often gain a sense of confidence and security from the grading certificates provided by jewelers. But a new study by WP Diamonds, one of the world’s preeminent buyers of second-hand diamonds, quantifies the extent to which such appraisals tend to overestimate the color and clarity of the stones.

“In terms of clarity, we found that the appraisals graded an average of 1.3 grades higher than the grade determined by our evaluation team, which relies on internationally recognized standards set by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA)”,” said Matthew Howe, General Manager of WP Diamonds. ““Our experts also found that the color grades in these appraisals were approximately 1.9 grades higher than the GIA equivalent.””

The WP Diamonds study, which was conducted during the second quarter of 2013, involved 220 evaluations by the Company’s graders. For consumers, the takeaway message is clear: ““Optimistic grading certificates from jewelers are one thing, but when it comes to the returns consumers stand to receive in the second-hand diamond market when they sell diamonds, what truly matters is the actual color and clarity of the stone as determined by a recognized diamond-grading laboratory, such as the GIA, or respected experts, such as those here at WP Diamonds”,” Howe said. “Consumers should be circumspect, to say the least, about non-laboratory grading certificates as they can give a very false expectation of resale value.”

For its part, WP Diamonds presents its customers with a pricing range based on first-hand evaluations by its valuation team. The company puts a premium on making this evaluation process completely transparent. “”We see the dialog with clients as one of the most important services we provide, because our goal is to help them make informed decisions”,” Howe explained. ““Our clients tend to be passionate about diamonds. Ultimately, they understand that true confidence in a diamond transaction comes, not from a piece of paper, but from fully understanding the relative merits of the stone”.”

Part 2- Customer Article

We invited one of our customers to get an appraisal to share the experience with you and to see how far off the appraisal was from the real characteristics of the diamonds and the second hand or wholesale value of the diamonds.

“This past week I was looking to sell a ring my mother had given me, only I didn’t have any of the details on the color and clarity, and I thought I had to get an appraisal. I went to a local jeweler, which wasn’t hard to find. Jewelers can be found at shopping centers in your neighborhood. I searched by using Google and found a great one.

I went inside and spoke with the lady at the counter. She told me that they offer insurance appraisals and the fee would be $75.00. I had her examine my ring by using tools to accurately gauge the size of the stones and a magnifying loop to inspect the color and clarity. She didn’t need to remove the diamonds from the mounting and examined it. The appraiser had taken classes at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and is a certified appraiser. When I asked her if this meant that she could certify my diamond, she said no. She also told me that it is not necessary to certify a diamond. When I had asked about the accuracy of the grading they gave me – she stated that it was an approximation. What that meant was that it was within 3 color grades or 3 clarity grades of what is stated in the appraisal. She took the details down into her notebook and told me that it would be ready later that day if I wanted to pick it up, or if I wanted her to email it to me.

A few hours later, I received an email with the appraisal. The color was marked as I-J-K, the clarity as SI2, and the value was $6,500. After reviewing the email, I called the lady at the store and asked her if she would be interested in purchasing the diamond from me. She explained that it would not be close to the appraisal value since jewelers can buy for wholesale costs and it would be better to sell elsewhere. It was disappointing to hear that, but I understand that this is how the diamond industry works. I learned that appraisals are very vague when it comes to grading and appraisal values are meant to insure your valuables for at least 10 years so that covers inflation and price increases at stores and not second hand increases.”

Hayley – New Jersey

The Value of Hayley’s Diamond

According to WP Diamonds:

Round centre stone 1.07 ct
Color J
Clarity I1
Side stones =11 stones total weight of .48cts

Second hand market value approx $2000

According to the Appraisal:

Round centre stone 1.10ct
Color I- J-K
Clarity SI2
Side Stones = 11 stones total of .45cts

Jewelers Appraisal Value $6,500