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

WP Diamonds completed a study to highlight how grading certificates provided to consumers often contain optimistic appraisals of diamond color and clarity.
In August 2013 WP Diamonds examined 220 jewelry appraisals and the findings gave a very clear insight into the realities of the documents.

Clarity grades were found to be 1.3 grades higher than the grades determined by our evaluation team, which relies on internationally recognized standards set by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).

Color grades “were found to be 1.9 grades higher than the GIA equivalent.”

So the takeouts are clear. Jewelry Appraisals provide optimistic gradings and thus will greatly impact the returns consumers can achieve when selling back into the second hand market. By and large companies will need to re-certify diamonds they purchase in order for them to be re-sold.

All of this means that the a D color on an appraisal could become an E or and F color when they diamond gets given a GIA certificate, impacting the value. Similarly a VS1 clarity grade could easily become an SI1 or SI2 grade. These changes often places diamonds into altogether different categories of desirability.

“Consumers should be circumspect, to say the least, about non-laboratory grading certificates and specifically non GIA certificates.

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