You want to sell your diamond ring, or maybe you need an insurance for your precious jewelry, and you have never done it before.
You do not want to get a black-hearted deal; you need an objective, honest appraisal.
Many things can go wrong in an appraisal- starting from getting a bad price to falling into a scam and losing your ring.
The good news is we put together the necessary information you need to start your journey in getting an appraisal for your diamond ring.
What is an appraisal?
An appraisal an act of assessing something or someone.
A diamond ring appraisal is the act of assessing the value of the diamond jewelry.
Please note that market value is different than total cost, which is the sum of every expense, including materials, processes, design and sales and marketing payments made up to the purchase by buyer.
Appraisal is important when financing a ring but also when reselling it. After all, no one wants to get a bad deal!
Another need for appraisal arises when you want to insure your diamond ring. Diamond rings are no cheap items and may not be covered in your home insurance.
Even if your diamond item may be included your home insurance, the policy may not cover 100% of its value. Make sure you check your agreement.
After you check whether your insurance covers the total value of your ring, and you learn that it does not, going to your jeweler to appraise the ring is probably not the best action. Well, at least not right away.
It is best to research and learn more about appraisals to give you the knowledge and the conviction on the true value of your gem.
This way, you will have a price window in your mind, and you will be able to challenge the appraisal you will receive with better questions.
How is an appraisal conducted?
Appraisal of your ring has 3 big parts: the gemstone(s), the precious metal and of course the design.
Fundamentals of Diamond Gemstone Appraisal
In jewelry appraising, all the elements must be taken into consideration: the diamond and other stones included in the piece, the metal and the design.
Now that being said; each element is appraised separately to learn each value then added together to come up with a total amount of the whole ring’s current market price.
4 Cs of Diamonds
For the diamond, the value is established based on four characteristics, color, clarity, cut and carat.
The jeweler/appraiser will evaluate the ring with these four characteristics. These are called the 4C’s of a diamond.
• Color – Simply put, the diamond must be as colorless as possible. The precious gems with more visible color – (for instance, a yellow tint) are graded lower.
The more vibrant the color the less valuable the diamond. The purer or more colorless the diamond, the higher the quality and the value.
Diamonds start as carbon crystals that, through pressure and time, are transformed into transparent precious gems.
Having color means that in the formation stages of the gemstones, there have been some elements other than carbon and differences in pressure creating color imperfections.
• Clarity – The clearness or clarity level of a diamond is seen through the number of natural flaws, also called inclusions, both inside and on the surface. The less imperfections, flaws or inclusions there are the higher the quality and value.
Gems with flaws that are seen through a magnifying glass are graded with lower clarity. And if the inclusions are seen even without magnification, these are labeled least valuable.
• Cut – Cut characteristic is measured by the proportions of the gem. Each diamond is cut differently. And there are ideal/standard proportions followed.
The cut should show brilliance and sparkle. The ideal or standard proportion in the cut enhances the brilliance and sparkle.
An inside look at the cut, in the evaluation of this characteristic, the appraiser looks into the top facet or the table, the total depth or inward deepness, polishing and symmetry of the facets, the thickness of the gem’s edge or girdle, as well as the bottom facet or culet – depending if one exists.
The closer these dimensions are to the standard measurements, based on the cut or shape, the higher the value.
There are diamond shapes or cuts with higher market values than others with the identicle quality of clarity, color and carat.
Round cut is more expensive than a pear or tear shape cut with the same clarity, color and carat.
• Carat – Carat is the measurement of the mass of diamond expressed in carat weight. The equivalent of one carat into grams is 0.2 grams or 200 milligrams.
The heavier the carat weight of the diamond, the higher the value, if all other characteristics are equal. And the value of a bigger diamond is exponentially higher than smaller ones because of the rarity factor.
Bigger and heavier diamonds are harder to find and are more expensive.
All these characteristics are taken into consideration by the appraisal when evaluating the appraised value of the diamond.
The Advantage of Loose Stone from the Mounted or Set One
The mounting of a diamond can affect the appraisal value of the jewelry relative to gem because it is harder to appraise an already set or mounted gem than a loose one.
The loose diamond can be freely evaluated with its characteristics without the hindrance of mounting.
Mounting can affect the color, cut and even the clarity of the gem. If the diamond ring is set in yellow gold, the yellow tint of the metal can affect the look in terms of color.
This is one reason why most diamond rings are set or mounted in platinum and other precious metal such as sterling silver.
The setting can also hide flaws; this increases the clarity grade but does not represent the true value of the gem.
Carat is another issue. Because the mounting adds to the weight, there’s no accurate measurement by weight.
This is usually estimated based upon the measurements. Keep this in mind when having your diamond ring appraised and give the appraisal some allowance on the resulting value.
The Difference of Grading Certification from Appraisal
The first difference between a diamond grading certification from an appraisal is the grade only considers the gem, not the setting; the stone may be set with other precious stones, and the metal used in the band and mounting.
Secondly, the certification comes from the jeweler or store that sold you the diamond, there’s the question of their vested interest in the selling of the diamond. Taking your jewelry to another gemologist for balanced and impartial evaluation is sensible, especially if you are using the appraisal for insurance, resale or other purposes.
Appraisal of the Metal
Aside from the diamond and other precious stones in the mounting, the value of the metal used as the mount and band is based on the current market price.
Most preferred metals used for diamond rings are yellow gold, white gold, platinum, sterling silver among other metals.
Here are two factors taken into account concerning the metal setting:
• First, the purity of the metal is taken into consideration.
For example, Gold purity is expressed in karats. 24-karat gold is 100% pure gold while, 18-karat gold is 75% gold and 25% other metals.
Sterling silver is 92,5% silver and 7,5% other metals, mostly copper, for durability.
Argentium silver is another metal used in diamond rings, which is similar to sterling silver.
Platinum and other precious metals are considered by the percentage used for the making of the ring, because one metal can be mixed with others for strength, or durability as well as malleability and other factors.
• Other factors that add value to the ring are the setting, design, condition and brand. If the ring comes from a reputable jeweler, this will affect the value.
The evaluation and pricing of these mainly depend on the experience of the appraisal and knowledge of market conditions.
The design and brand may be affected by the current trends and be subject to up trend and downtrends depending upon the situation on the market.
For example, a design used by a TV star may considerably boost price for that special design and also elevate the prices its designer may conduct.
Who should appraise your diamond ring?
When you have a tooth ache, you don’t ask someone on the street to help you out. You go to a dentist: an educated, licenced health professional who operates in a proper environment where there are necessary medical instruments and devices.
In the same way, for the appraisal of your diamond ring, you should seek professional service from a accredited provider.
Is he/she certified by a professional organization such as NAJA (National Association of Jewelry Appraisers) or ASA (American Society of Appraisers)?
How long has been your appraisal working in this sector?
How much appraising experience does your appraiser have?
Ideally, your appraiser should be a certified seasoned professional who has conducted many appraisal processes over those years.
Moreover, your appraiser should have the actual market knowledge to evaluate current trends and know brands and designers, factors which all effect price.
One very important point is that your appraiser should definitely not have any conflict of interest with you.
Your appraiser should not have any organic or inorganic ties with the counterpart, the buyer of the diamond ring. For example, your appraiser should not work directly or indirectly at a company (as in subsidiary, mother company, joint venture etc.) related to the buying jeweler.
The appraiser should be an independent third party and present the result in a signed format for future proof, and your peace of mind.
Your appraisal professional should never demand a percentage of the appraisal as a fee. This would open doors for a biased judgement on the price and arouse conflicts of interest, especially when the appraiser is on the side of the buyer.
Always know what amount you are going to pay beforehand. And make sure you never take a commission deal on your diamond ring.
An honest appraisal fee should be based upon the work, knowledge and experience of the appraiser. It is natural to expect higher fees for more complex designs which many gemstones and mounting variances.
All these factors should be taken into consideration when appeasing your diamond ring.
Obviously, this is no easy task and do not expect to finish it in an afternoon. Do not try to rush and risk to get a bad deal.
Do your homework and you will be rewarded!