Jewelry Judge - The Nation's Jewelry Appraisers
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Jewelry Appraisals!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Make Money Buying Jewelry? Show

Question: I have found a way to purchase quality jewelry at a wholesale price. It comes with an appraisal, and is certified. For example, my first purchase was a genuine sapphire and diamond necklace and earrings set appraised with a retail value of $3,150. I purchased the set for $219.80. I am interested in selling the set for profit. It's going to come in the box, brand new. My question is, for an item already appraised, about how much should I price this? I have a friend who is studying to be a gemologist, who says for this particular set I could probably get around $1500. She said for the most part, if you price it for about half of the retail value, youll probably get it. Does that sound about right?

Answer: I've now been in the Jewelry Industry for 47 years. And, I can tell you this. You cannot buy a $3100 piece of jewelry for $219.80. If you could, people like me would have retired years ago! The normal "wholesale" price for an item that sells for $3100 is approximately half! So, what you paid would be approx. 80% below wholesale. Wish I could buy for 80% below wholesale...

As to your friend who is studying to be a gemologist.... A gemologist studies the identification and communication of Gemstones. He/she will have NO education whatsoever, about pricing in any given area after studying gemology! One must study appraising to learn values. Making a blanket statement that you "could probably get around $1500" is fictional at best.

I'm 99.9% sure that the appraisal of the item for $3100 on the item you paid $219 for is bogus. One of what I call "I love you" appraisals, written by some unqualified, unscrupulous person who is being paid by the seller.

Please... Jewelry and gemstones of ANY kind (except those purchased for very high prices), are a terrible investment. If you want to make money... buy land!

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Is there an Appraisal Checklist? Show

When you have your jewelry appraisal, you should make sure that the appraisal has at least the following as a minimum. Insurance companies today are requiring more of this information than they did in the past. All Jewelry Judge Appraisal Centers follow these strict guidelines when appraising jewelry for you.

Identification of all gemstones along with their shape, measurements, and weights.

All diamonds described by the "Four C's" color, clarity, cut, and carat weight.

All major colored gems described by their color with a recognized description system detailing hue, tone, saturation, and also clarity and cut.

Pearls should be described by their color, luster, nacre, shape, blemishes, and matching.

Metals should be described as to their carat content (14K, 18K, etc.) as well as platinum and other metal groups.

The type of construction, craftsmanship, and design.

A photograph of the item.

The date, appraiser's name and signature, addendum information, and qualifications page.

The value and the purpose and function of the appraisal.

If your previous jewelry appraisals were those typical one-paragraph, no photo, prefab reports, it's time to step up to the professional documents supplied by The Jewelry Judge. It's your best protection in the event of a loss.

Click here to view sample appraisal.

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Why Choose A Jewelry Judge Appraiser?Show

This innovative association of elite jewelry appraisal professionals extends throughout the United States and Canada and gives you a convenient way to discover the true value of your jewelry. In most states and provinces, jewelry appraising is not a regulated or licensed profession. That means that you, the consumer, have no way of knowing if your appraiser is qualified or if the document you receive is up to professional standards accepted by insurance companies. Further, in the case of a loss and insurance claim, an inferior appraisal can leave you with less than your original item of jewelry.

By visiting a Jewelry Judge Appraisal Center, you can rest assured that all persons doing your appraisal are fully qualified with gemological and appraisal training. Our "While You Watch" concept gives you the opportunity to learn and participate in the appraisal process from beginning to end. You'll also have the comfort of knowing that your jewelry never leaves your sight. The appraisal process is fast, professional, providing you with instant results that can be used when insuring your valuable items.

Important warning...

Never have your jewelry appraised by someone who charges a fee based on the value of your jewelry. This can influence the value to inflated levels to obtain a higher fee. The by-laws of every appraisal organization and of The Jewelry Judge state that this is an unethical practice.

A few of the many reasons why Jewelry Judge should be you choice...

  • Honest, ethical evaluations of your jewelry.
  • Professional appraisers with guaranteed standards of quality and education.
  • Detailed appraisal including a digital photographic image of your jewelry.
  • A "While You Watch" policy that assures your Jewelry never leaves your sight.
  • Immediate delivery of your appraisals for insurance purposes.
  • Reasonable rates that are never based on the value of your jewelry.

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What is the Appraisal Process?Show

The Jewelry Judges environment is a private laboratory with only you and the appraiser present. Operating for more than 20 years as the first "While You Watch" Independent Appraisal Firms, we have developed very exact policies and procedures to ensure that your jewelry never leaves your sight.

You will be ushered into our appraisal laboratory and, after a short interview to establish the PURPOSE and FUNCTION of the appraisal (IE: retail replacement value for insurance, fair market value for a tax attorney, confirmation of a fair purchase price etc.). The appraiser will begin the appraisal process by first cleaning your item(s) before it is evaluated and check for any needed repairs.

Then, using state of the art gemological software and laboratory equipment, a complete and accurate description of your jewelry is documented. Those diamonds over 1 carat in size require a "Blueprint" Grading Report or a "Diamond Grading Report." After doing our Grading Report, we then will compare our results to any other laboratory report, such as the GIA, EGL or IGI, to confirm that your stone matches the outside report and to confirm the 4-cs. This is also so we can record the Report # on the appraisal for additional identification and to confirm a match between the report and the actual diamond. A digital photograph of the jewelry is then taken for maximum identification purposes and is displayed right on the appraisal.

Finally, we will assign a value based on the "Purpose" and "Function" of the appraisal as noted earlier. Our values will be fully explained at the time of the appraisal. At the conclusion of the appointment, we will give you the completed documentation, and a copy for Insurance, in a protective sleeve for safe keeping. Please feel free to ask any questions during your appointment. We love to talk about jewelry! Our belief at The Jewelry Judge is that buyers and sellers should operate on a fair playing field. Therefore, educating the jewelry buying consumer is one of our most important missions.

We hope this page was helpful in explaining what to expect when you arrive. Please call your local Jewelry Judge lab to schedule your personal and confidential appointment.

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

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How does one become an Appraiser?Show

Before going into your questions... Appraising is by far the best profession in the world. Very lucrative and really a lot of fun if done the right way.

This is a very common question. To become an appraiser takes up to five years in the jewelry industry. One should first enroll in the GIA or FGA courses to become proficient as a Gemologist. The G.G. or F.G.A. titles are a must. One can be an appraiser without this education, but not an appraiser of Gems and Jewelry.

One must get into the retail Jewelry industry as soon as possible. And, although it's difficult, the retail business is the one industry you can learn everything about the business; from method of construction to setting and from birthstones of the month to opening watches to replacing batteries. To be an appraiser, one must know it all! So... while you are learning about Gemology, you are also learning about the industry.

Somewhere along the avenue to become an appraiser, you must join one of the Appraisal Organizations and start your appraisal education. To be an appraiser of Gems and Jewelry, one must be a Gemologist AND a Certified Appraiser.

Certification involves education from one of the appraisal organizations such as the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers (NAJA); the American Society of Appraisers (ASA); or the International Society of Appraisers (ISA). You can also enroll in the Master Valuer program which is a course, but not an "appraisal organization" as the others are. The combination of a Gemology degree and an Appraisal Certification qualify you to be a Certified Appraiser.

I highly recommend an internship with an established Certified Appraiser to see how the pros do it. There is so much more to becoming an appraiser then just the titles. Knowing the ins and outs... the problems we handle, the valuation itself are just as important. The internship will give you the hands on experience to build an appraisal practice.

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Why Do I Need My Jewelry Appraised?Show

Why do I need my jewelry appraised?

1. To obtain insurance for...

  • Loss from theft or home break-ins
  • Mysterious disappearance
  • Travel accidents, theft or hotel break-ins
  • Stones falling out or other damage

2. To confirm the value of a new purchase

  • Independence and high ethics
  • Honest and accurate evaluations
  • Consultants to the consumer

3. For future identification

  • Our detailed reports guarantee against switching when left somewhere for repair
  • Accurate damage assessment based on any change from the original condition
  • How many items of jewelry do you have undocumented? If lost or stolen, how will you prove you actually owned the item for tax purposes? Professional Jewelry Appraisals are "legal documents" showing the items actually exist, for you, your family and your heirs.

4. Estates

  • Fair market evaluation for tax liability
  • Valuation for equitable division of inherited jewelry

5. Divorce

  • Fair market value for equitable division of property

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How can I find a Qualified Appraiser?Show


Appraising is not regulated in most states and provinces. Therefore, appraisers are not required to have formal education or belong to appraisal organizations. Many jewelers perform appraisals, and while they might know the cost of their own jewelry, they are not "qualified" to do appraisals. At the Jewelry Judge, we require full qualifications to become a member. Every licensed Jewelry Judge is qualified so you, the consumer, do not have to search for the right appraiser.

Gemological Training

Every Jewelry Judge appraiser must be a graduate gemologist (GG title) from the Gemological Institute of America or an FGA (Fellow of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain). This insures knowledge in the gemological identification procedure that is a part of every appraisal. In addition, our gemologists continue to further their education through update classes and seminars. Please note that gemological training should never be equated to appraisal training, a reason why not all gemologists are qualified to be appraisers.

Appraisal Training

Every Jewelry Judge appraiser must enroll in appraisal science training through any of a number of recognized organizations. You can individually check with each appraiser to learn more about what programs each may have completed.

Appraisal Titles

Many organizations offer credentials that the appraiser may use after their name. So, in addition to the GG title or FGA title, you may see other initials that appear. Some titles follow but are not inclusive of every title offered.
  • MGA–Master Gemologist Appraiser–offered through the American Society of Appraisers. Requirements include years of experience, gemological degree, comprehensive examination, and background evaluation.
  • CAPP–Certified Appraiser of Personal Property–offered through the International Society of Appraisers. Requirements include years of experience, gemological degree, comprehensive examination, and background evaluation.
  • NGJA–National Gem and Jewelry Appraiser–offered through the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers. Requirements include years of experience, gemological degree, and background evaluation.
  • Registered Master Valuer–offered through a recognized appraisal educational program developed by the late Anna Miller. Requirements include gemological degree and comprehensive examination.
A professional appraiser will ALWAYS list his/her qualification with their signature. If you do not see their qualifications after their name, it is most likely that they are NOT professional appraisers. The "Graduate Gemologist" title from the Gemological Institute of America is NOT an appraiser's title!

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Why should I insure my jewelry?Show

Warning: Your jewelry may be under-insured or over-insured...

Examples. Compare the prices of these items from 1990 to 2000. Prices are approximate retail for an average quality one carat solitaire diamond engagement ring and for a one carat average quality single stone emerald ring.

DIAMOND 1990 $7,000 EMERALD 1990 $4,000
  1995 $7,700   1995 $3,500
  2000 $9,600   2000 $1,600

Did you know that:

  • Almost all insurance companies have the option of replacement of the item. If a piece of jewelry is lost, most insurance companies DO NOT give you money. It is their responsibility and obligation to put you back into the position you were in BEFORE the loss. Because insurance companies do millions of dollars a year in jewelry replacements, they can purchase the item for much less than a consumer.

  • The majority of retail jewelers will sell you an item for one price and then appraise it for a much higher price, telling the consumer that the higher value is for insurance. But, if your insurance company is a replacement company, who benefits by a high appraisal? The Jeweler, because you are led to believe that you are paying a greatly reduced price; and, the Insurance Company who will collect their premiums upon the value stated. There is no benefit to the consumer in accepting a highly inflated value appraisal.

  • Most insurance companies will only pay up to the covered amount so if the current value is higher, you are under-insured and will have to pay the difference.

  • Most insurance companies will only pay the current replacement value so if you are over-insured you are paying unnecessary premiums.

  • Most insurance companies will not ask for updated appraisals on a regular basis, so it is up to you to regularly have your jewelry inspected and reappraised to reflect current markets.

  • Most homeowner insurance policies have a dollar amount of coverage for unscheduled property such as jewelry, but there are limits and they cover theft only–not mysterious loss or damage.

When making a claim on properly appraised and scheduled jewelry:

  • If the policy is a replacement type policy, the insurance company may have the option of sending you to a replacement center of their choice. Remember, you should have the replacement checked by your local Jewelry Judge appraiser to verify that the quality is acceptable based on the original appraisal.

  • You may have the option of using your own jeweler, especially when original designs or copyrights are involved. Even then, you have the right to have the replacement verified for quality based on the original appraisal.

  • If you choose the option of cashing out rather than replacement, the type of policy will dictate how the cash-out offer works. With an Agreed Value or Actual Cash Value policy, you will receive a check in the full amount of the insured value. With a Replacement policy, you will receive either the insured value or the actual cost that the insurance company would have to spend to replace the item, whichever is lower. Since insurance companies are volume purchasers, they often receive a discount, so be prepared to be given a lower offer than the insured amount. Your Jewelry Judge appraiser can assist you in determining if the cash offer is fair.

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What are Full Service Appraisal Centers?Show

It's new. It's an idea that's long overdue. At last there's a place that you can take your jewelry for an accurate, honest, impartial appraisal. The Jewelry Judge is a full-service appraisal center staffed by fully qualified gemologist/appraisers. All appraisals are done for you "While You Watch" so you will have the comfort of knowing your jewelry will never leave your sight.

Convenient private appraisals.
Enjoy a cup of coffee and relax and learn in private comfortable surroundings. For most assignments, the document for insurance is delivered to you as you leave.

Surprises overruled.
You can rule out any surprises because our fees are never based on the ultimate value of your jewelry. Fees are per item or by the hour and will be discussed with you up front before proceeding with the appraisal. Rates are very reasonable for the quality we provide.

Could you identify yours?
With a digital photographic image of your jewelry and a grading report on all major diamonds, the chances of recovery are greatly increased in case of theft. Detailed reports make recovery easy.

Don't leave your appraisal to guesswork
Appraisal valuations can vary on the same piece of jewelry even by qualified professionals. How can you be suer the valuation you receive is accurate? Let us be the judge.

Don't leave home without it.
Planning to travel? Take along a Jewelry Judge Jewelry Passport. This miniature copy of your appraisal comes in a convenient travel size folder including a digital photographic image. It looks like a passport and can be used as proof of prior ownership to avoid unnecessary customs delays.

Break-ins do happen.
Don't wait until it's too late. Approximately once every minute and a half, a robbery occurs. The only way to insure replacement of your valuable items is with an appraisal. Make it a Jewelry Judge appraisal.

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