Debunking Diamond Evaluation Misconceptions

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Previously, we’ve discussed the differences between an actual diamond evaluation and an insurance appraisal, so hopefully that information has sunk in nice and deep.  Unfortunately, there still persists a litany of misinformation out there regarding what goes into diamond specification determination and what constitutes a legitimate evaluation.  Here we hold a microscope up to the common misconceptions associated with the valuation of jewelry.

Widespread Inconsistency

1) Providing an evaluation of diamond jewelry is a piece of cake and/or pie.

The truth:  This is mere poppycock.  A certain television program that appears to let ‘antique experts’ take a perfunctory peak at a potentially valuable piece and determine it’s worth within seconds has popularized the belief that jewelry valuation is simple (let’s just say this show rhymes with “Mantiques Toadshow”).  The reality is that no one is walking around with the encyclopedic knowledge in their noggin that would allow them to quantify a diamond’s price by just looking at it.  Actual experts utilize many highly specialized tools, machines and standardized guides to arrive at a diamond’s specifications, and ultimately a piece of diamond jewelry’s estimate on the open market.

Widespread Inconsistency:

2)  You don’t need to be an expert to provide an evaluation or an estimate.

The truth:  You do need to be one.  With extensive training by accredited and nationally/internationally recognized institutions.  Graduates of the National Council of Jewellery Valuers (NCJV)  not only have to finish school, they are obligated to attend supplemental courses and instruction over time to adapt to and understand the climate of the ever changing jewelry industry.  For diamond specific jewelry evaluators,  completed training at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has become the standard for anyone who wants to be taken seriously as a gemologist.  “GIA, all the way, all other gem school’s go away!” …as their unofficial school motto goes.

Widespread Inconsistency:

3)  If it’s been in the family for generations, it’s definitely worth a pulchritudinous penny.

The truth:  Sadly, that sparkly, Victorian styled brooch that’s been handed down from great Grammy with care, that every one of the greedy grandchildren has been clamoring to get their grubby mitts on, may actually be worth diddly squat.  That’s right: bupkis.  Age is no guarantee of value.  Not only can people be under the incorrect assumption that an alleged heirloom contains a stone that is of a higher quality than it actually is, sometimes these pieces are actually just costume jewelry and could barely fetch $1 in a tag sale.  The moral: be prepared for any result to come back when you have an ‘antique’ piece of jewelry evaluated.

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Widespread Inconsistency:

4) Diamond jewelry is a commodity that will consistently appreciate in value.

The truth: When you look at chart that details diamond pricing over the years, you will notice some drastic and sporadic drops, and hardly any (relative to other commodities, such as gold) breakout increases.  The market changes daily, and unfortunately for anyone who purchased a diamond as an “investment,” it’s quite unpredictable and financially unreliable.  While a diamond engagement ring can sometimes (ahem…often) outlast a marriage, it’s still can’t be truly counted on in terms of an escalation in value.  That being said, there are certain types of diamonds (meaning diamonds of a specific shape) that become popular, and this in turn drives their prices up.  Since a diamond is always worth exactly what someone is willing to pay for it, their value can easily be bolstered by demand.  For instance, round brilliant cut stones have seen a rise in popularity over the last several years (mostly because of their versatility – they are widely sought after for use in engagement rings and earring alike), which has certainly increased their market value.

Widespread Inconsistency:

5)  An old appraisal can just be adjusted for inflation and it will still be accurate.

The truth:  Nope.  Every time that a piece of jewelry’s value is brought into question, it needs a completely new, crisp and shiny evaluation.  Again, due to fluctuations in the market, any  item of jewelry’s worth is subject to change.  Also, over time certain things can happen to the physical piece (ie – it gets crunched under a tractor or another diamond scratches the main stone’s surface – which looks and sounds unpleasant) that are detrimental to its value.  A small gemstone lining to this dreary cloud, if a diamond reaches “antique” status, there is a chance, be it ever so slim, that it may actually go up in value a wee bit (read: yay).

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Widespread Inconsistency:

6)  You can purchase jewelry online that is actually worth more than it costs!

The truth:  Aside from the fact that people are routinely, insanely optimistic when it comes to their finances, even the most starry-eyed consumer knows deep down this one can’t be true.  TV and online jewelry offers can come with ‘value certifications,’ that purport the worth of a gemstone – which will often be significantly higher than the purchase price.  The first thing that should raise an eyebrow here is that legit diamond grading institutes, like the ubiquitously recognized stand out, the GIA, do not offer ‘pricing’ on stones – they simple grade them, providing their precise specs.  It’s up to a marketplace professional to give you a current market value for your stones.  Any such ‘certification’ that accompanies a stone will obviously (for the benefit of the scheming seller) have a grossly inflated figure for the stone.  Don’t fall for this.  You’re better than that.

Widespread Inconsistency:

7)  Authentic diamond jewelry can be evaluated without a specification certificate.

The truth:  No matter how good a diamond appraiser is, they still need a certificate (by either the GIA or someone trained there) to deliver an accurate appraisal amount.  Just by eye-balling a piece of diamond jewelry, let’s say for example an engagement ring, an appraiser can not get the whole picture.  When a diamond is set in a mounting (the band, in this case), the mounting can create shadows and hide aspects of the diamond’s actual brilliance, thereby making it seem less valuable.  The diamond must be removed by a skilled jeweler and then given to a trained gemologist who will then carefully scrutinize and document all its properties.  To create the evaluation certificate, the gemologist uses their years of knowledge in conjunction with highly sophisticated tools and machinery, such as a diamond imaging  Sarine machine.  With this tangible certificate, only then the diamond jewelry can be assessed by an appraiser in terms of its true value.  Think of it this way: a dog may look super friendly, but without a collar, you don’t know if it’s going to lick your hand or bite you and pee on your leg.

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One thing that has always been (and always will be) 100% true is that Diamond Lighthouse has experts working in-house that can give you the absolute most accurate estimate of your diamond’s worth.  We have GIA trained gemologists (remember the GIA?  The #1 diamond grading institute in the known universe?) that evaluate every diamond we receive.  With these evaluations, our market specialists can then arrive at a true and fair estimate.  All these factors collectively work together to get you the most money possible for your diamonds.  Find out more here on how you can learn your diamond’s true value and actually receive it.

Honest.

Diamond-Lighthouse-broker-finding-your-way diamondlighthouse.com

-Joe Leone

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