There are a few reasons why someone might choose to have their jewelry appraised. It could be simple curiosity, a desire to know the truth. For example, if a piece has been in the family for years it might be interesting to learn what it’s worth, or whether or not the stones are real. But most often, diamond appraisals are done for insurance purposes.
Purchasing a diamond is a big investment and one that should be protected. You can get your valuable jewelry insured, but agencies aren’t going to determine the value by word of mouth. They require documents from an accredited appraiser stating the value of the diamond. That means it is important to choose the right diamond appraiser. There are some important things to look out for.
A diamond appraiser is a professional occupation, just like a teacher, a doctor or an architect. Nobody would hire an engineer that hasn’t been properly trained, and the same should be true for an appraiser. The appraiser should be a Graduate Gemologist (G.G.), certified by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), and they should conform to the Uniform Standard of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP). The last step to becoming a certified jewelry appraiser is to apply for certification with a professional appraisal organization, such as the ASA.
Professional appraisal organizations, such as ISA, ASA or NAJA, offer continuing education to their members. It is not necessary to be certified to become a diamond appraiser; however, to become certified, one must do so through one of these organizations. Contacting an organization is an excellent way to find a qualified appraiser.
Be wary if asked to leave the diamond with the appraiser, or if they refuse to allow you in the room during the appraisal. If requested, it should not be a problem for the diamond to be in plain view throughout the process.
Never agree to pay with a percentage of what the diamond is worth. A professional diamond appraiser will charge a flat rate for their services.
This article was contributed by Frank Fisher.