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Everything posted by denverappraiser

  1. denverappraiser

    How To Sell Diamond Jewelry

    Selling for top dollar is what everyone wants. The problem is in the details. It’s quite difficult. The dealers who can get top money have been working for generations to build their reputations, to maintain convenient locations, to be open convenient hours, to design and operate high quality websites, etc. Not surprisingly, they expect to be paid for all of this. In selling to a final consumer, the only advantage you will have is that you are willing to sell for a lower price. Paying a dealer a 20% commission if the price they can realize is more than 20% higher is money well spent ( Some dealers cost more than this, by the way). The real issue is whether the service they are offering (helping you sell your diamond) is worth more than it’s cost. You mentioned that you have a GIA report listing approximate weight and approximate clarity. Can you give more details about this? The usual GIA report does not give approximate values for either of these items and it does not include a value. Was this examination done by GIA or by a GIA trained grader working under some other name? Neil Beaty GG(GIA) ISA NAJA
  2. denverappraiser

    best cut

    Julian, The problem with diamonds as an investment is that they are wickedly difficult for most people to sell. ‘Taint an investment until the smoke clears and you can compare the money you get out with the money you needed to put in. If you buy a theoretical diamond for the best possible price and turn around that day and try to sell it, you are going to take a hit of 20-50%. If you pay a premium for additional features, like setting, warranties or financing, you will probably end up even worse. As investments go, these are dreadful numbers. It’s true that they tend to be better for rounds than they are for other designs but that’s hardly an endorsement of them as an investment. Food, clothing, electronics, services, cars and almost everything else you buy are far worse. ‘Investment’ is not really an appropriate word to use, at least in the financial sense. Do not enter into a diamond deal expecting to ever see your money again. As Ben suggests, If it turns out that you can make some money, you can be happy with your good fortune but don’t bet the house on it. It’s a tough business. Neil Beaty GG(GIA) ISA NAJA
  3. denverappraiser

    best cut

    Julian, Ben nailed it. Buy what pleases you the most. RE: Tutorial "Unless you're purchasing a diamond as an investment (in which case you should strongly consider a round brilliant)" If you are purchasing a diamond as an investment and you aren't a diamond dealer (and don't intend to become one), you should consider therapy. It's not nearly as easy as potential investors would like and if they aren't prepared for a steep and expensive learning curve they are headed for a fall. There are some cuts that are more expensive than others. This is because of issues like yield results from the cutting houses, trademarked facet patterns, popularity in the various marketplaces etc. Princess cuts, for example, tend to be less expensive than rounds of similar weight and grading. Branded cuts generally cost more than similar unbranded ones. Whether these things are worth the extra money is an issue for the individual customers to decide. Not everyone agrees about what is 'best' and the result is many different offerings that appeal to different customers for different reasons. Neil Beaty GG(GIA) ISA NAJA
  4. denverappraiser

    buying an "estate sale" diamond

    bedenfield, Your proportion numbers don't add up. Total depth should = Crown + Girlde + Pavilion. Did these come from a Sarin or some similar device? There are some rounding and calibration issues that come into play with the equpment as well as the possiblity of a simple mistake, especially if they came from more than one source but the biggest variable is because the crown and pavilion numbers are averages for all of the facets within that particular grouping. If the measurements and reporting are correct, this discrepancy suggests some possible symmetry problems with the stone. Neil Beaty GG(GIA) ISA NAJA
  5. denverappraiser

    Diamond Watches

    Fly, This leads to the core of the appraisal question. Value to whom and under what circumstances? Value of property is not a fixed concept based solely on the description of the property. There must be a marketplace and there must be both buyers and sellers. Many items like this have a certain value to collectors who are seeking some very specific attributes. It may turn out that a particular movement type or dial color is the most desired characteristic and is the driving force on the pricing. It may turn out that the ownership history of the watch is it's most valuable attribute. It's not all that easy a question. Even if you eliminate all of the difficult issues and boil it down to the salvage question, it can be difficult. What are the grades of the various stones? Who will dissassemble the piece and at what cost? What market will be used for the sale of the resultant materials? I realize that the objective here is to find a bargain and that paying an appraiser to assist will defeat at least part of this purpose. The alternatives are to either turn yourself into an expert so that you can do the research and grading yourself, or simply decide that these issues don't matter because it 'seems' valuable and to bid accordingly. In the case of most auctions, you will be bidding against at least a few professionals who are taking a very different approach than yours. They normally use the former approach. They have access to a marketplace where they plan to sell it and make a profit. They are competing with one another over who has the best customer base, who can best grade the item and who is willing to work for the least markup. Skill and a little bit of luck will result in a profit. Sometimes it just fills up the store with unsaleable junk. The bottom line is the salvage dealers. The more interesting group are the watch, jewelry and antique dealers who feel that their own marketplace will be willing to pay a premium because of the other attributes. It's just not as easy as you're hoping. Neil Beaty GG(GIA) ISA NAJA
  6. denverappraiser

    pavillion depth and the reflection diagram

    salsbst, Nah, it's not that hard. The short answer is because the optimum light path is not the one illustrated in that drawing. The light entering the pavilion is does not need to be parallel to the light leaving. The long answer is here . (Thats the complete text of Tolkowski's treatice on diamond design, which is the source of the proportions described in that illustration). Happy reading. Neil Beaty GG( GIA) ISA NAJA
  7. denverappraiser

    GIA On-Line School

    Fly, Working for Jared is a good plan. Please note that diamondtology is not one of the GIA terms. I mention this because GIA has competitors that use this word and you do not want to waste your time and emotional energy in these programs. They often do more harm than good. Take the genuine GIA gemology program. Jared's offer to pay for it if you complete it within the first year is quite generous. Read the fine print to see what happens if, a) you take more than a year. you leave Jared's before the end of the year. c) they decide to lay you off before the end of the year. Ben's advise about gemology is good. There are lots of different paths within the jewelry business and gemology is only one. Personally, I want to be Barry when I grow up. Vegas is a hoot but I'll bet you can find a show that's a little closer to home to start with. Neil Beaty GG(GIA) ISA NAJA
  8. denverappraiser

    diamond price

    Mike, I am thinking about buying an Si1, I, 1.18 carat, princess cut for $5000. The jeweler told me that he would put it in a white gold solitare setting with tax for another $1000. In total I can get this ring for $6000, which I told him was my price limit. It does not have a certificate from GIA, but the Central Coast Gemological Society instead. I think this price is too high, am I correct? That strikes me as a bit high on the diamond and way high on the ring unless there is more to this description than you are letting on. You’ve made no mention of the cutting, which can be quite important both in the beauty of the stone and the final value or of any of the design elements of the ring. I think if you shop around a bit, you will be able to find better pricing but perhaps this store has other features that make it more valuable to you coming from them. What do you think of other certificates besides GIA? The second tier labs, (like both Central Coast and mine) do not enjoy the same reputation for consistency as GIA. This doesn’t make them wrong but it does raise a certain amount of concern for consumers. Whatever you end up buying (even if it has GIA paper), have it appraised by an independent professional appraiser who is working for you, not the seller. This makes sure that you are given ALL of the information you need to make an informed decision. How much would a jewler pay for a diamond like the one above and how much is a fair profit? Dealer costs can vary quite a bit depending on the grading attributes on the stone as well as the quality of their own supplies. Even luck plays a role. By ‘profit’, I presume you mean ‘markup’ and what is fair will depend on the specific store because this includes quite a number of valuable components that are different for each store and in different places. The store should be prepared to tell you what is better about buying it from them over shopping with their competitors. Ask this question to everyone. If their additional offerings are worth the extra money, go for it. Otherwise, walk. There are LOTS of high quality jewelers who are prepared to sell you a stone meeting these general specs. Where can I get a hold of a rapaport diamond guide? The Rappaport Diamond Report is a magazine that is available by subscription only. It contains pricing information that is used by some jewelers. If you are interested, you can contact the publisher at It’s fairly useful in the trade but it is almost always a problem for consumers because there is so much important information that is either omitted or obfuscated. By the way, it’s kind of expensive. Thank you for your time. You’re welcome. Best of luck with your search. Neil Beaty GG(GIA) ISA NAJA
  9. denverappraiser

    Diamond Watches

    'Worth' can be kind of a complicated question. It has a lot to do with the market you are discussing as well as the description of the item in question. In the case of watches, try and figure out what the original model name is for both the movement and the case. Then decide what market you feel is appropriate. In the case you describe, the auction market seems to be what you're looking for. Compare previous auction results for similar items to come up with a comparable value. Another approach is to hire an appraiser to do this work for you. Ladies watches don't sell anywhere near as well as the gents models. Often they sell for little more than the salvage value of the materials. Then again, sometimes they sell for big big money. There are lots of variables. If you're serious, hire someone who knows the market to assist you. If you aren't, bid low. Neil Beaty GG (GIA) ISA NAJA
  10. denverappraiser

    Diamond Chips/Scratches

    Proceed directly to an INDEPENDENT appraiser and have them evaluate the damage. If there is nothing, like the jeweler claims, they will confirm this and the matter will be done with. If there is something there, they will be able to supply you with documentation supporting your claim. Natural inclusions are quite distinctive and easy to recognize for a pro. Do you have any original documentation on the diamond? If so, have it graded by the same appraiser as the first time unless this is someone inhouse at the selling jeweler. You were right to leave the ring with them. Select (and pay fo) the appraiser yourself so that they are working for you, not the jeweler, but see if you can get it delivered directly from the jeweler to the appraiser without passing through you. If they are as innocent as they claim, they will be eager to accomidate this because it will clear them of a pretty serious problem. I agree with Ben about making sure the timing is conformed to with your return period. If they don't agree to be reasonable, and they don't agree that any damage has occured, return it immediately. Neil Beaty GG(GIA) ISA NAJA
  11. denverappraiser

    Verified Jewelers

    hermann, I'll have to think about that for a bit. What comes to mind is: 1) Current credentialed membership in one or more of the major appraisal organizations (AGS, ASA, ISA, NAJA) 2) GG, FGA, FCGMA, FGAA, etc. 3) At least introductory appraisal training (offered by all of the above societies and a few others, not including the offerings from J-bar or GIA). I'll be happy to work with you to develop a system. I've actually been putting some thought into this whole area and there needs to be a reasonable online registry of appraisers. How are your php skills? I'll also be happy to help develop a tutorial about selecting and using an appraiser. There really should be a box at the top titled 'find an appraiser'. Neil Beaty GG(GIA) ISA NAJA
  12. denverappraiser

    Verified Jewelers

    Herman, Good plan. Will there be an index or some kind of search to allow users to locate one of the verified jewelers in their neighborhood? If you can do it, I'm sure people would love to be able to search for comments by or about the various jewelers. Not to be self serving, but what about us appraisers and the labs? I'm not sure I would even qualify as a verified jeweler because I'm not JBT listed as such. It's a curious problem. I used to be listed when I was retail but since I don't buy or sell diamonds or jewelry, I don't have an account with any of the vendors who sell that kind of thing. JBT has no interest in me. Suggestion? Neil Beaty GG(GIA) ISA NAJA
  13. denverappraiser

    Silly Question

    I haven't been able to upload mind but I figured it had something to do with the fact that my image won't appear on film. Neil Beaty GG(GIA) ISA NAJA
  14. denverappraiser

    Pricing Help

    Only Tiffany's can sell you a Tiffany's setting and a Tiffany's diamond and deliver the Tiffany's shopping experience. They have legions of happy customers That said, there are a fair number of dealers who can sell you similar products for significantly lower prices. Barry is too polite to push his own wares in the forum but his site would be a pretty good place to start if you're looking for alternatives. Neil Beaty GG(GIA) ISA NAJA
  15. denverappraiser

    see a black hole

    jylee, If it’s causing you stress, get an independent appraisal and professional advice about it. It’s probably not very severe but free advice from people who have never seen the stone is not a good basis for such an important decision. The appearance of a diamond has a great deal to do with the lighting and the viewing environment. Certain lighting conditions will make a stone look far better than others. You may just be seeing the reflection of your head! There’s nothing is the specs you gave that raise any particular concern but you didn’t give any of the data about the cut so it’s very difficult to tell. Actually, it's difficult to tell even with the cut info. Even the best stone will look bad if the lights are bad enough. A professional opinion would be money well spent, especially if you are within the return period where the selling jeweler will accept a return. This is normally a pretty short window so you should be in a hurry. Neil Beaty GG(GIA) ISA NAJA
  16. denverappraiser

    Is it possible for a diamond to chip

    Michael, I'm sorry to hear your bad news. I see chipped diamonds in my appraisal practice on a regular basis. Diamonds are quite hard but they are brittle. This can especially be a problem with very thin girdls, cuts with points, certain kinds of inclusions and other problems as well as for people with very active lifestyles. This is usually a covered loss under your insurance policy. If you are covered, contact your insurance agent at once. They will probably send you to an appraiser to determine the extent of the damage. In many cases the stone can be removed from the setting, recut and reset. This will result in some fees for the appraiser, some fees for the jeweler to pull and reset the stone as well as to repair any damaged prongs, and a a diminution of value (the final stone will be worth less than the original). The insurance company should be willing to pay for all of this less your deductible. If this repair process is unacceptable to you, they should be willing to replace the damaged stone with another of ‘like kind and quality’ and the recut stone becomes theirs to do with as they wish. If you aren’t insured, or choose not to file a claim, the process is pretty much the same but you have to do it yourself. Find an appraiser to assess the damages and recommend an approach. It can be sort of complicated and most jewelry stores don’t have much experience with this sort of thing. When you call for an appointment, ask about their experience with damage reports. Neil Beaty GG(GIA) ISA NAJA
  17. denverappraiser

    Ideal once and for all

    Ken, The problem is that the word ‘ideal’ means different things to different people. In most cases, it’s a set of proportions that someone has decided are attractive. The AGS system is used by a fair number of dealers but there are many other choices and anyone who wants to can create their own definition. I know of at least 5. Here are a few If someone describes a stone as ideal, ask them what they mean by that term. If they are less than precise in explaining it, assume it means about the same as if they had described the stone as ‘awesome’ (which may very well be true). As Barry points out, falling outside one particular definition of ideal proportions does not mean that it isn’t a fantastic stone. Not even AGS (who authored the system that is most commonly in use) will claim that the term ‘ideal’ means the same as ‘best’. Neil Beaty GG(GIA) ISA NAJA
  18. denverappraiser

    Gemscan Certification?

    barry, As usual, I think we agree. The integrity of the dealer is of paramount concern. After all, the top tier labs don't always get it right either. Customers are relying on the jeweler to give them accurate and complete advice about buying a stone that's going to be the right one for them. This is equally true for internet dealers, storefront dealers and even independent appraisers. The lab reports supply useful information for everyone involved but relying entirely on the contents of a report can lead to some serious misunderstandings. Most Gemscan reports that I've seen have been 'appraisals' based on either HRD or AGS lab reports although they do have their own grading report as well. I'm based in the US although I do a fair amount of work for Canadian clients as well as for US clients buying stones that originate in Canada. The market here won't generally accept GemScan grading on important stones so the stones that are bound for export tend to be graded by other labs. Consequently, I don't think the reports that cross my desk are an especially representative sample of their work. Comments from my Canadian friends suggest that the GemScan documents are usually presented at retail as a self-contained report with no additional surpporting materials from other labs. How does a customer know if the stone is properly graded? Assuming that they don't want to go through the effort and expense of turning themselves into experts, they should find someone who has. This is also the way they get any additional information that they may find important in their decision making process beyond what is contained on the lab report. This might be the dealer they are buying from, it might be an independent appraiser in their community, it might be an appraiser out in the middle of fly-over country (like, say, Denver ). They should pick an advisor that they trust and then listen to the advice that they're given. There is a famous jeweler in Nebraska that says "If you don't know jewelry, know your jeweler." It's pretty good advice, even in Canada. Neil Beaty GG(GIA) ISA NAJA
  19. denverappraiser

    Gemscan Certification?

    Gemscan. Second tier labs don't always get it wrong but their stones are usually less expensive. A correctly graded stone from Gemscan will usually be less expensive than that same stone would be if accompanied by GIA or AGS paper. In the case of Canadian customers, there is a substantial premium associated with GIA & AGS examinations because neither company does business in Canada. The dealers can buy from manufacturers who have had stones previously graded by one of those two labs but it is decidedly inconvenient for a Canadian dealer to submit stones to either one. EGL-USA, GemScan and HRD are all quite popular because of this issue. I agree that the integrity of the jeweler is a critical element. Neil Beaty GG(GIA) ISA NAJA
  20. denverappraiser

    Gemscan Certification?

    True enough, but this doesn't make them wrong. Sometimes you can get the same stone with a second tier report and see a better price because of it. If you buy the diamond instead of the paper, you may find a bargain with a Gemscan stone. Neil Beaty GG(GIA) ISA NAJA
  21. denverappraiser

    GIA On-Line School

    Earl, Get a part time job at a store FIRST. It's not for everyone and you'll learn a lot by being in the environment. In particular, you'll learn if you really want to invest the time and money required to get a degree and to advance in the industry. The most recognized credential in the US is the GIA graduate gemologist degree. The Gem-A (Gemmological Association of Great Britain) FGA degree has great recognition overseas and it's growing here. It's highly regarded within academic circles. It's not the teacher or the school that is the key to great education. It's the student. Neil Beaty GG(GIA) ISA NAJA
  22. denverappraiser


    ‘Real’ is sometimes difficult to define and there are several products that tread on the border. Laboratory grown stones are rather difficult to detect and are very much in the news at the moment. Fracture filling will add some non-natural attributes to the stone that will cause some to count them as not real while others will accept them. This is also pretty difficult to detect. CZ’s are a common stimulant that can be detected with a thermal probe or, if unmounted, by the ‘read through effect or by weight (they are significantly heavier than diamonds). Moissonite, another popular stimulant can be detected by microscopic examination and the visual doubling of the culet when examined through the crown facets. There are several other simulants on the market that come through occasionally and they are usually detected by microscopic examination. A bit of practice with a loupe will go a long way because most simulants just don't 'look' right when examined carefully. For most people, the easiest way is to take it to a jeweler or an appraiser and ask ‘em. Most will answer this kind of question for free. Neil Beaty GG(GIA) ISA NAJA
  23. denverappraiser

    wesselton diamonds

    Wesselton is the name of a particular mine in Africa. It had a reputation for producing lovely stones and the name came into common usage as a descriptor for high quality diamonds. In the 1950's a new language for describing diamonds was developed by GIA and it is now commonly used throughout the trade. The 'IF' term that you use is from that GIA system. There are currently very few customers who are willing to pay a premium for the product of particular mines although the Canadian mining companies are making a valiant attempt at it. Unless it’s identified as such at the point of mining and then tracked through the processes, it’s currently not possible to identify what mine produced an individual diamond. Currently diamonds are valued based on several attributes including weight, clarity, color, cut, location, marketplace, provenance (ownership history) and many other variables that make it impossible to give an accurate answer to your question in an internet forum. The stone you describe is probably quite valuable and if you are considering either buying or selling such an item, it would be worth your money and the trouble to seek professional assistance. Neil Beaty GG(GIA) ISA NAJA
  24. denverappraiser

    Reasonable pricing for an engagement diamond

    Bchatz, Go to a jeweler who can show you a stone that meets your requirements and ask them the price of the one that they are selling. Most should have little trouble finding something that has those general specs. Not everyone wants to take the technical route but Barry is right that this isn't a complete question. Finding a trusted jeweler who can assist you with your purchase is a common and perfectly acceptable solution. It sounds like you've found a jeweler that suits your fancy. The expected price will vary by more than a factor of 3 depending on the other details about the stone, the other elements of the deal and the marketplace chosen. Any answer we could give is just as likely to cause confusion as it is to help. Neil Beaty GG(GIA) ISA NAJA
  25. denverappraiser

    Considered a perfect cut?

    jennae, I'm not familiar with the content of the GIA diamond essentials class and so I can't speak for what it contains. The system you've described is not used by the GIA lab, EGL-USA lab or the AGS lab as a way of describing stones on any any of their reports. As you point out, it also does not match the new proposed systems from either GIA or AGS. EGL overseas labs use their own systems and they do use some of the same names as on your list. Perhaps there is one that uses your system. AGS has a scale although it's not particularly similar to the one you describe. EGL-USA uses similar words on their reports but, again, it's not using your parameters or even a variant of them. In both cases, they consider crown and pavilion geometry to be important. I agree. GIA does not issue a cut grade on any of there present reports. None of the above labs use the word 'perfect' to describe anything, nor did they before the FTC directive limiting this was published in 2001. The FTC guidelines restrict the use of the word 'perfect' to describing clarity. Their guidelines for describing cut are interesting but are nothing like your scale. I agree that people selling diamonds should read these rules but I'm not so convinced that they will be helpful for consumers. For those who are interested, here. they are. IMO, simple Table% and Depth% are not sufficient information to make any meaningful conclusions about cut quality of a gemstone. I think the most important attribute of a house (at least a house that you plan to occupy) is deciding if you like it and would like to live in it. Details matter but focusing on one particular trait while ignoring others can be a serious mistake. Focusing on the details and buying a house that you hate because the numbers look good is foolish. Neil Beaty GG(GIA) ISA NAJA