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LeoWang

Diamond Appraiser In San Jose Area?

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I am currently half way through diamond hunting and purchasing

 

I think I would find the stone for my gf from exceldiamond or uniondiamond or bluenile, since I've seen positive feedbacks from this forum. And internet diamonds usually have better quality/cost ratios

 

And my question is, how can I find a good diamond appraiser in my area (San Jose, Sunnyvale, Cupertino, CA, all in Santa Clara County) And how can I tell if any appraisers are good or not, is there a special cert? And what fee(s) is generally involved in the appraising process?

 

Thank you guys all, and I have learned a lot from this forum, and would recommend this forum to any friends of mine if they would be looking for diamond but have limit budget like me.

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I am currently half way through diamond hunting and purchasing

 

I think I would find the stone for my gf from exceldiamond or uniondiamond or bluenile, since I've seen positive feedbacks from this forum. And internet diamonds usually have better quality/cost ratios

 

And my question is, how can I find a good diamond appraiser in my area (San Jose, Sunnyvale, Cupertino, CA, all in Santa Clara County) And how can I tell if any appraisers are good or not, is there a special cert? And what fee(s) is generally involved in the appraising process?

 

Thank you guys all, and I have learned a lot from this forum, and would recommend this forum to any friends of mine if they would be looking for diamond but have limit budget like me.

Well,it's important that the appraiser be independent.Have a look here to find one in your area http://www.appraisers.org/

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Anyone who wants to can call himself or herself an appraiser and it’s truly remarkable how many do so. There is no licensing requirement and there isn’t even one available. There are several societies available that we will join both for education and promotional purposes and here are a few. Most professional appraisers are involved with at least one:

 

http://www.ags.org

http://www.appraisers.org

http://www.najaappraisers.com

http://www.isa-appraisers.org

 

Here are some appraisal credentials that are worth looking for:

 

ICGA – Independent Certified Gemologist Appraiser. Issued by AGS. This is their highest appraisal credential and it’s the only one that includes the element of independence that the titleholders have agreed not to buy or sell diamonds, gems or jewelry. There are currently 13 of these in North America. AGS also has CGA which is a credential held by people doing appraisals within jewelry stores. Almost every AGS store has one. Most are well skilled.

 

Master Gemologist Appraiser. Issued by ASA. This is their highest credential and involves a process of training and peer review that is the most rigorous in the industry. There are currently about 60 of these. ASA has several other credentials including ‘Senior Member’ (ASA) which is well regarded and ‘Member’ (AM) which is the same thing as each other but with less accumulated experience. In jewelry, most ASA's are also MGA's but there are also ASA's who specialize in other things like furniture, cars, real estate and many other things.

 

CAPP – Certified Appraiser of Personal Property. This is the top credential from ISA and involves a training program and peer review system. It’s equivalent to the ASA. Last I checked there were only a few of these in the Gems & Jewelry specialty area and all of them were also members of ASA. CAPP is strictly for personal property, which means no real estate or business valuations.

 

NAJA. Issued by NAJA. They don’t really have a unified set of letters for people to use but they have several membership categories. Their ‘certified’ member categories involve a testing and peer review program. ‘Senior’ members require participation in their training programs. NAJA is all about jewelry and along with ASA this gives something of a leg up. Appraising jewelry is a bit different from appraising a shrimp farm.

 

GG. Graduate Gemologist. Issued by GIA. This isn’t an appraisal credential but it often is quoted as one. It’s the basic requirement to get into the industry and EVERY qualified appraiser has it (or and equivalent issued by one of the overseas gemology schools). This one should be a deal killer if they don’t have it but it’s not a basis for choosing one over the other. It’s sort of like insisting that your doctor graduated from college. They all did, and some even learned some things there, but you want someone that went on to medical school as well.

 

Independence is a considerably different issue. Almost all appraisers, qualified or not, are associated with jewelry stores, auction houses or other similar business that are primarily interested in buying or selling things with you. Depending on your purpose in seeking the appraisal, this may be fine but bear in mind that there is a substantial conflict of interest if you are buying a new item and the objective is to have it checked out to see if you got a good deal.

 

Appraisers set their own fees and they can vary quite a bit. In Denver, reasonably well written new purchase type appraisals usually cost between $60 - $100 depending on the appraiser and the item complexity. We tend to be on the cheap end of the scale out here. Dealers often will include a document titled appraisal with their sales materials for no extra charge that may be all you need. Be aware that a well done appraisal is a moderate amount of work and the cheapest provider may not be what you want because they simply aren't doing the job required. Filling out a form and making up a number is pretty easy but it's not the same thing.

 

Neil

Edited by denverappraiser

Neil Beaty

GG(GIA) ICGA(AGS) NAJA

 

There's never a crowd when you go that extra mile.

Professional Appraisals in Denver

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Now to answer your question. Try Carole Richbourg. She's a well qualified appraiser based in Palo Alto (which I think is the area you're looking for but I must admit I'm not all that familiar with California). Tell her I sent you. It won't get you anything beyond a cup of coffee but people always like to know where referrals are coming from and it might get me a cup of coffee too.

 

http://www.finejewelryappraiser.com/

 

Neil Beaty

Edited by denverappraiser

Neil Beaty

GG(GIA) ICGA(AGS) NAJA

 

There's never a crowd when you go that extra mile.

Professional Appraisals in Denver

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Huge thanks, Neil!

 

I will give Carole a call for some consultation and suggestions. I am glad that I can find a appraiser before I make any purchase, thansk a lot again, Neil.

 

Next, I will post some candidates that I feel like might be the one I want, cuz I can't tell if it is before I actually see it. And ask for your opinions.

 

TIA!.

 

Leo

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Hi All,

Leo- if you were to buy a diamond from a supplier that actually hes the stone- and you felt comfortable with them, the appraiser would be a lot less neccesary.

In fact, if you trust the seller, your own eyes are lot more important than the appriasers...... If you don't trust the seller don't buy.....

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David,

 

You are presuming that the only reason to visit with an appraiser for a new purchase is to catch the seller in a lie. I emphatically disagree with this.

 

For starters, dealers don’t always, or even usually, have complete information at their disposal, they are often not experts themselves and mistakes can happen with even the most careful of merchants. They don’t always say everything they know and they don’t always know about everything they say. Choosing a good jeweler is remarkably difficult and the second opinion provided by a capable appraisal is a great comfort to many many shoppers. A good appraisal is a support and reinforcement to the good jewelers and a problem for the deceptive ones. We are not your enemy.

 

Sellers regularly don’t provide appropriate paperwork for an insurance policy to be useful and the client ends up getting screwed at claims time because the selling jeweler didn’t understand the issues involved. If the stone is going to be set by a third party it is always helpful to document the condition before it’s turned over to the new jeweler because it makes a clean definition of the condition as of the date of inspection.

 

I realize that you’ve had troubles with appraisers who don’t understand their business and that this is a problem in the industry but the reverse also happens with amazing frequency. Jewelers want to provide appraisals without understanding that it’s not the same as selling and, in the process, do their clients a terrible disservice both by using the appraisal process as a means of misrepresenting product and by undermining the value of their insurance policy. It is not an offense to question what you are told in such an expensive, important and arcane purchase or to seek expert assistance. It’s unreasonable for a jeweler to take it as such and it's a very bad sign for the consumer when they encounter resistance to the idea that a sale will be contingent on the approval of an outside expert.

 

Neil


Neil Beaty

GG(GIA) ICGA(AGS) NAJA

 

There's never a crowd when you go that extra mile.

Professional Appraisals in Denver

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Of course Neil- we agree on almost everything you wrote

1) If people are forced to buy from sellers that know little about diamonds, then they are forced to seek third party opinions. But purchasing from someone with limited knowledge of diamonds does not sound like a great idea to me. There are dealers that carry diamonds stock- and are familiar with their specialized articles. We agree they are not necessarily easy to find, but there are sellers in many different cities across America- as well as online- that carry a nice selection of diamonds- and have salespeople with good knowledge. There is even the possibility that it might be more difficult for some buyers to find a competent appraiser than to find a well stocked dealer.

 

2) many sellers provide inaccurate, or misleading appraisals which end up hurting consumers. In an effort to make someone feel good at time of purchase, many inflated appraisals are written, costing consumers a lot of money in extra insurance premiums.

How about sellers that charge the buyer an additional fee for "an appraisal"- what load of hokey!

A professional seller needs to know exactly what they are selling. My opinion sis that they should freely share such information with the buyer. Theoretically, the bill of sale should include all the important things the appraisal refers to- aside from an appraisal value

 

 

3) We have never told anyone not to seek a third parties' opinion should they feel the need. Clearly- any seller who would not want their diamonds held up to the light of day raises huge doubts.

 

We have had experiences with people calling themselves appraisers that knew little about items they were quite willing to accept money to evaluate.

We have had jewelers give people really half baked advice.

 

 

The bottom line here is that buyers need to exercise prudence and make sure the seller AND/OR appraiser is knowledable

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A well written bill of sale can and should be sufficient for most insurance requirements, especially for items that can be readily replaced. I agree that it’s ridiculous that this isn’t the standard practice, that the manufacturer is in the best position to provide the correct information and that the retailer is the obvious choice for who should be writing this report but the vast majority simply don’t do it.

 

Sellers using appraisals as an advertisement is not the only common abuse of the appraisal process in the jewelry business. ‘Appraisers’ can and do use it to make their competitors look bad in the hopes of gaining a sale for themselves. Obviously this is unethical and, as a customer it’s terrific evidence that they aren’t to be trusted. If they do appraisals unethically, why would anyone expect their sales approach to be any better?

 

There are some decent deals to be had from inexpert sellers and many people find the shopping experience far less threatening there. Costco and Sam’s Club come to mind. They’re both reputable outfits that deliver what they claim, have attractive prices and agreeable return policies but their front line employees are completely useless unless you need assistance reading the tag or would like directions or a map through the diaper aisle to the cash register. The lighting environment they provide is so bad as to be laughable and the only way to examine a stone with a loupe is to bring your own. If you want more information you simply have to get it yourself after the purchase and then make a return if you want. Even so, Walmart (owner of Sam’s) has grown from nothing 20 years ago to now being the biggest jeweler in the world and Costco is in the top 5 with legions of satisfied customers for each.

 

Neil

Edited by denverappraiser

Neil Beaty

GG(GIA) ICGA(AGS) NAJA

 

There's never a crowd when you go that extra mile.

Professional Appraisals in Denver

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From my point of view, as a buyer, 3rd party opinion is necessary, especially I am buying expensive stuff from the seller the 1st time. For me, trust is based on previous happy experience, no offence. Can we or should we always trust what the sellers say? I do if I have done business with them before, or my friends have. Or, I don't.

 

Even if I really love the one I am going to buy, and the price is what I can afford, I still want to know the opinion from an expert that tells me I am paying something worthy. So, the question is to find a really qualified appraiser, and this can be tell from a phone call based on diamond self-education from internet.

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