Jump to content

What Kind Of 'work' Might A Diamond Need?


Aquitaine
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hi everyone,

 

I have a diamond that belonged to my grandfather (it's about 70 years old!) and that has been around the country - my father had it for a while after my grandfather's death, my elder brother had it set in an engagement ring but the engagement was broken, and now it's back in New York where it came from. It's a round cut, 3.6ct rock.

 

My brother did not have it formally appraised (I think he was probably going to but then figured 'why bother' when the engagement ended and generously offered it to me) but he apparently knew someone who knows something about this kind of thing (cue forum audience eye-rolling) - long story short, he was told that the rock was worth about $60k right now, but nearly double that 'if it had some work done.'

 

I'm not interested in selling it (in fact I'm going to a jeweler in about ten minutes to see what I want to do with it), but I am interested in what happens to a diamond over time and what might need to be done. My initial plan was to look for a nice mix of colors and having a diamond/sapphire ring, but now that I have this one big solitary rock, something less 'busy' might be appropriate, particularly if sinking some money into the diamond itself to, erm, 'refurbish' it, is desirable.

 

It's currently set into a ring, so I can't see the entire thing perfectly; viewed from above it looks brilliant, but from the side it looks like it might need polishing (?) or something? I'm simply not sure what I'm talking about here: what does one do to a diamond that's been in a safe for 30+ years?

 

Also, since I will ultimately need to get it appraised (if for no other reason than to insure it), is there any potential conflict of interest in getting a recommendation for an appraiser or an actual appraisal from the jeweler I commission to do the new ring, since they're not selling me the stone? Are these two professions completely different, such that appraising versus being a craftsman are typically different people?

 

Thanks very much!

Aq

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it’s pretty obvious why to bother getting it appraised but maybe I’m biased. You’re looking for accurate information on which you can rely in order to make a $60k decision (or possibly double or half of that). Why in the world would you want to base that on an opinion from an unknown and possibly unqualified stranger using unknown methodology and who won’t even put the results in writing? I’m not seeing any downside at all to hiring a pro and to me the only issue is how to find the RIGHT appraiser. What you need is the facts, what you have is a rumor.

 

The conflict of interest between jewelers and appraisers comes when we’re appraising something that the jeweler is selling or when you are looking for independent council for your own sale and the jeweler is a potential buyer. Yes, the two professions are quite different but they often overlap in the same companies and occasionally in the same individual. Since neither of the above situations apply, I wouldn’t be especially worried about the conflict of interest problem from either a jeweler who does both or from a referral. Find a capable appraiser who is familiar with both antiques and recuts and hire them to assist. 'Free' advice is often worth considerably less than it costs.

 

'Work' probably means recutting to modern tastes or to repair nicks, chips and other damage. The desirability of this is a complicated question and it's another one for your chosen expert, not some friend of a friend of your brother.

 

Neil

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Many thanks - this confirms what I pretty much suspected; I went into Michael C Fina's (I live in NYC) and they provide an 'appraisal' on everything they sell 'for the amount that we sell it for,' basically so you can go to the insurer and verify that it's worth that much, but that seems to me not at all an appraisal since it is simply 'yes you paid market value' and not necessarily 'what this diamond is worth.'

 

I took the diamond to Leon Mege (his web site is 'the art of platinum') - he's more of a craftsman than a salesman since he makes the settings rather than selling someone else's; he suggested I get it GIA-certified due to its size and what he thought was a VS-ish clarity, but there is a small chip and something (according to whomever he took it to to get it polished) within the diamond which apparently reduces its clarity to an SI. Still - according to Leon - this is a slight reduction in value, but since it's a cushion-cut antique diamond of significant weight and because my intention is to use it rather than to sell an heirloom, it has very little bearing on what it actually looks like or how it will function in a setting. I was pretty nervous leaving the rock in his care but this guy clearly deals in much more valuable rocks than mine on a regular basis and ripping me off probably isn't even worth his time.

 

Lots of very useful info on this forum that helped me go in to it being somewhat informed rather than completely ignorant, though!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Leon is a skilled guy but he's not an appraiser. I recommend AGAINST going directly to GIA until you decide a strategy on dealing with the damage. It's actually kind of a big deal. Insurance companies will often refuse a policy on a damaged stone and setters will routinely refuse to work on them. IF you decide to get it repaired you should do it prior to sending it to GIA. You may or may not decide to have the stone worked on prior to setting but it's an important question because the GIA information will be meaningless afterwords and you'll need to do it all over again. I again recommend consulting with a real appraiser and someone who has expertise in this rather than someone who does it as a sideline.

 

Neil

 

ps. Edited to add. Kudos to Michael C Fina. I wish more jewelers took this approach to appraisals. Appraisals on new items for insurance purposes are an estimate of what it would cost to replace the item with another new one on the date of the appraisal and what better comparable is there than an actual sale on that same date of that same item between a willing buyer and a willing seller? Other types of appraisals, like the one you are asking about, are a whole different kettle of fish and most jewelers are shamefully ill qualified to do them.

Edited by denverappraiser
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Most jewelers don't have the knowledge to correctly calculate loss of carat weight involved in a re-cut repair and have to mail it out to an experienced diamond cutter to obtain this estimate.

 

Depending on the extent of damage, re-cuts can take various forms. A total recut can result in considerable carat weight whereas a minimal recut to just cover and repair the damage may result in the diamond being a bit assymetrical that will reduce face light refraction.

 

You need to be informed of your options so that you can decide which fits your obejectives the best.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, the guy is on 47th street, so there's probably not anyone who works on that block who doesn't have access to the sort of equipment and experience required.

 

He ended up recommending that it be polished/re-cut slightly to repair the chip, which he said would bring it from 3.6 to 3.5ct - which is fine with me, particularly if leaving it there (since the girdle on the diamond is thin to begin with) could open up the rock for more damage down the line.

 

Besides which, if anything happens to it, he's on the hook for more than I could probably get for it if I had to sell it at the moment, in addition to being out the $4k for the ring I commissioned - I don't think Leon is going to give it to anyone who doesn't know what he's doing. Leon himself said that I was welcome to shop around if I wanted to find a cutter who would do it more cheaply, since he only uses one or two guys he knows he can count on and so probably doesn't have the best rate.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, the guy is on 47th street, so there's probably not anyone who works on that block who doesn't have access to the sort of equipment and experience required.

 

He ended up recommending that it be polished/re-cut slightly to repair the chip, which he said would bring it from 3.6 to 3.5ct - which is fine with me, particularly if leaving it there (since the girdle on the diamond is thin to begin with) could open up the rock for more damage down the line.

 

Besides which, if anything happens to it, he's on the hook for more than I could probably get for it if I had to sell it at the moment, in addition to being out the $4k for the ring I commissioned - I don't think Leon is going to give it to anyone who doesn't know what he's doing. Leon himself said that I was welcome to shop around if I wanted to find a cutter who would do it more cheaply, since he only uses one or two guys he knows he can count on and so probably doesn't have the best rate.

 

Good clarification, thanks. Especially your option to do a modified recut that directly addresses the problem area.

Edited by barry
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I certainly would not recommend choosing a cutter based on who has the cheapest fees. Going with referral from Leon who will be setting it is a good plan. You mentioned that he would be 'on the hook' over this. Make sure you're right about this. Most cutters do not take liability for stones they work on beyond if they simply lose it or it's stolen while in their care. If the repair doesn't work out the way you are expecting, YOU are the one on the hook.

 

Neil

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
  • Create New...