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For people who are
interested in buying diamonds for personal use; engagement rings or other types
of jewelry or as an investment, one of the most recurring pieces of advice will
be to get the stone appraised as fast as possible. While this is indeed good
advice and it is usually beneficial to get a third-party opinion on exactly
what the diamond you bought would be worth, should you decide to sell it at
some point, a number of factors exist that make diamond appraisals and grading
things to take with a pinch of salt.
The diamond appraisal itself is a process by which an appraiser, usually a certified gemologist or someone otherwise trained in the certification of diamonds, conducts a thorough inspection and assessment of the diamond, after which they provide an estimate of the stone’s market value. While diamond appraisers are usually lacking the level of sophistication that can be found in jewelry certification labs, their job extends far beyond merely looking at a diamond and guessing a price based on how nice it looks. They utilize special equipment that allows them to inspect both the interior and exterior of the diamond to measure any features or flaws that would affect its value. Apart from the value, appraisals should provide the owner of the diamond with such information as; whether or not the diamond is real, whether it has been altered or enhanced in any way and how accurate, or inaccurate, the certificate is.
While one might wonder at the difference, if any, between a diamond certification and appraisal, it lies in the fundamental objectives of the two process. Certification is intended to assign a grade to the different features of a diamond, eventually classifying it in relation to other diamonds. Appraisals on the other hand, are intended to evaluate the diamonds wholly and then make an estimate as to its value in the open market.
The first issue that arises when one is contemplating getting a diamond appraised is the fact that oftentimes, the diamond appraisers are affiliated, either openly or covertly, with jewelers and jewelry stores, putting them in a position where their appraisals are tilted in favor of the jewelry stores, giving the client an exaggerated amount as the worth of their diamond. In the event that the person eventually tried to sell the diamond, they would be thoroughly disappointed at the offers they would get from different buyers; usually a fraction of what was stated in the appraisal.
In the event that one were to painstakingly search for a completely independent diamond appraiser, a new problem would rear its head: any person can refer to themselves as an independent diamond appraiser. There is no law that requires diamond appraisers to be registered or licensed before they begin to ply their trade. A substantial percentage of the people who claim to be diamond appraisers are called “quacks” by those within the industry. Here, as in other professions, the term means that they are self-acclaimed and lacking any proper or formal education in diamond appraisal and gemology. Giving a diamond to an appraiser that falls into this category will result in the appraisal being handled without the requisite knowledge and methodology, resulting in a substandard appraisal that would never stand up to scrutiny.
Even were a person to find an appraiser with all the necessary training, the certification to prove it and complete independence, the fact remains that a lot of people who advertise themselves as diamond appraisers have been trained in gem identification and evaluation for certification purposes and not necessary appraisal. Proper market research is often not within the scope of their skills.
In terms of cost, if you pay over $100 for it, you're paying too much especially if it is for a simple engagement ring or one diamond. However, if it is for a piece of jewelry that has many stones and details, it might cost more.