How Much Should Diamond Jewelry Appraisal Cost?

Sharif Khan
Sharif Khan
Last Updated    EST 
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For people 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, several factors exist that make diamond appraisals and grading things to take with a pinch of salt.

Check out this quick diamond-buying cheat sheet.

Appraisal for Diamond Jewelry

The diamond appraisal 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 estimate the stone’s market value. While diamond appraisers usually lack the level of sophistication found in jewelry certification labs, their job extends far beyond merely looking at a diamond and guessing a price based on its appearance. They utilize special equipment to inspect the diamond’s interior and exterior to measure any features or flaws affecting its value. Apart from the value, appraisals should provide the diamond’s owner with information such 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.

Certification vs. Appraisal

While one might wonder at the difference, if any, between a diamond certification and appraisal, it lies in the fundamental objectives of the two processes. Certification is intended to assign a grade to the different features of a diamond, eventually classifying it in relation to other diamonds. On the other hand, Appraisals are intended to evaluate the diamonds wholly and then estimate their 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. If 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.

If one were to painstakingly search for a completely independent diamond appraiser, a new problem would rear its head: anyone can refer to themselves as an independent diamond appraiser. No law requires diamond appraisers to be registered or licensed before they begin to ply their trade. A substantial percentage of those who claim to be diamond appraisers are called “quacks” by those within the industry. As in other professions, the term means they are self-acclaimed and lack 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 be scrutinized.

Even if a person finds an appraiser with all the necessary training, the certification to prove it, and complete independence, many people who advertise themselves as diamond appraisers have been trained in gem identification and evaluation for certification purposes, not a necessary appraisal. Proper market research is often not within the scope of their skills. 

Appraisal Cost

In terms of cost, if you pay over $120 for it, you're paying too much, especially for a simple engagement ring or one diamond. However, jewelry with many stones and details might cost more.