The key word in independent diamond appraisal is independent. When people think about getting a jewelry appraisal for insurance purposes, or to find out if their diamonds are real, they don't give enough thought to who is going to do it. Most will find the easiest and most convenient source, but that may not always be the best decision.
Many jewelry stores have appraisers but remember that many jewelry stores are in the business of selling and buying stones (and jewelry) so you can never be too sure of what factors went into your appraisal or their motives for giving the appraisal that they did.
That's not to say that there aren't lots of good and honest independent appraisers out there who work in stores, there are, but it is something to consider.Diamond and jewelry appraisal is important for two reasons.
The first and most obvious, especially when it comes to diamonds, is so that you know exactly what you have—particularly if your stone didn't come with any GIA type of certification. Is it a real or fake diamond? What's the size and grade?
Engaging Tip: Always buy a diamond that comes with a certificate, especially if it's larger than .30 carats. It isn't necessary for smaller diamonds that are part of the setting because the value is always in the center stone.
The most reliable and fastest way to validate any doubts regarding the authenticity of your diamond engagement ring is with an independent diamond appraisal (or jewelry appraisal).
The second reason is for insurance purposes because all good jewelry is a financial, as well as, emotional investment and it needs to be protected. That's why we always recommend engagement ring insurance and insuring any other precious jewelry you may own.
We'll say it again, if you paid a pretty penny for your engagement ring or other jewelry make sure that, at the very least, it's covered by your existing insurance policy. Ideally, you want a separate jewelry insurance repair and replacement policy that will cover you in the event of loss, theft, and damage. And a proper jewelry appraisal specifically done for insurance purposes is the only way to start.
The best way to ensure you find an independent jewelry appraiser that you can trust is through a larger association that upholds its members to strict standards and ethics.
In the U.S., check out the American Gem Society (AGS). Their website is terrific and lets you search for an accredited jewelry appraiser by state or by zip code:
For Canadians, the Canadian Jewellers Association (CJA) has a similar search. You simply enter your location and they bring back the results for your city or town. By the way, AGS also offers a Canadian search.
For those of you who live in other parts of the world, the main diamond certifications come from IGI (International Gemological Institute), the EGL (European Gemological Laboratory) HRD Antwerp so there is a good chance your diamond appraisal may come with a certificate from one of these organizations.
You can also do a quick search online to find a comparable organization in your country if none of these service your part of the world. Pricescope.com is also a good resource for finding appraisers worldwide.
Whether you go through one of the more official organizations (which is what we recommend) or find your own appraiser, here are a few things to consider:
It isn't necessary that they evaluate your engagement ring in front of you, if you trust your appraiser. If you prefer, you can just drop it off and pick it up once the diamond appraisal is complete. That's what we did and we had no problems but thought we should mention it.
Finally, diamond appraisal and jewelry appraisal in general can have different values assigned to it depending on the purpose of the report.
The value assigned for insurance purposes will factor in all aspects including raw materials, workmanship, detailing and rarity while a standard appraisal focuses on the value of raw materials and what the piece is worth. So, make sure that you talk to the appraiser and tell them purpose of the appraisal before they start.