Accredited independent gemological laboratories can only issue a gem lab certificate for a diamond or precious gem. A retail jewelry store cannot issue a gem lab diamond certificate.

The retail jewelry store should give you the gem lab certificate for the diamond or precious gem before the purchase.

The certificate allows you to go to a third party (such as Diamond Inspector) for an independent price report. Visual inspection by a third party inspector will also verify that the certificate does represent the diamond.

The certificate (the cert) analyzes the specific qualities of the diamond or precious gem in detail, but does not offer a price evaluation. Certificates do not change over time. The certificate will represent your diamond and precious gem for a lifetime.

Appraisals and Appraisers

Diamond Inspector will issue you a price report appraisal update for pre-existing original appraisals issued by a retail jeweler, gemologist or professional appraiser.

An original appraisal, issued by a retail jeweler, gemologist or professional appraiser should include all the information on the certificate of the diamond or precious gem, plus the information of all the components of the finished piece of jewelry, such as precious metal and description of the jewelry.

The appraisal should include a price, related to the intent of the appraisal. There are different types of appraisals with different pricing for each type of intended appraisal use. Several different types of appraisals are:

Retail insurance replacement pricing;

Cash value FMV sale pricing;

Probate estate evaluation pricing;

Antique evaluation pricing;

Quality and price confirmation appraisals.

The appraisal is usually less detailed than a certificate issued by a gemological laboratory, but some professional appraisers and jewelry stores issue appraisals that rival the details of a gem lab certificate. Click here to learn more about the questions to ask…

FAQ: How to Use Appraisals for maximum benefit

Q: Why do I need an appraisal if I already have a gem lab certificate for my diamond ring ?

A: The gem lab certificate represents the qualities of the diamond, not including the ring or jewelry that it is set into. In addition, the gem lab certificate does not include a price. You need an independent appraisal that identifies the exact quality and total value of the diamond and the jewelry combination. The appraisal can be used for obtaining insurance on the jewelry you own. The gem lab certificate helps identify the diamond, but does not include the value of the complete jewelry item.

Q: What is the difference between an appraiser and gemologist?

A: The appraiser is trained to identify, analyze, and price the qualities of a gemstone in the marketplace. An appraiser can be accredited by an appraisal organization or not. A gemologist is credentialed by a gemological organization. A person could be both a gemologist and an appraiser. An appraiser can also be a gemologist, but is not required to be so.

An appraiser can be a member of an accredited appraisal association, but is not required to do so. Also, an appraiser who has been in the industry for over 20 years may have more expertise than a gemologist who just received the gemologist accreditation. It is important to realize that accreditations are just that, a diploma on the wall. The level of expertise and skill is what is hard to identify.

Q: The retail jeweler issued an appraisal for jewelry he sold me. The retail price is higher than what he charged me. Is this ethical?

A: The appraisal is ethical if the jeweler stated he sold the jewelry and made the appraisal. In addition, price is based on the market. If you saw an item of jewelry for a higher price, and next week it went on sale for 50% off the previous price, what is the real price?

If you purchased an item of jewelry 30% below the regular retail prices, should the appraisal list the price you paid or the market price, which is 30% higher? You must understand the product and the current market prices to fully understand how your jewelry should be appraised.

Q: I just purchased a certified diamond set into an engagement ring. I am insecure about the purchase and want to verify that the diamond I just purchased is exactly the same specs as the seller said it was, and that I paid a fair price. What should I do to verify that my purchase?

A: When you purchase the ring, you need the following information from the seller: gem lab certificate hard copy (usually laminated), paid receipt showing the price you paid with the certificate specs clearly written on the receipt, and the ring. Take all three to an independent appraiser or gemologist who does not sell jewelry, and only appraises. Select the appraiser yourself, rather than being referred by the seller. Ask the appraiser to determine if the diamond and ring qualities match the information on the certificate and receipt, and that the price you paid is within the market range for that quality of jewelry. If the appraisal does not match the specs on the certificate or the receipt, immediately go back to the seller and request a new ring that matches the quality you paid agreed to purchase.

Q: I just purchased an engagement ring and I would like to have it insured. What information do I need to properly insure my jewelry?

A: Get an appraisal from your appraiser, gemologist or jeweler, or use Diamond Inspector Appraisal Update Service at this website. Submit the appraisal along with a photocopy of the gem lab certificate to the insurance company of your choice. Based on your insurance company and type of policy, you have a choice of coverage. Please study your insurance policy and ask your insurance agent questions to get the best coverage to protect your diamond and jewelry purchase.