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Appraisal Agency GAI & Online Shop

n24

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 16, 2016
Messages
3
Looking to purchase a vintage ring from an online retailer (am I allowed to name the shop!?) which has stated all their jewelry comes with a GAI (http://gailab.org/ )appraisal. I looked into this "3rd party appraisal company" located in the diamond district and was unable to find a ton of information besides the fact this company states all their appraisers are GIA graduates. The ring in question has .70 total carats (a few larger diamonds and then smaller ones) of F color and VS quality for a little more than $2000. The seller has been accommodating with all my questions, has sent additional pictures, and has a return policy. The sellers also state they are GIA graduates and respected in the jewelry buying/estate jewel business. I guess my question is...is this a legit company GAI? If it isn't, how much lower in quality or discrepancy could there be? I could provide the shop name (seller of the ring), but unsure if that violates community guidelines...Looking to see if I should take the plunge and purchase or keep on walking.
 

Dancing Fire

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 3, 2004
Messages
31,591
n24|1455656620|3991723 said:
Looking to purchase a vintage ring from an online retailer (am I allowed to name the shop!?) which has stated all their jewelry comes with a GAI (http://gailab.org/ )appraisal. I looked into this "3rd party appraisal company" located in the diamond district and was unable to find a ton of information besides the fact this company states all their appraisers are GIA graduates. The ring in question has .70 total carats (a few larger diamonds and then smaller ones) of F color and VS quality for a little more than $2000. The seller has been accommodating with all my questions, has sent additional pictures, and has a return policy. The sellers also state they are GIA graduates and respected in the jewelry buying/estate jewel business. I guess my question is...is this a legit company GAI? If it isn't, how much lower in quality or discrepancy could there be? I could provide the shop name (seller of the ring), but unsure if that violates community guidelines...Looking to see if I should take the plunge and purchase or keep on walking.
Good for toilet tissue!. These "no name" companies are way off compared to GIA lab.
 

denverappraiser

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jul 21, 2004
Messages
8,749
I won't get into this particular company but you've identified several 'red flags' in the industry. This applies to all appraisers, not just this one.

1) GIA graduates. Nearly everyone in the industry is some sort of GIA graduate. Taking a single seminar at a trade show is all this takes. On the other end, GIA doesn't teach so much as a single class in appraising. Their top diploma, the Graduate Gemologist, is NOT an appraisal credential, nor does GIA claim it to be one.

2) They may indeed be 'respected in the industry', but that's for you to discover, not for them to claim. If you can't find traces of them that lead you to find them to be trustworthy, don't trust them. The default answer here is NO.

3) Seller supplied appraisals are NOT independent, no matter who wrote them. If you want a 3rd party opinion to confirm or refute what the dealer is telling you, hire a 3rd party. Put another way, it's not a second opinion if it comes from the same source as the first.

4) Assuming you decide that they're unreliable, don't rely on them. Trying to convert or modify their opinions to make them into something reliable is foolish. Ignore them. If you decide they're being deceptive, don't just ignore them, ignore them AND hold it against the dealer who is asking you to rely on them.
 

Diamond_Hawk

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
Joined
Apr 8, 2014
Messages
1,221
denverappraiser|1455731097|3992120 said:
I won't get into this particular company but you've identified several 'red flags' in the industry. This applies to all appraisers, not just this one.

1) GIA graduates. Nearly everyone in the industry is some sort of GIA graduate. Taking a single seminar at a trade show is all this takes. On the other end, GIA doesn't teach so much as a single class in appraising. Their top diploma, the Graduate Gemologist, is NOT an appraisal credential, nor does GIA claim it to be one.

2) They may indeed be 'respected in the industry', but that's for you to discover, not for them to claim. If you can't find traces of them that lead you to find them to be trustworthy, don't trust them. The default answer here is NO.

3) Seller supplied appraisals are NOT independent, no matter who wrote them. If you want a 3rd party opinion to confirm or refute what the dealer is telling you, hire a 3rd party. Put another way, it's not a second opinion if it comes from the same source as the first.

4) Assuming you decide that they're unreliable, don't rely on them. Trying to convert or modify their opinions to make them into something reliable is foolish. Ignore them. If you decide they're being deceptive, don't just ignore them, ignore them AND hold it against the dealer who is asking you to rely on them.
Neil,

As concise and accurate as ever.

I'd had more, but . . . . . yeah.
 

n24

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 16, 2016
Messages
3
Thank you for your advice. The more reading and research I did, my gut just tells me to walk away. Even though the online shop has been more than accommodating with information and photos, the fact of the matter is...why are they utilizing a bogus/cheap appraisal agency? They did provide the appraisal to me (and I laughed aloud because I could have made a better looking one). The online retailer may be legit...but the bogus appraisal just undercuts their trustworthiness.
 

MollyMalone

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 2, 2013
Messages
3,084
Just a fyi: GAI seems to be a popular choice for NYC vendors peddling "no name" clarity enhanced diamonds (not enhanced by Yehuda, whose clarity enhanced diamonds are the only ones I would ever consider).
 

tyty333

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Dec 17, 2008
Messages
21,680
If the return policy is good (plenty of time, no restocking fee, etc.) then you can get it, have it evaluated by a "real" appraiser and
send it back if its not what you were expecting. "Real" appraisals cost a lot. A lot of ebay sellers (and others) give you a
cheaper not-so-great appraisals. It is up to the buyer to actually go to someone that is unbiased and to pay out of their own
pocket to get a good, unbiased appraisal.

I would certainly read all the detail to make sure the stones are not enhanced but I wouldnt let a crappy appraisal turn me off
either.

You can find unbiased appraisers in your state.
https://www.pricescope.com/appraisers
 

MollyMalone

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 2, 2013
Messages
3,084
tyty333|1455817082|3992599 said:
If the return policy is good (plenty of time, no restocking fee, etc.) then you can get it, have it evaluated by a "real" appraiser and send it back if its not what you were expecting. "Real" appraisals cost a lot. A lot of ebay sellers (and others) give you a cheaper not-so-great appraisals. It is up to the buyer to actually go to someone that is unbiased and to pay out of their own pocket to get a good, unbiased appraisal.
I would certainly read all the detail to make sure the stones are not enhanced, but I wouldn't let a crappy appraisal turn me off either.
You can find unbiased appraisers in your state.
https://www.pricescope.com/appraisers
Excellent points, tyty. I'd say that second-hand pieces in the lower price ranges from even well regarded, established estate-antique jewelry dealers (e.g., Lang in San Francisco; Single Stone in LA) are typically offered without a report from a known lab or credentialed, independent appraiser. And although this may be the hallmark of a bad PSer, I've made online purchases -- based on the dealer's photos & self-description alone -- of some relatively inexpensive, vintage/antique rings & semi-mounts that I never have had formally appraised.

I myself am OK with paying a reasonable restocking fee like that charged by Israel Rose & Single Stone, essentially equivalent to their costs of processing your payment for the returned item.
https://www.singlestone.com/customer-care/
http://www.newyorkestatejewelry.com/termsandconditions
 
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