shape
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Can you help me with this appraisal dilemma?

nwps99

Rough_Rock
Joined
Dec 23, 2015
Messages
5
Hello friends – long time reader, first time poster.

I’m having an issue with determining the appraisal value and quality of the diamond in my engagement ring, and would be thankful for any advice you can provide.

It’s a long story, so please bear with me 

My ring is 16 years old, and at the time of purchase, my now hubby went to a diamond seller and custom ring mak. At the time, I really didn’t want to pick out my own diamond, as I felt that he should go and choose it for me. I also didn’t feel comfortable telling him how much he should be spending on the diamond, so I pretty much left it to him to take care of. My understanding is that he didn’t shop around much but only went to the one jeweler.

Anyhow, he chose a diamond, I chose a very simple setting from the same jeweler, and when diamond was mounted in the setting, he went to pick it up at the jeweler by himself. He seems to recall being given some “paperwork” with the ring, but (and if you knew him, you would know that this isn’t surprising at all) he seems to have since lost all of it. (As a side note, we did not live together at the time. If we did, the paperwork would have been appropriately filed away and I would still definitely have it LOL).

Anyway, I did recently (and miraculously!) find a hand-written receipt from the jeweler for the diamond and ring and here is what it says:

Clarity – VVS2
Carat – 0.47
Colour – E

And, this isnt written on the receipt, but the cut of the diamond itself is round.

This receipt also says he put down a deposit of $575.00 and he seems to remember that he paid half up front, and the remaining half was paid when he picked up the ring. If he is remembering correctly, that would bring the total price for the ring to $1150.00 but this final total is not shown on the receipt. So… this receipt seems to have been given to him at the time of the deposit, and not the final pick up, when he would have paid the outstanding amount.

Not sure if this matters with respect to the price, but the ring itself is a plain platinum band that is a bit thicker than a typical e-ring width (according to my admittedly not-very-scientific measurements, its about 2mm wide).

A few other details that the hubby “seems to remember”:

- The jeweler told him the diamond was mined in Canada and had a “polar bear” inscription (but the inscription was not shown to my hubby)
- The jeweler told him that the appraisal was done by GemScan (but hubby doesn’t recall the appraisal value and of course, we have no paperwork to prove this)

To round-out this mess and make things even more interesting, the jeweler has since gone out of business, so its not like I can go back to them to get some kind of reappraisal or for any kind of trade-in.

So just to recap:

1. I (allegedly!) have a VVS2, E colour , 0.47 carat round diamond that may or may not be a Canadian-mined, Polar Bear inscribed diamond which is set in a platinum plain band ring which is about 2mm wide.
2. I do not have any official certificates/appraisal documentation for the diamond itself.
3. I have a hand written receipt provided at the time of the deposit for the ring, which only states the information provided in number 1 above (but that does not describe the diamond as a round cut – I can only rely on my eyeballs for that…)
4. I do not know whether the diamond is inscribed at this time
5. The ring may cost a total of $1150.00 in 1999
6. The diamond may or may not have been appraised by GemScan
7. The jeweler where the ring was custom made and from whom the diamond was purchased in 1999 has since gone out of business

What are the odds that I will ever be able to find out the quality and value of this diamond considering the above circumstances, and if that is even remotely possible, how would I go about doing so?

You may be wondering why I care all of a sudden after 16 years, and my only answer is that while this has definitely been bothering me for 16 years, I only recently decided to look into it and do something about it….which is not really an excuse, I know. Better late than never, is all I can say!

Thank you for any advice you can give!
NWPS99
 

HopeDream

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 14, 2009
Messages
2,146
Hi NWPS99,

If your diamond is inscribed, the inscription will appear on the girdle of the diamond (The skinny edge all around the diamond at it's widest). The inscription might be partially hidden by a prong. Find a Jeweler with a microscope and have them show you the inscription. If a certificate number is also inscribed on the girdle you can probably contact GemScan and order a new copy of the diamond report. A 0.47, E, VVS2, diamond sounds very probable. It's probably a lovely stone!

You could always have your diamond sent to GIA or AGS for grading if you want, but it would have to be unset and then re-set which is quite a bit of hassle.

Pics?
 

nwps99

Rough_Rock
Joined
Dec 23, 2015
Messages
5
Wow - thank you HopeDream. I will definitely start by finding out whether the inscription is visible on the stone and keep you updated. I don't think I want to bother with having the stone removed for appraisal and then reset. I'm just too suspicious of ever getting my own stone back. Plus, I am in Canada and I think I would have to send the stone to GIS in the USA for appraising, right?

I will also post pics, as soon as I can get a decent pic of the stone and ring.

Happy holidays everyone!

NWPS99
 

nwps99

Rough_Rock
Joined
Dec 23, 2015
Messages
5
Hi all,

An update on this situation....

So I have taken a look at the diamond under a 20x loupe. And believe me, I have taken a good look...while I know that I might be missing something and that the inscription may be hidden under a prong, I don't see anything inscribed on the diamond itself. I'm trying not to panic as I do realize that I'm not an expert, and I will definitely take it to a local jeweler to have them look at it in the next little while. I will report back when I have done that...

However, I did notice something odd.

Here is a pic of my ring on its side, so that you can see the setting that I am talking about.



As you can see, the setting is U-shaped. And in the bottom of that U shape, are engraved the letters DK (or possibly OK), which are clearly seen with the loupe.

Is this weird? I don't think I have ever heard of a jeweler putting any kind of mark in the setting itself. The ring is engraved with the jewelers name and "Plat", for "platinum" obviously, on the inside of the band. I just found it very weird that a jeweler would engrave anything in the bottom of a setting, as I would imagine (again, I'm no expert, but just common sense thinking here) that it would affect the reflection from the stone itself.

I was a little dismayed to find that and would love to know if I am wrong for some reason....

Some additional pics of the stone/ring along with my wedding ring (which was not purchased from the same jeweler, thankfully!), as promised...although I do realize they are not the clearest pics. Apologies!

NWPS99

img_10286.jpg

img_10287.jpg

img_10288.jpg
 

Sphene

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 4, 2015
Messages
666
Don't be surprised you cannot find an inscription on the diamond it may need 40x magnification
 

ADN

Shiny_Rock
Trade
Joined
Nov 24, 2015
Messages
311
nwps99|1450973293|3965771 said:
- The jeweler told him the diamond was mined in Canada and had a “polar bear” inscription (but the inscription was not shown to my hubby)

What are the odds that I will ever be able to find out the quality and value of this diamond considering the above circumstances, and if that is even remotely possible, how would I go about doing so?

NWPS99


Hi NWPS99 - if it has a polar bear on the girdle it would have been cut by Sirius Diamonds - I bought one for my wife way back when. :)
Odds are excellent that you can find out the quality and value of the diamond...just take it to a good appraiser :lol:
Hope this helps
 

AdaBeta27

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 7, 2004
Messages
955
I’m having an issue with determining the appraisal value and quality of the diamond in my engagement ring, and would be thankful for any advice you can provide.

Any jeweler can give you an appraisal with a valuation good enough for insurance purposes, and provide an approximate full retail value and /or a valuation for estate purposes. If you want a modern report with crown & pavilion angles and cut quality grade per the current standards, then send it to GIA or AGS for grading. Some but not all appraisers can provide that kind in information but most jewelers can't do angles and all the detail. There's a list of appraisers here:
https://www.pricescope.com/appraisers

If you want to sell or trade it, private individuals will want a new grading report from GIA or AGS, not EGL. Jewelers are going to pay you only wholesale or less, and most would probably not need a fresh grading report for a number or reasons.
 

rubybeth

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 12, 2007
Messages
2,568
nwps99|1451395259|3967788 said:
As you can see, the setting is U-shaped. And in the bottom of that U shape, are engraved the letters DK (or possibly OK), which are clearly seen with the loupe.

Is this weird? I don't think I have ever heard of a jeweler putting any kind of mark in the setting itself. The ring is engraved with the jewelers name and "Plat", for "platinum" obviously, on the inside of the band. I just found it very weird that a jeweler would engrave anything in the bottom of a setting, as I would imagine (again, I'm no expert, but just common sense thinking here) that it would affect the reflection from the stone itself.

I was a little dismayed to find that and would love to know if I am wrong for some reason....


You are wrong, but in a good way. :) An engraving or maker's mark on the setting won't affect the diamond's reflection.

Also, it seems you are confusing certification with an appraisal. A certification (which it sounds like your diamond may or may not have) is just a certificate a.k.a. piece of paper from a certification company that tells you their best assessment of the stone. In the US, you'd want to look at GIA and AGS certified stones. Other certificates are less reliable, therefore the piece of paper is less meaningful. For a stone under a half carat, there may not have ever been a certificate, or it got lost in the shuffle. Not a big deal.

An appraisal is a document typically used to insure the diamond or just confirm the details of the stone if it's uncertified; someone who knows jewelry very well will look at your jewelry and verify what's on a certification for you (matching any outside info. like a certificate with what they see in front of them), or if there's no certificate, they will estimate the details of the stone to the best of their ability (usually this is done while the stone is in a setting like yours, and appraisers have to guess at some details, because diamonds are always graded when unset--color and clarify may end up just being good guesstimates instead of exact details like you'd get with a certification), and give you a replacement value for insurance purposes. But appraisers can also be wrong, or have their own interests at heart, which is why an independent appraiser who doesn't work at a jewelry store is best, or a jeweler that doesn't do "the hard sell" and that you can trust to be honest, so you want to find someone who can tell you honestly what you have and how much to insure it for. You do not want an over-inflated appraisal for any reason--it doesn't do you any good to think your stone is "worth" more than it is, or to pay higher insurance premiums than are necessary to cover your loss.

So you have a couple options for finding out the details of the stone: certification and appraisal. Start with an appraisal to find out if the stone may be engraved with certification information. They will use a microscope to view any engravings, much more powerful than a loupe. If the appraisal doesn't satisfy you, you could have the stone unmounted and sent for certification. Honestly, for a stone under a half carat, I wouldn't bother with this. I had a stone re-certified this summer, but it's nearly 1.5 carats and I didn't want to overpay on insurance, so it was worth it to spent a couple hundred dollars to have this done, saving me hundreds of dollars each year that I insure the ring.

Now, the big question: what do you hope to do with this information? Just have peace of mind? Do you want to re-set the diamond into a new setting? Do you want to sell it, or upgrade the stone? Recommendations for how to proceed may vary based on what you plan to do.

Edited to add: the price paid for the stone years ago is also irrelevant. Don't worry at all about not having a lot of "historical" information on the stone, since facts about it can always be verified (color, clarity, cut quality, etc.) and the other details change over time (value of platinum, value of diamonds, etc.).
 

AdaBeta27

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 7, 2004
Messages
955
There have been sea changes in the diamond business from late '90s to now. Diamond prices went down in early to mid 2000s when vendors began selling over the Internet without the high profit margins (and overhead) of retail stores. Then diamonds hugely increased in price in 2008, dropped in 2009, etc. So what was paid for it 16 years ago could be too high today given the changes in prices and also the emergence of cut and light performance grading which didn't exist 16 years ago. Years ago, people bought on on color, clarity, and carat weight. Performance was a relative thing, "your" diamond compared to whatever else that particular jeweler had in stock or showed you. I am sure that the e-ring G VVS1 diamond I received in the 1990s looked better than everything else that jeweler showed us in our price range. But I'm also pretty sure that it would only get a GIA "Good" cut rating at best today.

Pricescope's chart that tracks prices:
https://www.pricescope.com/diamond-prices/diamond-prices-chart
 

MollyMalone

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 2, 2013
Messages
3,330
Actually, the AGS lab will grade diamonds that are mounted:
https://www.americangemsociety.org/mounted-diamond-evaluation-report10
But unlike GIA, they do not accept jewelry, or loose diamonds, for grading from individual consumers; the stone(s) or jewelry pieces must be sent by an AGS jeweler who has an established account with the lab & is willing to offer this service for "outside" jewelry & loose diamonds.

Lists of AGS jewelers in Canada can be accessed here;
https://www.americangemsociety.org/canada-jewelers
If you are simply wishing to appease idle curiosity re basic stats, look for a jeweler on the list who has an AGS-Accredited Gem Lab on premises. These in-house labs are pretty bare bones, however,
https://www.americangemsociety.org/accreditedgemlaborat-1
so cannot provide as much info, such as angles, re diamonds, even on loose stones, that AGS itself -- or independent appraisers with more tools-resources -- can.

The Pricescope roster of independent appraisers does not include, unfortunately, any Canadian appraisers:
https://www.pricescope.com/appraisers
If you are looking for an actual appraisal for resale or insurance purposes from an independent appraiser who's conveniently located to you, I'd suggest you start a new thread with a subject heading that makes your focus clear, e.g., Looking for independent appraiser in Montreal & also solicit recommendations as to what meaningful credentials to look for in good Canadian appraiser; odds are that few Canadian appraisers hold the credentials important to US appraisers, but do have diplomas/certificates from Canadian entities, such as the Canadian Jewellers Association that other PSers are familiar with.

Birks will also do appraisals, but I have never seen one of their appraisal reports, nor do I have any idea of how they go about making their appraisals. Perhaps another PSer can shed light on that.

P.S. I would have no qualms about sending a ring off to the independent appraisers valued by PSers (I can personally attest to David Wolf here in NYC) & feel confident that the same diamond would be returned to me. Even with a local jeweler, the risk of stone-switching is way overblown in "urban folklore".
 

nwps99

Rough_Rock
Joined
Dec 23, 2015
Messages
5
Thanks very much to all of you for your great replies. I very much appreciate them.

Especially the clarification re Certificate vs. Appraisal.

I suppose I am considering my options here - I might want to upgrade the stone, but am hesitant to do so if I can't independently verify what the stone characteristics are and what the appraisal value would be in today's dollars.

Perhaps its just easier to buy a whole new stone/ring instead of trading this one in or selling it...

Anyway, you have given me great food for thought and I really appreciate all of the information. I really enjoy reading these forums and have learned so much!

NWPS99
 

nwps99

Rough_Rock
Joined
Dec 23, 2015
Messages
5
UPDATE!

Thought I would come back to this forum (even though I have never really left – I’m always reading posts and *trying* to educate myself…) and provide you all with an update...

I found some documents (or more accurately, a family member found some documents).

Here is what we now have in terms of documents.

An (obviously VERY inflated) appraisal which is typed (yes, with a typewriter) from 1999 from the now-out of business jeweller and also signed by him.

A “Pre-Certificate” (which is actually nothing more than a small piece of paper about the size of an address label) from GemScan, confirming the following details:

0.47 ct.
VVS2
E colour
Medium/Good cut
Round Brilliant
5.11x5.16x2.94mm

The ID # on the pre-cert is blank.

There is a GS# which I assume is just a number given to the stone for inventory purposes by GemScan.

Now, before I continue, I have read all of the posts on this forum about how unreliable GemScan is (and have heard them referred to as "GemScam" on more than one occasion).

Even knowing this, since I now have a GS#, I decided to check out whether GemScan would be able to provide me with a copy of a report/certificate. For those of you who may not know, you can go in to their website and do a “report check” using this number and see if there is an existing report.

When I enter the GS# on the Pre-Cert into the GemScan website to do a “report check”, it refers me to another diamond/ring entirely. The site shows a picture of a three-stone yellow gold ring and refers to a completely different size/colour and cut of stone. What does this mean? Does this mean that a diamond report/certificate was never created for my stone? And why would another stone/ring have the same GS#?

(A link to the “report check” info page on the GemScan website, for those who are curious… http://certificate.gslaboratories.com/ )

As an FYI, I emailed GemScan to ask for clarification about a week and a half ago and have sent them a picture of my Pre-Cert. To date I haven’t had any response.

To answer a question asked earlier, I just want to have some piece of mind in respect of this stone and my ring. I know it isn’t terribly expensive or valuable, but it would be great just to know more about its characteristics, as its likely the only stone I will ever own.

Thanks for any insight that you can provide as to this situation!
 

rubybeth

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 12, 2007
Messages
2,568
Just get an updated appraisal. They can confirm details of the stone and a good valuation for insurance purposes.
 

denverappraiser

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jul 21, 2004
Messages
8,981
Get it appraised. Where are you and I'll try to give you a referral if I can. Most appraisers are experienced with examining mounted goods and although they'll probably give you a range of grades, it'll still answer the questions you have.
 
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