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Gemstone advice badly needed!

Jaybbles

Rough_Rock
Joined
Oct 3, 2011
Messages
21
Hello all,
I am new to the forum, and to colored stones in general. I have already learned a great deal reading your posts and I look forward to learning more. My mother was an avid collector. She amassed a collection of large stones (tanzanites, fire opals, sphene's etc) with the intentions of using them in future designs of her own. Unfortunately she no longer can do so due to physical/mental health issues. Her medical bills have bankrupted her and are on the verge of doing the same to me. Sorry about the sob story, but my question is where do I begin? I had a few of the stones "looked" at and was told they are worth far-less than she paid ( I have some of the invoices) and they offered me next to nothing. I realize that I need an independent appraisal, and I have found a gemologist in my area that sees well-credentialed and not involved in any aspects of purchasing or making recommendations about selling. So I am am hopeful, to at least come away from that with a clear idea of "what" exactly she has, and what it is worth. Where do I go from there???

Ebay? I can live with their fees, but it seems like stones of this size (20+ct) often go unsold. I can see where people would be understandably leery to make such a large purchase without a personal inspection. Any tips or feedback on how to handle my visit with the appraiser or what to do beyond that would be greatly appreciated!
Thank you,
Jason
 

LD

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Messages
9,714
Hello Jason and welcome to the forum :wavey:

I'm sorry to hear of your troubles and do hope things get a little easier. In terms of practicalities, the value of all your stones depends not only on size but on quality. A 20ct poor quality stone could easily sell for the same amount as a 1ct gemstone of higher quality. So with that in mind, I think you need to get your stones appraised and there will be a cost to this unfortunately. Richard Sherwood is an appraiser in the US who has been used by forum members and if you search on his name on this forum you should be able to get his contact details. I'm sure others will be along soon to help with other suggestions of who you could use.

If you look at this thread, you'll also be able to click on links to others sites that are commonly used by PS members to sell their gemstones and jewellery and hopefully that'll give you other outlets to try than Ebay. [URL='https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/announcing-the-preloved-ps-jewels-for-sale-forum.166045/']https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/announcing-the-preloved-ps-jewels-for-sale-forum.166045/[/URL]

One thing it's important to say is that unfortunately, unless your gemstones are of top quality, you may not get anywhere near what has been paid. There are exceptions of course but I just wanted to mention it so you didn't get your hopes up.

Good luck.
 

T L

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Sep 20, 2008
Messages
23,285
LovingDiamonds|1317668655|3032197 said:
Hello Jason and welcome to the forum :wavey:

I'm sorry to hear of your troubles and do hope things get a little easier. In terms of practicalities, the value of all your stones depends not only on size but on quality. A 20ct poor quality stone could easily sell for the same amount as a 1ct gemstone of higher quality. So with that in mind, I think you need to get your stones appraised and there will be a cost to this unfortunately. Richard Sherwood is an appraiser in the US who has been used by forum members and if you search on his name on this forum you should be able to get his contact details. I'm sure others will be along soon to help with other suggestions of who you could use.

If you look at this thread, you'll also be able to click on links to others sites that are commonly used by PS members to sell their gemstones and jewellery and hopefully that'll give you other outlets to try than Ebay. [URL='https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/announcing-the-preloved-ps-jewels-for-sale-forum.166045/']https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/announcing-the-preloved-ps-jewels-for-sale-forum.166045/[/URL]

One thing it's important to say is that unfortunately, unless your gemstones are of top quality, you may not get anywhere near what has been paid. There are exceptions of course but I just wanted to mention it so you didn't get your hopes up.

Good luck.
LD,
Richard quit doing appraisals not too long ago.

Jason,
Appraisals are important, but note that you will probably not get what the stones appraise for. They are primarily done for insurance purposes, and to make sure the stone/jewelry is as described.
 

LD

Ideal_Rock
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Jun 29, 2008
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9,714
TL - thank you for correcting me. I had no idea.

I wonder if a local (recommended) lapidarist or jeweller may be able to help then? If any of the stones are high quality then getting a lab report would definitely be of use in the re-sale process but you probably don't want to go to that expense if the stone is worth less than the report.
 

Jaybbles

Rough_Rock
Joined
Oct 3, 2011
Messages
21
Thank you both for the thoughtful advice! I realize that quality of paramount importance over CT. In terms of the appraisal is it somewhat subjective? Meaning, can the quality of the stones be graded in black and white ratings of color and things like that? Or is that where a lab comes in? ( I will probably take some tanzanite, a sphene, a fire opal, and a hot pink tourmaline to start, as it it is kind of expensive for me right now) Like I said I clearly, have very limited knowledge, and I am hoping to be able to say the stone is "X" with a rating of "Y". I do not want to misrepresent anything out of ignorance when I try to sell them! Thank you again your help, I am very grateful!
 

minousbijoux

Super_Ideal_Rock
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You didn't say how many stones you have, but if you have a lot, it would make sense to find a trusted appraiser who can look over the lot, and separate the wheat from the chaff. If you have varying levels of quality and clarity, you probably don't want to pay for them all to be appraised. Instead, you want the expert to tell you which ones are worth doing an appraisal on. He/she might also suggest some that would expedite the sale process if you had them certified as such and such by a reputable lab.

Good luck to you.
 

Jaybbles

Rough_Rock
Joined
Oct 3, 2011
Messages
21
Thank you minousbijoux, that makes a lot of sense! Ultimately, will I need a lab to truly qualify what something is and how its rates? What should my expectations really be for the appraisal process? I will definitely ask her to weed out what is worth appraising as she charges $85 for the first piece and I think $65 each additional. In totality, there are probably two dozen larger stones. Sad to say we have not located them all yet. She cannot remember where some were "hidden". So it will be kind of an ongoing process as they are hopefully located.

This is what I have so far: (what is written on labels anyway)

Tanzanite 1.27ct For 7.0mm Trill Mtg.
Tanzanite 22.85 ct 17.7x13.1x10.7 Cushion
Teal Tourmaline 8.03ct 10x14
Hot pink Tourmaline 8.85 CT For 14.0mm Trill Mtg.
Sphene 30.72 for 32.1x16.5x9.7mm
Spessartite Garnet .30ct 2pcs, for 3.0mm Round Mtg
Tanzanite 14.99ct 13x19 Pr (Pear I think)
Tanzanite 2.82ct For 10x8mm Oval mtg
 

LD

Ideal_Rock
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Jun 29, 2008
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9,714
Ok - well here are some thoughts!

Tanzanite - top quality, is probably around $450 per carat or thereabouts. The paler the Tanzanite the lesser quality (typically) but there are some people who much prefer the lighter stones but the value will be much lower. Also, Tanzanite should not have eye visible inclusions. So, if yours look like a dark rich velvety blue/purple and have a wonderful clarity then that's good news. Interestingly though, larger stones are much much much harder to sell and the price per carat can be lower just because of the size. The $450 is to buy from a dealer, new, so on the second hand market the price will be lower in all probability.

Teal Tourmaline - probably Indicolite. You can find quite a lot of this as it's not in short supply, although nice ones are usually snapped up quickly. Have a look at the list of vendors at the top of this part of the forum and you can probably compare what's out there and the prices. Similarly for pink Tourmaline. These both have size on their side and, if good quality, may well be sought after.

Spessartite Garnets - these can range from red to brick colour to brown to yellow and then to the coveted fanta orange. At 0.30ct these are small but may be top colour. Unfortunately at this size, the likelihood is that they won't command a huge premium.

A 30ct sphene I would love to see! I've only ever seen one that big (a pear shape) and I very very very nearly bought it but was pipped at the post. If I recall (and it was about 5 years ago) this sold for around £2,000 and I hesitated and it went! My loss!

Hope that helps.
 

VapidLapid

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 18, 2010
Messages
4,267
It may be a good sign that a jeweler told you they were worthless and then tried to buy them from you for next to nothing. That alone tells me they are worth something; if they were truly worthless, the jeweler wouldn't have wanted them. Please dont sell them until you have an honest and objective valuation. Since some of them are outstanding at least in size, if they are in other respect too you could go to an auction house's valuation days, I think they all have them, and find out what they say.
 

Arkteia

Ideal_Rock
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Joined
Nov 3, 2009
Messages
7,565
The stones may not be expensive but gold went up in price, and significantly so. So far, we do not even know what 20-ct stones you have so I can not comment on it. I am under an impression that appraisal at the jewelry exchange in my state may cost less. Maybe same holds true for others states? I would not immediately fall for offers to sell them, but it is one thing if we are speaking about a 9-ct gold ring with treated ruby in it, and another if it is an 18-ct gold. A 20-ct stone may have a lot of gold around it, even if it is not expensive.
 

Pandora II

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
9,613
Any chance of you posting some pictures.

We won't be able to give you any values but we should be able to see if they are great, have potential or are total duds.

ETA: A lab won't give you a valuation - they will just confirm that the stone is an 'x' and whether it has been treated or whatever. Appraisers give values.
 

chrono

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Joined
Apr 22, 2004
Messages
37,517
A picture or more will be helpful in allowing us to recommend that you continue on with the appraisal (or lab report) or not. The amount that you might get for each stone will depend on the quality (colour - hue, tone and saturation, clarity, carat weight, cut and overall rarity). It would make little sense in spending money on a lab report or appraisal if the stone isn't worth much.
 

Jaybbles

Rough_Rock
Joined
Oct 3, 2011
Messages
21
Wow, thank you all for taking the time to write such thoughtful responses!
I will try to post a picture to give you all an idea. I'm not sure the photo does them justice (especially the sphene!) but hopefully it can give you all an idea.
Crasu all of the stones are loose. I can’t say I would have minded
some gold to sell! But at least maybe it is easier to appraise the
stones unset?

Thank you all again for all of the information. I am indebted to you all!

2011-06-10_15-41-36_971.jpg
 

T L

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
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Messages
23,285
Are the lighter powder blue ones also tanzanites? What is the raspberry colored trillion? The larger tanzanites are fine quality, and the sphene is nice, especially because it's very large, but I'm not sure what the market is for sphene as very little people know about it, and it might be a tough sell.
 

Barrett

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 26, 2009
Messages
2,218
Looks like you may have some pickers there.. :appl:
I am assuming that green one is the huge sphene..that color looks fantastic..could it be a chrome? of that size?
I know a few of the ladies on here would love to get their hands on that green
Altough pictures only can tell so much..... I think someone was trying to pull one over on you by saying they are "worth next to nothing"
 

Justin_Cutter

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jul 20, 2011
Messages
539
Wow very nice! The larger Tanzanites are beautiful. I am so glad you did not take the dealers offer!

TL: I believe that the smaller oval/cushion and Trillion are both Tanzanite as well.

~Justin
 

LD

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Messages
9,714
The larger Tanzanites are very good - a tad too dark but still gorgeous. Definitely around $450 per carat. The smaller ones are a more marketable colour and so probably not much less in terms of price per carat maybe $375-400

The Sphene I'll have! It's FABULOUS. Unfortunately for you, as others have said it's a little known stone so unfortunately the value and selling price is limited to the market who would buy it.

The tourmalines are very nice but, from your photo, they're lovely but not top top top quality.

The spess garnets - forget about those. Somebody might like them for accents but they won't make you rich!

You haven't mentioned the opal? That looks a good size. Is it a natural, doublet or triplet do you know? I suspect it's a natural.
 

SB621

Ideal_Rock
Joined
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Messages
7,863
I'm in love with the cushion cut tanzanite. When you know your prices I do hope you put a few up for sale on the pre-loved jewels forum first...I know some PSers would be interested in several of those if they checked out.
 

T L

Super_Ideal_Rock
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This website can give you a rough estimate of what some gems might be worth.

http://gemval.com/

It's a paid site, but I think you can get a free appraisal. I just did your sphene, and if it's 30 carats as you say, that adds much to its value. I picked the best color, and made it VS clarity (not sure if it's slightly hazy with silk, than it's SI), and I got around$16K. This is retail value of course. A realistic selling value might be half that much. As for valuations done on Tanzanite, I would look at a retailer like lapigems.com that sells large fine tanzanites, and see what similar colors/quality are going for in the same carat range. Again, that's retail, you might be able to get half that value if you sell on your own.


Here are the details of your report for the variables I picked.

Average retail value
Gemstone variety: Sphene
Weight: 30.72 cts.
Color: 068 - medium yellowish Green; very slightly greyish
Clarity: VS, Eye clean 2
Cut: Good
Shape: Cushion

Value: USD 16,285.44

Warning: valuations for a Sphene over 22.00 cts may be inaccurate!

Valuation date: 04 Oct 2011

Calculated result is an approximate valuation. Factors contributing to a particular gem value can only be accurately assessed during a visual check by a specialist.
 

Jaybbles

Rough_Rock
Joined
Oct 3, 2011
Messages
21
Wow, thank you all! I am overwhelmed and at least a little optimistic now based on your comments! I will try to answer your questions the best I can below.

TL the lighter blue ones are also tanzanite (Justin is correct!). The raspberry colored trillion is a hot pink tourmaline.

Amethystguy, the green one is a sphene! I was suspicious when the jeweler who looked at them was so dismissive of their value/quality, yet willing to “take them off my hands”. When my mother was lucid, she was very passionate about gemstones, and from what I could tell from a layman’s perspective, fairly well versed and connected with reputable and knowledgeable people. So I was shocked by the jeweler's feedback.

LovelyDiamonds I forgot to mention the Opal :) I don’t know much about it unfortunately. The label my mother had on the box says it is 33.18ct. I believe my mother said it was natural, but I am not 100% sure and her memory is unfortunately no longer reliable.

Sarahbear, I will definitely list them on the pre-loved jewels forum as soon as I know what they are! I joined diamondbistro yesterday, it seems like that is the site to use, and then list the link in the forum? Is that the best way to go?

Thanks TL! That website seems like a great resource, at the very least to give me a point of reference! I have a vague recollection of seeing an invoice for that sphene that she paid 8,000 for it. So that makes sense! I could also have completely made that up! I am a bit overwhelmed at with all this!

Sorry to keep asking questions, but thank you all for sharing your knowledge and feedback!!! I guess my big question now is what do I have appraised tomorrow? And should a reputable appraisal suffice, or will I need a lab then also? (IE should I still do the appraisal or go right to a lab?) It seems like all of the stones in the photo are at least worthwhile for appraisal, except the garnets, and maybe the tourmaline? She charges I think $85 for the first piece and $65 each additional piece.

I will let you all know how it goes!
Thanks again :)
Jason
 

Justin_Cutter

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jul 20, 2011
Messages
539
I personally would have both larger Tanzanites, that amazing Sphene, and if budget would allow possibly both Tourmaline stones appraised. These are what I personally feel to be your money makers.

Its so hard to say if just the appraisal will be sufficient for achieving the best price for these stones. My appraiser is awesome but I had my sapphire appraised for insurance purposes... not for resale.

I think personally I would have a brief report done on each of them from AGL (I think this is $55 per stone). Then I would search the market extensively to see what the stones will realistically bring value wise. I would then list here on PS first, and then on eBay if they did not sell.

When I buy stones I personally don't care what a appraisal says. What I care about is that a reputable lab has confirmed that the stones are accurately described. I go into a purchase already knowing what the market value is so a appraisal is pointless to me.

Just my thoughts...hope it helps!

~Justin
 

T L

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Jaybbles|1317761883|3033222 said:
Wow, thank you all! I am overwhelmed and at least a little optimistic now based on your comments! I will try to answer your questions the best I can below.

TL the lighter blue ones are also tanzanite (Justin is correct!). The raspberry colored trillion is a hot pink tourmaline.

Amethystguy, the green one is a sphene! I was suspicious when the jeweler who looked at them was so dismissive of their value/quality, yet willing to “take them off my hands”. When my mother was lucid, she was very passionate about gemstones, and from what I could tell from a layman’s perspective, fairly well versed and connected with reputable and knowledgeable people. So I was shocked by the jeweler's feedback.

LovelyDiamonds I forgot to mention the Opal :) I don’t know much about it unfortunately. The label my mother had on the box says it is 33.18ct. I believe my mother said it was natural, but I am not 100% sure and her memory is unfortunately no longer reliable.

Sarahbear, I will definitely list them on the pre-loved jewels forum as soon as I know what they are! I joined diamondbistro yesterday, it seems like that is the site to use, and then list the link in the forum? Is that the best way to go?

Thanks TL! That website seems like a great resource, at the very least to give me a point of reference! I have a vague recollection of seeing an invoice for that sphene that she paid 8,000 for it. So that makes sense! I could also have completely made that up! I am a bit overwhelmed at with all this!

Sorry to keep asking questions, but thank you all for sharing your knowledge and feedback!!! I guess my big question now is what do I have appraised tomorrow? And should a reputable appraisal suffice, or will I need a lab then also? (IE should I still do the appraisal or go right to a lab?) It seems like all of the stones in the photo are at least worthwhile for appraisal, except the garnets, and maybe the tourmaline? She charges I think $85 for the first piece and $65 each additional piece.

I will let you all know how it goes!
Thanks again :)
Jason

If you're talking gems with very difficult to detect treatments like sapphires, a lab report with an accompanying appraisal will be required. As far as I know, tanzanites are routinely heated and that treatment makes no difference to their value (they're actually MORE valuable after heating), and sphene is not treated. However not all appraisers are equal, and some might not even know what a sphene is. You have to remember that most appraisers are only equipped to appraise diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, rubies, pearls, and other very highly marketed and popular gemstones. To properly appraise a sphene might require an appraiser that is highly experienced with exotic gems, and that might be a rarity in your area.
 

Pandora II

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
9,613
No point having a lab look at sphene (no treatments done and there is nothing to confuse sphene with out there), the tourmalines (any treatments used are not detectable), the garnets, or the tanzanites (they are pretty much all heated).

A good appraiser with gemmological training and most importantly a firm knowledge of coloured stones and their market should be more than enough.

That sphene looks very clean as well - potentially a world-class piece that you might want to get proper advice on where to market it.
 

minousbijoux

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Messages
12,424
Pandora - could an appraiser tell if they were synthetic? I would want to take that worry off the table. That sphene is fantastic because its so green.

I have a tanzanite of similar size, shape and color (perhaps slightly lighter than yours) to your big one that I bought within the last few years at a gem show. I think for your stones, a gem show might also help you get a better sense of the value. It also might be worth your while, since you said your Mom was fairly knowledgeable, to look around in case she had any of the stones certified by a lab, or maybe got a cert with a stone when she bought it.

Just a reminder that the prices that LD mentioned are what a dealer might get - as a private party, you should expect to get less, but hopefully still enough to make you happy :$$):
 

Pandora II

Ideal_Rock
Joined
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Messages
9,613
minousbijoux|1317785948|3033558 said:
Pandora - could an appraiser tell if they were synthetic? I would want to take that worry off the table. That sphene is fantastic because its so green.

I have a tanzanite of similar size, shape and color (perhaps slightly lighter than yours) to your big one that I bought within the last few years at a gem show. I think for your stones, a gem show might also help you get a better sense of the value. It also might be worth your while, since you said your Mom was fairly knowledgeable, to look around in case she had any of the stones certified by a lab, or maybe got a cert with a stone when she bought it.

Just a reminder that the prices that LD mentioned are what a dealer might get - as a private party, you should expect to get less, but hopefully still enough to make you happy :$$):
There aren't any synthetics of those species available. In any case, an appraiser who is also a gemmologist could spot if they were synthetic or not. Most of the tests that a lab does I can do on my kitchen table (polariscope, RI, spectrum, magnification etc) - it's only where you need the big guns that they come into their own - so any decent gemmologist can do the same in their office.
 

Jaybbles

Rough_Rock
Joined
Oct 3, 2011
Messages
21
Well I met with the appraiser this morning. Judging by the litany of certificates on her wall and the dates of different certification she has been in the game 25+ years. She seemed knowledgeable and pretty straightforward, but in terms of keeping me in the loop as she worked with each stone or explaining much, she left a bit to be desired. If I didn’t specifically ask a question it didn’t get answered. The whole thing was a bit awkward really.
Anyway, I explained my purpose for the visit, and based on what I am trying to do she thought the best bet would be for her to prepare reports on each stone, cut, color, quality, etc (is that right? She rattled the criteria off rather quickly). She said the reports will focus on the nuts and bolts classifications so I can share them with potential buyers. As for values she is preparing recommendations based on the reports, but not official “appraisals” I guess. Does that sound copacetic? It made sense to me at the time. Getting a read on reaction was like watching wallpaper. Once nice thing though is the majority of the stones were slightly higher in terms of ct. than what the labels said.

When I asked if anything jumped out at her, either positive or negative, she said “they are nice stones”. That was it, no emotion, and I was too nervous to press her! She did say one couldn’t help but be skeptical of the tanzanites, because the size in her opinion was very uncommon. I think she said they were a tiny bit darker than the ideal, but everything “checked out”. So as you can imagine, I am anxious to see the reports and see what the final say is. I hoped to have a better inclination to calm my nerves a bit, but I am glad its sounds like the report will be thorough. I should have them by the end of the week. Oh yeah, she is preparing reports on all each of the stones pictured except the opal and the garnets.

You have all been so helpful and I wanted to keep you all in the loop! I should have the reports in a few days.
 

VapidLapid

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 18, 2010
Messages
4,267
'm glad to hear you are moving in the right direction with this. Im surprized you arent having the opal checked out. My guess on that is that at 33 carats it is in the 52x36 mm range. if it is solid, has nice play of color and mobility it could be anywhere in the $1,000-$10,000 range.
 

Barrett

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 26, 2009
Messages
2,218
Refreshing to see someone actually come on here and instead of already having their own idea and making their own assumptions prior they took some of the advice given and went forward with it. Usually someone comes on with preconceived notions of what they "think" they have and just want justification and get pissy when they don't get to hear what they want...or...they ask some questions and never show back up so we know what happened or follow through with the advice given. Jaybbles, thanks for listening to some of the advice given and keeping us up-to-date on whats happening. Like I said, it's refreshing to see someone who listens for a change. Especially when many of the people on here know a thing or two about stones.....
 
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