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GIA Past owner history, past appraisal history.

lumpmanradical

Rough_Rock
Joined
Aug 12, 2016
Messages
8
I'm curious as to how the GIA handles records as far as you all know and this forum had a ton of awesome threads that eliminated a wide field of questions but not this one.

Does the GIA keep records of each appraisal done on a diamond? I have a diamond that I am getting appraised but I am coming into it and want to determine how my family member got it, when they got it and though I know the cut, I want to know if there will be an issue if it is stolen proving it's mine, as it was never handed down in a will, but rather in a box that was labelled for me. I know, that's insane, but family is crazy. There was no certification and I've only recently become interested in getting it graded. The appraiser knew it was cut in 1992 and found a serial number, but once I get the GIA certification back does it prove I own it? Does it show up as hers still unless transferred through some other means? Does the GIA keep a record of each person getting certification?

Basically I'm worried something will happen to this (was valued at about $12,000 resale, 45,000 for insurance) and want to make sure the options I have before me are all the ones I can use!

Thanks so much for any responses.
 

denverappraiser

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jul 21, 2004
Messages
8,746
GIA doesn't do appraisals. If it was submitted previously to one of their labs, they can usually tell, and they would presumably know who the previous client was, but they won't even provide THAT without a court order. They don't know ownership on stones they grade, just the identity of who submitted, which would usually be a jeweler. In no way does showing a stone to a lab, or hiring an appraiser to inspect and value it, mean anything at all regarding ownership.
 

lumpmanradical

Rough_Rock
Joined
Aug 12, 2016
Messages
8
Ok I think that's a good thing for me then. I'm assuming if it is stolen/lost/damaged and I report it I won't have an uphill battle with the GIA side of things? I checked and it seems I in that event will have to hope my local PD files with the GIA, or my insurance does? That way if someone finds it, or steals it, I'd be notified? Even if through those agencies?

I guess I am not too worried as the previous owner is the deceased relative and no one in my family disputed their inheritances. Just like to be safe!
 

Gypsy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
40,198
If the retail price is 12k you need to fire your appraiser for 40k insurance appraisal. All they are doing is inflating your premiums. Insurance companies do not pay out based on inflated appraisals. They replace with like kind and in event of payout they pay retail value. They aren't stupid, but your appraiser seems to think you are. 15k is reasonable. 40k is stupid.
 

denverappraiser

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jul 21, 2004
Messages
8,746
Catching and convicting thieves is not the same thing as recovering stolen property which is not the same as being made whole again in the case of a loss.

Catching crooks is mostly outside of the scope here. That's the police doing police work and mostly isn't about you or your jewelery. Convicting them might be. That involves your original documentation and your ability to proof positively identify your piece in a lineup. That's harder than you think. Gemprint.com offers a cool service for this for example, and it gets you a discount at many of the major insurance carriers as well. Girdle inscriptions are helpful. Lots of photographs. Obviously keep the receipts if you have them. 3rd party appraisals, meaning an appraisal from a source other than you or the seller, improves the credibility dramatically.

Recovery is problematic but that also has a lot to do with paperwork and your local PD. Pictures are especially important as well as visible serial numbers and things like weights, stone counts, dimensions and so on. Basically, the better your description is, the better your chances of recovery become. This is another area where Gemprint can be helpful by the way. With big stones, the insurance discount is sort of a slam dunk in terms of pricing and if your stolen diamond ends up in the hands of some new innocent buyer who then registers it in order to get the discount, that will spot the flag if some insurer or law enforcement agency has flagged it as stolen.

Replacement is also based on that description and the pictures. The usual procedure for an insurance carrier to process a claim in the case of a loss is to use a specialty jeweler who will replicate the piece. The more they know the better and the 'purchase order' for the replacement will be the description section of the appraisal you have on file with them. The better that is, the easier it is for them to do the job you want.
 

John Pollard

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
May 1, 2008
Messages
3,558
The answers above have great information. Adding my 2 cents here.

1. RE Appraisals: Some appraisers promote themselves as GIA-certified (they should not) but independent appraisers have no connection to GIA lab-grading or recordkeeping. The document they produce is typically for their client and no-one else.

2. RE Inscription: That info will help to see what the grading was back in 1992. Since that time GIA has started grading cut for round brilliants (as of 2005). If that's the shape you have it may be time for an updated report (which would require sending it to GIA lab) and/or an updated appraisal for insurance by an independent appraiser.

3. RE Loss/Theft/Damage: Absolutely get it appraised. Neil Beaty, posting in this thread, is one of the world's finest appraisers (I am not exaggerating) and works long-distance. Or you may have a good independent appraiser near you. Be sure it's someone who does not sell gems and jewelry; a true independent is in the business of working for you, not working for a store.

4. RE Insurance: I suggest not putting jewelry on homeowners' insurance. They will typically keep you out of the replacement process, working with their own "broker" to replace with "like kind" with results that are out of your control, less than optimal and typically requiring some significant deductible. I highly recommend Jewelers' Mutual, who are not expensive at all and permit you to work with the professional of your choice should replacement be needed. There is also Chubb, offering a cash-out option instead of replacement (not available everywhere).

5. RE Valuation: Read what Gypsy wrote. The number that should be used for insurance is the amount it's practical to replace the piece for. A good appraiser will guide you through the steps needed to know what you have, how to document/record all details of the piece, what you should insure it for (now and when to increase that amount) and what insurance options are available.

Best wishes,
 

lumpmanradical

Rough_Rock
Joined
Aug 12, 2016
Messages
8
Guys thanks so much. I am awaiting the appraisal and the resources and knowledge shared here has set many things at ease!

I will attempt to discuss the insurance and retail value issue when I pick up the report. Also while Gemprint looks like a good service I'm surprised that this isn't a natural part of the GIA grading and certification process. Or am I just not seeing that they utilize GIA databases? That's kind of insane that GIA doesn't track stolen diamonds or if they do that they didn't see the value in providing another service that would be trusted due to the GIA name?

Maybe I'm missing something there, just seems like good business to have another simple database service attached to your preexisting one?
 

Wink

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
May 3, 2001
Messages
7,471
denverappraiser|1471046624|4065306 said:
GIA doesn't do appraisals. If it was submitted previously to one of their labs, they can usually tell, and they would presumably know who the previous client was, but they won't even provide THAT without a court order. They don't know ownership on stones they grade, just the identity of who submitted, which would usually be a jeweler. In no way does showing a stone to a lab, or hiring an appraiser to inspect and value it, mean anything at all regarding ownership.
When I started my business in 1979 I used to submit diamonds to GIA for what we then called certificates. (Even then the terminology was in error, but the industry as a whole called them certs, the error of which was made clear when Neiman Marcus lost a law suit in 1980, if my memory serves me correctly, when a diamond that they sold as a GIA certified D-IF was sent to be repapered and came back with a GIA Diamond Grading Report as a D-VVS1 or VVS2. Neiman Marcus lost that case and paid a huge piece of money to the "injured" client. Neiman Marcus then sued the GIA for not honoring their certificate and had their hat again handed to them when it was made clear that the report was NOT a certificate, but a report of their opinion and that GIA does not stand behind their opinions.)

Sorry, I digress. When I would submit diamonds for a certificate, ah, er, I mean report, I would ask it to be made out in the name of the client for whom I was submitting the diamond. Obviously this was before it was standard practice to provide a report with most diamonds sold. After about a year or so of doing this, I got a letter from GIA advising me against doing this as it was causing some few people to submit diamonds for new reports when they were bought with someone else's name on them.

Now, of course, there is no place for a "To Whom It May Concern" or other name, as this was long ago recognized as totally unnecessary.

Just a piece of "nickel fact" as a good friend of mine calls trivial knowledge.

Oh, and as to proving ownership, I do not think you have anything to worry about. If you are concerned though, consult an attorney in your State who knows your State's laws.

I have worked with several elderly couples who came to me over the years to assist in dividing their treasures to be given to their heirs in approximately equal piles. Usually this was accomplished in conjunction with the someday to be heirs sitting in the room with us and telling which pieces they had preferences for. It would warm your heart to know how often two or more wanted the same piece(s) and came to amicable agreements as to how to share the treasures fairly between them.

I think that is more common than not, although i have heard my share of horror stories through the years too.

Wink
 

denverappraiser

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jul 21, 2004
Messages
8,746
lumpmanradical|1471100966|4065511 said:
Maybe I'm missing something there, just seems like good business to have another simple database service attached to your preexisting one?
It's not so simple. They don't know who owns what, and even if someone were to tell them, who should they believe? What about people who don't want this sort of information made publicly available, which is nearly everyone? What do you do when someone sells or inherits something? A database would be easy enough, but data integrity would be impossible and the liability exposure would be enormous.
 

John Pollard

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
May 1, 2008
Messages
3,558
It may be useful to know that, in the big picture, attempts to track/ID stolen diamonds are largely impractical.

Why? GIA and other labs do store data and 3D scans. But thieves smart enough to get away with a big heist will polish away inscriptions and alter facets so the diamonds don't match prior records. Shoplifters, burglars and purse-snatchers are not as clever, but they're not usually GIA clients either. The unscrupulous fence to whom they unload hot goods likely knows how to spoof the system.

The sad truth is that individual stolen diamonds go largely undetected and unreturned. That's why I stress the importance of a good insurance policy; no different than protecting your house or car.

Sometimes there's a happy ending... I got to experience parts of this news story in-person, as the jewelry store that was robbed is one of our brand's dealers.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/florida-jeweler-tracks-stolen-rare-diamond-halfway-world/story?id=29420526

GIA's stored data certainly helped in that story, but the recovery of this 6.04 carater (!) was due to lazy thieves who made no alterations to carat weight or proportions, and especially to the proactive vigilance of the victims.
 

lumpmanradical

Rough_Rock
Joined
Aug 12, 2016
Messages
8
Again the knowledge is much appreciated. It's really insane that if someone was to steal this diamond I'd have to be the main force behind getting it back, however I SHOULD be the main driver for that. I just think of the standard person that can't seem to figure out half the things in the world they NEED to and feel sorry for them. I have also heard horror stories about stolen rings being largely ignored by the police. I do have all my purchase records and will now have pictures and GIA certs, appraisal and everything made in duplicate when possible and I keep digital records in safe places of all my documents. I feel secure knowing a little more know about how this works, the forum and site in general are pretty awesome!

As for people stealing diamonds, I guess I thought the GIA would be relevant in that but I know they can't be doing proof of ownership, thanks denver and wink for the insight! It is good to know they can help detect some individual stolen diamonds, I'm not so worried about owning more than one, so my concern is loss or theft of just my one precious ring here. I'm sure I'll have a bit more piece of mind with the appraisal documents in hand and matching my pictures and serial number. It's a 2.4 carat center diamond so I'm pretty sure those are easier to cert map.

One final question, what year did cert mapping of diamonds start occuring and was it a good database or were many records lost in the pre PC everywhere age? I am curious about seeing what the cut was pre 1992 and hope to try and get a map of it before and after!
 

denverappraiser

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jul 21, 2004
Messages
8,746
The GIA approach to diamond grading was developed in the 30's and included the inclusion map. The lab has been operating since the 70's and the reports always included the map up to the point that they introduced the 'dossier' service. I think that was about 2000 or so and those all include the serial number on the girdle. The cut grading system started in 2006. If you want a cut grade from them on a stone they graded before that, you have to send it back for a new inspection.
 

AdaBeta27

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 7, 2004
Messages
906
Just fyi, lumpmanradical, trying to trace a diamond long-term is mostly futile, anyhow. Trade-in diamonds and "used" diamonds that retailers, distributors, or private individuals buy or take in on trade will usually be sent in for a fresh report. based on the current condition and carat weight of the "used" diamond. Some diamonds could have had several reports issued on them over the years, depending on how often they have changed owner. I traded one in on an upgrade diamond, and the vendor sent it to GIA, got a new report, and relisted that diamond on their web site, where it was subsequently resold. It had nothing inscribed, so it went out under a new GIA report number. GIA looks at a snapshot in real time, not history, in most cases.

Unless there is an inscription on the diamond, there would be no number to trace throughout the years. Each time the diamond goes through the lab, is is freshly graded based on its current condition. Diamonds don't necessarily remain the same forever, either. Clarity can degrade over the years do to wear, chips, and abrasions. Or clarity might improve if the diamond is repolished, but then the diamond loses a bit of carat weight in the process. In some cases, people have the diamond re-cut either to improve performance or to repair damage or to salvage a smaller diamond from a damaged one that can't be repaired. Or even to change its look entirely. iirc, there was one person on here who had her modern H&A RB recut into an Old European Cut make, which would have a completely different look and completely different proportions from a modern H&A. Nor do cut grade standards remain the same. There never even used to be a cut (performance) grade on RBs. Then it took a few years and revisions to get all of that agreed upon, and there is nothing to prevent some future changes in opinion or standards from redefining what's used today.
 

lumpmanradical

Rough_Rock
Joined
Aug 12, 2016
Messages
8
So in the case of my diamond, which I'm still awaiting appraisal on, does it being a Lazare mean it's registered in the GIA database? Do they work together? I know the Lazare insurance or whatever they offer is not up to date on this, but that's how I already knew it was re cut in 92'. Do Lazare send that info to the GIA? If not then my appraisal is NOT the same as a GIA report, I'd need to get that done separately yes? I guess what it comes back around to then, and apologies about asking almost the same question, if there has been a record with Lazare only in my files, is there ANYWAY to find if there was a GIA cert passed on my diamond in the past? Assuming they don't share databases.
 

LadyMCh

Shiny_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 30, 2016
Messages
318
Lazare is a brand. They do not share databases with GIA. GIA also has nothing to do with appraisals. If you want GIA to grade your diamond, you have to send it to GIA to get a GIA certification.
I recently had a stone graded by GIA in Carlsbad, CA. If you don't live in the area, you have to send the diamond there. Before mailing, we got the stone appraised, insured it, and then sent the package overnight insured by FedEx.
Fees for diamond grading are by carat weight. A 2.4ct stone would be $169. Here's the link to the GIA website (I hope I'm okay posting this!) where you can see the fees for the grading report: http://www.gia.edu/gem-lab-service/diamond-grading
While at GIA, you can get the GIA report # laser inscribed on the girdle if you wish: http://www.gia.edu/gem-lab-service/diamond-services
However, as other posters have pointed out, if the diamond is ever stolen, don't hold your breath to get it back. Get the stone/ring insured. We have a "cash out" option, meaning they pay us the appraised replacement value of any stolen items so we can choose how we want it replaced should that ever happen. Otherwise, it's replaced with something the insurance company deems to be "like" what you had. The appraisal is for insurance purposes.
 

LadyMCh

Shiny_Rock
Premium
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Jun 30, 2016
Messages
318
Just to clarify...GIA does not "certify". They issue grading reports.
Lazare is a private brand. It appears from some of the other posts on this database that they grade their own stones, which means they would not have a GIA grading report and that if you want one, you'd have to buy it.
 

lumpmanradical

Rough_Rock
Joined
Aug 12, 2016
Messages
8
Thanks so much, all these answers wrap up the MANY questions I had about this diamond AND the diamond maze of labs, appraisers and jewelers. Really amazing how much there is to learn about such things.
 

diamondseeker2006

Super_Ideal_Rock
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55,611
This is really not complicated at all. You have a family diamond and you want a valuation of that diamond so it can be insured in case of loss. You never want an inflated appraisal, so never accept a $45k "insurance value" when the diamond can be replaced for half that much. You want to cover it for what it would cost to replace it and not a penny more.

If you use someone like Neil Beaty, who I also highly recommend, he will do your appraisal and handle sending the diamond to GIA for grading for you. It is not very expensive and much easier for him to do that for you to do it. All you do is send him the diamond by USPS Registered Mail (the safest way to send a diamond insured, which will be tricky because you do need a value that can be proven, so maybe get a simple local appraisal first just to be able to insure it during mailing). He will handle the appraisal and GIA grading and return the diamond and the other information to you so that you can get regular jewelry insurance immediately when your get it back.

An individual who has a diamond stolen rarely is going to get it back, so realistically, that is why we get insurance on pieces too valuable to replace ourselves.
 

lumpmanradical

Rough_Rock
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Aug 12, 2016
Messages
8
Would they remove the lazare serial and inscribe a GIA serial? Is it easier to retrieve even if it is a rare occurence with that instead of the lazare number?
 

Gypsy

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Aug 8, 2005
Messages
40,198
No they aren't going to remove anything. Not GIA not an appraiser. It is your stone, they will follow your instructions. You want both inscriptions on there, then they will have them both.

What are you so worried about? What is going on that you are so stressed about this?

As DS said, this is a very simple routine thing.

My grandmother didn't have any kind of will. She was a jewelry collector. Just just told my mom who got what. And my mom made sure everyone got their pieces. No stress involved. All I did was have the pieces that were mine appraised and added to my insurance policy, then I stuck them in the safety deposit box we rent. End of story.

It's a diamond. They get passed on all the time. You don't even have to have GIA inscribe your stone if you don't want (I think, this may have changed).

Just take a deep breath.

If it was appraised at 12k, then you are talking about a two carat stone at maximum, most likely, if lower color. Or if it is high color and clarity then a bit over a carat. It's not the Hope Diamond. I understand it has sentimental value for you.

If you have any questions at all about how the GIA operates, call them. Or look on their website. The process is very transparent. Same with any REPUTABLE appraiser. They are very transparent as well.

YOU NEED TO INSURE IT AFTER YOU APPRAISE IT. We recommend Jewelers Mutual for insurance. And a different appraiser than the 40K person for that too. Jewelers Mutual is also transparent so you can call and talk to them, or just go on their site and look up information. There are a lot of resources available to you, you should use them.

This is not the hard part of jewelry. If the stone is stolen, then you would make sure that the identifying features the diamond has are listed on the police report. Those features are what the cops would be looking for in the event of recovery. Whether that is the Lazare number or the GIA number is irrelevant. The police report accuracy is what matters.

But, as it was pointed out, once a diamond is stolen it is highly unlikely that it will be recovered. That's what insurance is for. Inscriptions can be removed by thieves if they are motivated enough. So make sure your stone is insured if you are concerned about loss.
 

rockysalamander

Ideal_Rock
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May 20, 2016
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5,022
I thought I'd add just a bit based on your statement "it was never handed down in a will, but rather in a box that was labelled for me." This aspect of your story is about establishing a chain of ownership. Lacking a clear will, I assume that you were handed this diamond in the box by the Executor of the estate (usually a lawyer or family member). In that case, I would ask the Executor to write down the facts and family lore that they know. "I Executor gave OP a box with her name on it following the death of FamilyMember. FamilyMember had labelled all her jewels with the names of recipients and they were stored in her safe-deposit box until her death. I was present when OP opened the box containing a round diamond. This is the diamond that FamilyMember always called her Lazare diamond and she said it was around 2 carats. FamilyMember was a collector of shiny things and to my memory, she got this diamond in Oz back in the 1970s. She wanted you to have this diamond to use for a ring to pass on for future generations. She knew you always loved this diamond. In the box is the paperwork for the diamond." If the Executor was a lawyer, they can just write a statement without the family lore to the facts as they knew them. You get the idea. Have that letter notarized and keep with your legal documents. That, at least, establishing how a diamond came into your possession, but it should help if for any reason your (or your heirs) ownership is questioned whether by another heir or law enforcement.
 

OoohShiny

Ideal_Rock
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Apr 25, 2014
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7,173
If I was a cynic (which I am, because I've been on the internet for far too long ;)) :lol: ) I would wonder if this is a thread that is asking how to get away with a diamond theft or a 'lucky find' by asking the questions from the opposite point of view... :tongue:
 

lumpmanradical

Rough_Rock
Joined
Aug 12, 2016
Messages
8
Got the appraisal today, turns out the center stone was retailed at slightly higher, and the appraisal was for the WHOLE piece, which I missed. Also I can register it with Lazare and that will make it as secure as I want in terms of having the number match my information. Next step getting it insured and following all the advice you provided, thanks guys.
 
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