watching an appraisal

Black Jade

Aug 21, 2008
I didn't know if people might be interested to hear how it was the marquise ring I got being appraised by a professional appraiser.
It was interesting to me--I had never seen the process before,a t least not while having it explained.. So I don't know,a ctually, if how he did it was standard or non-standard. But I feel like I learned a lot from it.

He got a funny look on his face when I handed him the ring. I had also had some pearls appraised and they were very high quality Akoyas. and he has appraised jewelry of mine before which was higher quality diamonds. He looked as if he were trying to think what to say. Then he started to gently explain to me that diamonds were graded for clarity according to certain standards and that when there was an eye-visible flaw, then they had to be called 'I1'. I had the impression he had had this conversation with people before and some of them had gotten very upset with him. Shoot the messenger, you know. Anyway, I told him that I knew the diamond was most probably an I1, because I had been told it was an 'Si3' and that I knew that meant I1. He was so relieved! It was funny to see. Then he said what I knew already, that in this diamond the flaw does not detract as it is clear, not black and does not pop out at you. In fact, inexperienced people probably can't find it. But jewellers can. He then wanted to know how I even knew terms like SI3 and I1, and I said, I had done research on the internet. I did not tell him that it was all on one place--here. Then he asked if I knew about color grading, and I said, a bit. He asked if I could see that this diamond had color. I said I knew it did, and then he asked if I had been told a color grade as well as a clarity grade. I said, I had been told 'I' but that I doubted that, because I knew that SI3 was a code used by people in the industry that were softer on color grading. Then he was seriously impressed and that's when the interesting part started because he started to walk me through the color grading process. he showed me his set of master stones. He told me (which I had read on this board) that they were highly, highly expensive and very precious to him because they were one of the most important tools he had. He had cleaned my ring already. He had a special light. Then he brought out a folded piece of very white card and put my ring on it, upside down. He explained that he was not going to get a completely accurate grade because the ring was set adn the color of the metal would affect it (which I knew) and that a certain part of color grading was objective, anyway. I was pleased he was that honest. He said that, because the diamond was set in white metal, the likelihood was that it was going to look darker than it really was and that he would take that into account. He then started with his 'J' stone and placed it upside down next to the upside ring, useing tweezers. He showed me how the diamond in the ring looked slightly darker than the loose J diamond. He said he was going to go way down then. I don't know why. He went to L. He showed me, and it was very obvious, much more than it had been the first time, that my stone was very much lighter. Then he went back up to the K. He said there is usually a range, not one exact color, with a ring that is set at least, and that my stone was apparently in the J, K range. WE then looked at my ring next to the K. He said he thought it looked a little lighter than the K master stone, though it had looked darker than the J. Then he went up to I, just to check he said. It was really, really obvious that my sone was darker than the I. It was as much darker than the I as it had been lighter than the L. so he said he was sure now it was in the J, K range as it was definitely not an I, and definitely not an L. He looked at it again next to the J and said he was going to make the call that it was a J, since it looked only slightly darker and, as he had said at the beginning, he needed to allow for the white metal, which would make it appear darker. So he called it a J.

Then he did a bunch of other things. He measured it all kinds of ways. Then he said he would guess it was about a 1.25 carat and asked if that was in the ballpark with my previous information. It was like, he was interested that I had the previous information and enjoying making his estimations and seeing how close he was to it. I said it had been weighed loose as a 1.19. I was actually very surprised that he was so close. It's a somewhat spready stone for a 1.19 marquise--it's 11.5 mm x 5.5 mm. He said he would go with what it was when weighed because that was definitely accurate. then he weighed the whole ring for the gross weight, and then he estimated the weight of the side stones. I had been told (this was not on the original appraisal, which was just of the center diamond) that it had about .78 in sidestones. He came up with .75. Again, very, very close. Then he made a lot more calculations and looked on his computer and came up with an appraisal price of $5,000. He again looked than as if he were afraid I would be upset. But since I paid $1500 (which I didn't tell him) obviously I was not. I had actually guessed, before I decided to buy the ring, from looking at similar rings in stores and on the Pricescope search engine and at Blue NIle and so on, that the ring was probably worth between $3,000 and $5,0000. Depending on exactly what the center diamond turned out to be in terms of true color grade and clarity grade, and on the price of gold and so forth. So I was quite happy that it was at the higher end of my estimation--and glad to have a more reasonable appraisal for insurance than the UGL cert, which values the diamond alone at almost $7,000. It is useless to me to have it valued so unreasonably for insurance purposes, it just ups my insurance and if I should lose it or have it stolen, I won't get a $7,000 replacement.
although, if prices keep spiking the way they have.....)

What was VERY interesting was that I had had a couple of jewellers previously look at it, not do a real appraisal but just check it through their loupes (sad to say, I am on good terms with all the jewellers in the neighborhood, they all know me well). Both of them had come very close to the same color and clarity for the ring, again, without seeing the appraisal. One had said, J color, Si2 clarity. the other had said I color, I1 clarity. (but that was just for my information when I was trying to decide whether or not to return the ring. It had a LONG return period, something I find essential). I am always interested in getting the several different opinions and seeing how they agree. So far,t hey have always been int he same ball park. When I got my ACA earrings, they were all stunned by the quality. When I got my stone for a pendant, they all tried to point out to me nicely that it was 'not a good quality stone' as one of them put it. I knew that. But it was cheap). They were all much relieved that it was not going to stay in a ring, but was going to become a pendant and agreed that it would be a lovely pendant, which it has been (one of them made the pendant for me). When I got my filigree ring, they all agreed (this is the only time they have entirely agreed) that it was an F, SI2. They were all happy to show me the grade-making inclusion through their loupes. I have a good feeling about the way they agree. It makes me feel that not only are they all very honest, but that there are actual standards out there and it's also pleasant that they are all so nice even though I rarely buy anything from them. One of them (he is very talented, always sets my stones from me, but I can't afford what he charges for HIS stones. Of course, he has overhead and I understand that that is why).

Anyway, the UGL was one grade off on the color; the same on the clarity (although it is deceiving to pretend there is such a thing as SI3 to people who haven't looked it up), and way, way off base on the price. I got a good deal on a diamond that is very beautiful (all of the jewellers agreed that it is 'fiery' and 'full of life' and 'a beautiful diamond.' I will post it up when I can on SMTB. I hope I didn't bore everybody to death, but this being the internet, if I did, it was easy to click away from me.

I jsut feel the need to say, Thanks, Pricescope. I haven't by any means become an expert or a 'prosumer' but I sure enjoy being an informed consumer, and it is saving me $$$$$, which is always a good thing.


Apr 4, 2010
BlackJade-very interesting! thanks for sharing how it went. sounds like you got a great find with that marquise!
Be a part of the community Get 3 HCA Results