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Diamond appraisal guide: How and where to get a diamond appraisal in 2022

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Appraising a diamond is one of the most standardized, and scientific parts of the jewelry world.

Here's what you should know:

Diamond appraisal: What is it?

A diamond appraisal is a document that specifies the key characteristics of a diamond and its setting, including carat, color, clarity, cut and measurements, and gives a dollar value estimate of what it is worth — whether for insurance purposes, or on the resale market. 

Where to get a diamond appraisal

With the exception of very large or rare diamonds, a laboratory like the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) can produce an objective grading report, based on these common criteria, but the GIA does not offer diamond appraisals. 

Don’t try to appraise your own diamond — gemologists spend years in formal training and in the industry to learn how to appraise gemstones. It is worth getting a professional diamond appraisal to best understand the 4 C’s and value of your diamond, and if you chose, position yourself to sell it for the highest price.

A skilled appraiser or diamond buyer can also offer a quality estimate of the replacement value of your diamond. Here are three diamond appraisers to consider:

1. Worthy.com – for an online diamond appraisal

Worthy.com is an online jewelry auction site that specializes in diamond jewelry. Worthy doesn't buy your diamond jewelry from you directly, but instead connects you with their network of professional jewelry buyers.

Worthy takes up to 18% of the final sale price that your item sells for. Therefore, it’s in their best interest (and yours) to make sure that your diamond sells for as much as possible. That’s why before Worthy accepts an item for listing, they have it evaluated by the GIA. Using that GIA lab report, Worthy will let you know what they think your item can sell for.

Worthy only accepts jewelry which features a center stone that is worth at least $1,000. While the value of your stone will depend on a lot of factors, this will usually translate into a diamond that is at least .5 carats (or larger).

The best part? If you decide in the end that you actually don’t want to list your item or you want to halt the auction, you can do so—and keep the GIA report. Armed with the GIA report, you’ll know exactly what you have if and when you do decide to sell your diamond in the future.

To sell your diamond through Worthy, all you need to do is visit their website and fill out a form describing your jewelry. If it meets their requirements, Worthy will send you a paid and insured FedEx mailer, which you'll use to send your jewelry to them for full evaluation. Once the evaluation is complete, you can decide to either list your item for auction, or receive it back, free of charge.

Learn more about how Worthy works in our review, or get an immediate free estimate at Worthy.com now >>

2. WPDiamonds.com – for an online diamond appraisal

If you have a round diamond that is larger than a 1/2 carat, or a fancy-cut diamond larger than 3/4 carat, you can send it to WPDiamonds for an appraisal. they'll even buy your diamond from you if you're looking to sell!

WPDiamonds.com is an online diamond buyer. To sell your diamond or diamond jewelry to WPDiamonds, all you need to do is complete a short form describing what you are looking to sell. After completing that form, WPDiamonds will give you an initial quote about how much your diamond might be worth. To receive a final quote, you’ll need to send your diamond to them (via a fully-paid and insured FedEx label) for appraisal. 

Once they have your diamond in hand, the stone will be appraised by a GIA-certified WPDiamonds gemologist. Using this appraisal, they’ll make you an offer. You can either accept this offer, or reject it. If you reject it, your item will be shipped back to you completely free. If you reject the offer, you’ll at least have a ballpark idea of what someone may be willing to pay.

As a note, if your diamond is appraised by WPDiamonds, you will not receive a GIA lab report. The appraisal is completely dependent on the WPD gemologist’s interpretation of the value of your stone. 

Learn more about how WP Diamonds works in our review.

3. Local jewelers – for in-person diamond appraisals

Local jewelers who purchase jewelry or stones to resell will often offer diamond appraisals, but it will depend on each individual business. (Some jewelers prefer to only buy stones from their official suppliers.) Before you bring your diamond jewelry to your local jeweler, you should call and ask if they offer appraisals. You may also want to ask if appraisals are free, as some jewelers might charge a small fee for their time.

Local jewelers may or may not be GIA certified, so you want to ask. Additionally, some jewelers may be willing to send your stone to the GIA for evaluation, which will result in a lab report. Others won’t offer this.

What does a diamond appraisal include?

A diamond appraisal involves a thorough inspection of your diamond by a jeweler or other individual who is trained in gemology.

A diamond appraisal is as much art as it is science. The appraiser will evaluate the technical aspects of your diamond (its color, cut, clarity, and carat size) and then use their understanding of the diamond market to help you value your stone.

When a diamond is in a setting, like a ring or earrings, the appraisal also factors in the gold or platinum weight, other gemstones in the piece, or, in the case of large or branded jewelry (Tiffany, Cartier) the value of the whole piece of jewelry.

They will evaluate the quality of your diamond (including its carat size, color, cut, and clarity). Using that information and an understanding of the current market conditions, they will then assign a value to the stone. 

If your diamond is mounted in an engagement ring, tennis bracelet or other pieces of jewelry, the stone may need to be removed during appraisal for accurate results. While not typically a major concern, it’s important to be aware of this. 

Again, an appraisal value is what the stone or jewelry would sell for in today’s market.

With this in mind, in choosing someone to appraise your stone, you should look for certain key qualifications:

  • GIA certification: The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is an independent laboratory that specializes in evaluating diamonds and other gems based on their technical characteristics. The organization is a non-profit, and is not backed in any way by diamond wholesalers, meaning they have no interest in inflating prices. GIA-certified gemologists have completed the organization’s training, which indicates a thorough understanding of the technical aspects that go into grading and appraising a diamond. 
  • Experience: A diamond is only worth as much as someone is willing to pay for it. That means that an appraiser needs to have enough experience to understand the current diamond market, as well as the general trajectory that the market is moving in. Those with many years of experience are often better able to make an accurate estimate on the value of a stone. 
  • Objectivity: Is the person appraising your diamonds also someone who buys diamonds? If so, it’s possible that an unscrupulous diamond dealer may appraise it for a lower price than it is actually worth, so that they can purchase it from you for less. Objectivity helps you ensure you’re getting an accurate appraisal. 

Diamond ring appraisal process: Online experience

To get an appraisal from online diamond buyer Worthy:

  1. Go to Worthy.com, and fill out the basics about your diamond: carat size, shape, clarity, color
  2. If these details indicate your diamond is worth at least $1,000 in resale, Worthy will request your name and address, to which they will send an insured FedEx package
  3. Send in your item, which is insured up to $5,000 (more upon request), with a FedEx tracking number you can trace all the way to Worthy’s New York City headquarters, where security cameras keep track of your item at all times
  4. Professional jewelers then clean your diamond or jewelry and then use high-tech, specialized cameras to photograph your diamond. The diamond is then sent to a professional gemological lab such as GIA, GHI or IGI which then generate a lab report. Based on these details, Worthy gemologists generate an appraisal of the range of price you can expect to receive for your diamond at auction.

Diamond ring appraisal process: In-person experience

A wealthysinglemommy.com colleague recently received an insurance replacement appraisal for her engagement ring in Central Florida. Here is her experience:

  • On Monday, Jan. 24, I dropped off my engagement ring around 4 p.m. at a local jeweler that advertised online that they offer jewelry appraisals.  
  • I was quoted $125 (+ 7% sales tax) for a typed written document for an appraisal for insurance purposes. Price seemed fair for the time she had to invest in reviewing the documents, verifying the serial number of my diamond, and then writing up the appraisal itself. 
  • I asked about insurance in the event of theft or fire, and the very nice and knowledgeable gemologist said it was covered by Jewelers Mutual. I gave her my ring and she gave me a receipt.  
  • The jeweler took my original documents from the purchase to review. These included a receipt, grading report and transfer of ownership. 
  • The jeweler said it would take a week or less to complete the appraisal, but they called two days later saying that my appraisal was ready. I arrived the next day to pay by credit card, and collect the 10-page report that included details about the ring, the center and side diamonds, and replacement value. They also took it upon themselves to clean my very dirty ring! Overall, I was very satisfied. 

How diamond grading impacts the diamond appraisal

A diamond appraisal will evaluate your stone on a number of factors known as the 4 C’s: color, cut, clarity, and carat.

4 C’s of diamonds

The 4 C’s are the four main characteristics that a diamond appraisal will consider to determine the worth of a stone. They are the stone’s:

  • Color
  • Clarity
  • Cut
  • Carat

Color

Diamonds come in a wide variety of colors, with some being rarer than others. The rarer the color, the more desirable (and therefore the more valuable) the stone is likely to be. Generally speaking, completely colorless diamonds are the rarest and most valuable. Other rare colors for diamonds include red, pink, and blue diamonds (also known as “fancy diamonds”) which need to be graded on their own scale. 

Clarity

Clarity refers to exactly that: how clear the diamond is. 

Most diamonds will have at least a few flaws which reduce their clarity. When these flaws are on the inside of the stone, they’re known as inclusions. When they’re on the outside of the stone, they’re called blemishes. Both inclusions and blemishes are common, which means that diamonds with fewer (or no) inclusions or blemishes will be worth more. 

The scale below shows how diamond clarity is graded by both the American Gem Society (AGS) and the Gemological Institute of America’s (GIA).

4 Cs diamond clarity

Carat

Carat refers to the diamond’s physical weight. One carat roughly equals 1/5 of a gram. Carats are further subdivided into 100 points. While grading a diamond’s clarity, color, and cut can be somewhat subjective, grading the stone’s carat is a very straightforward process. 

Cut

When a diamond is mined, it is in an unrefined, raw state. It must then be cut in order to bring out the true beauty of the stone. Cut refers to exactly that: The specific shape of the diamond’s cut, as well as the skill and precision that went into the cut.

It’s important to note that some diamond shapes are more popular (and therefore more valuable) than others. The chart below from BlueNile shows the most common cuts that you’re likely to encounter, including: round brilliant-cut diamonds, princess (square), emerald (step-cut rectangle), marquise diamonds, and other shapes. The prices next to each image show what a 1-carat stone in each cut is likely to sell for.

Which diamond cut holds its value?
- How much is a round diamond worth?
- How much is a princess diamond worth?
- How much is an emerald diamond worth?
- How much is a round diamond worth?
- How much is a baguette diamond worth?
- How much is a trillion cut diamond worth?

Two other cuts are baguette diamonds and trillion diamonds. These stones are typically not worth much more than a few hundred dollars, and are often used as accent stones next to other, larger stones. 

Here are more common questions and concerns you might have about diamond appraisal:

Do pawn shops appraise jewelry?

Do pawnbrokers appraise jewelry?

Sort of.

If you bring your jewelry to a local pawn shop, they will evaluate it in order to understand how much they might be able to sell it for. They’ll then make you an offer—typically somewhere between 25% and 60% of the final retail price they plan to resell the item for. With this in mind, you can use a pawn shop’s offer to get a rough range of what your jewelry might be worth.

But it’s important to understand that this is very different from a true diamond appraisal. Diamond appraisals are conducted by people specifically trained for the job, who know what to look for to determine the worth of a stone. Very few pawn shop owners have undergone similar training, which means they’re liable to make mistakes. 

While you might be able to go to a pawn shop to get a rough estimate about the value of your diamond, you will ultimately want an actual diamond appraisal conducted by a trusted professional. 

How to sell jewelry for the best price, including gold and silver as well as antique and estate jewelry.

Do diamonds sell for appraised value?

Ultimately, a single diamond is worth what someone is willing to pay you for it. In addition to getting your diamond appraised or reviewed by a laboratory. Searching for similar, recent sales on eBay or other auction sites, you can get a sense of how much your diamond is worth by educating yourself about your gemstone and the current marketplace.

Do diamonds lose their value over time?

Like a new car, diamonds start to lose value as soon as you purchase them. Most diamonds lose value over time for these reasons:

  • A decreased popularity in diamond engagement rings among millennials (and fewer marriages in general, according to the U.S. census)
  • Increased popularity in lab-grown diamonds
  • A general flooding of the market

You can expect to make about one-third of the retail value of your diamond if you sell. These are some other factors that might affect the value of your diamond jewelry:

  • Most diamond buyers are only interested in the center stone of your piece, and the retail price you paid for your diamond jewelry includes the design, smaller side stones, labor, and retail experience. A diamond wholesale buyer or diamond exchange will melt the metal contents down to scrap.
  • Wholesale jewelry buyers need to make a profit when they resell your diamond jewelry, so they will pay you less, then turn around and sell your diamond at a higher price.

That said, selling unwanted diamonds can bring much-needed cash when sold to a reputable diamond buyer.

How to sell your diamond for the highest price, safely

How much does it cost to get a diamond appraised?

Diamond appraisers typically charge a flat fee, either by the hour or by the piece. Average hourly rates for a diamond appraisal can vary from a low of $50 per hour to a high of $150 or more per hour.

Is getting a diamond appraised free? 

It depends.

Some businesses, such as diamond buyers or resellers, will provide diamond appraisals for free. This is because they must appraise your stone in order to make you an offer.

Alternatively, some businesses may charge a small fee for an appraisal. When a fee is charged, it is usually a nominal fee, and is roughly meant to reimburse the appraiser for their time: Between $50 and $150.

What are diamond appraisals used for?

A diamond appraisal is meant to let you know how much your diamond is worth. You can use the information in a diamond appraisal for a lot of purposes:

  • Determining a sales price if you choose to resell your diamond
  • Understanding how much insurance you need on your diamond jewelry
  • Proving the value of your diamond jewelry when shopping for an insurance policy
  • When purchasing a diamond (before you make the decision to buy)

It's worth noting that diamonds are a commodity, and their value fluctuates much as any other commodity such as gold or silver. With this in mind, the information in a diamond appraisal can become outdated within roughly 18 months.

Some recent surveys found that you will get approximately 25-40% of the retail value of your diamond jewelry. So, for example, if you paid $5,000 for a diamond solitaire ring, it should be appraised for approximately $5,000 for replacement purposes. That same ring will sell for about $1,250 to $2,000 or less to a diamond or jewelry buyer.

I Do Now I Don’t review: Is this online jewelry seller legit?

How long does a diamond appraisal take?

An in-person appraisal can be conducted in as little as 30 minutes to an hour, though it will often take a week or more to receive the final report. If you are sending your diamond out for appraisal, it can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to complete.

Diamond appraisal vs. diamond certification

Though some people may use these terms interchangeably, appraisal and diamond certification mean very different things. If you are interested in selling your diamond, it’s important to understand the difference.

What is a diamond appraisal?

A diamond appraisal is a document that specifies the key characteristics of a diamond and its setting, including carat, color, clarity, cut and measurements, and gives a dollar value estimate of what it is worth.

What does a diamond appraisal include?

A diamond appraisal involves a thorough inspection of your diamond by a jeweler or other individual who is trained in gemology. The appraiser will evaluate the technical aspects of your diamond (its color, cut, clarity, and carat size) and then use their understanding of the diamond market to help you value your stone.

Do pawn shops appraise jewelry?

Sort of. If you bring your jewelry to a local pawn shop, they will evaluate it in order to understand how much they might be able to sell it for. They’ll then make you an offer, typically somewhere between 25% and 60% of the final retail price they plan to resell the item for.

Do diamonds sell for appraised value?

Ultimately, a single diamond is worth what someone is willing to pay you for it.

How much does it cost to get a diamond appraised?

Diamond appraisers typically charge a flat fee, either by the hour or by the piece. Average hourly rates for a diamond appraisal can vary from a low of $50 per hour to a high of $150 or more per hour.

Is getting a diamond appraised free?

Some businesses, such as diamond buyers or resellers, will provide diamond appraisals for free. This is because they must appraise your stone in order to make you an offer. Alternatively, some businesses may charge a small fee for an appraisal. When a fee is charged, it is usually a nominal fee, and is roughly meant to reimburse the appraiser for their time: Between $50 and $150.

How long does a diamond appraisal take?

An in-person appraisal can be conducted in as little as 30 minutes to an hour, though it will often take a week or more to receive the final report. If you are sending your diamond out for appraisal, it can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to complete.

Wealthysinglemommy.com founder Emma Johnson is an award-winning business journalist, activist, author and expert. A former Associated Press reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has appeared on CNBC, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, TIME, The Doctors, Elle, O, The Oprah Magazine. Winner of Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web” and a New York Observer “Most Eligible New Yorker," her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was a New York Post Must Read. As an expert on divorce and gender, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality and multiple state legislature hearings. More about Emma's credentials.

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