How to get a diamond appraisal

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Appraising a diamond is one of the most standardized, and scientific parts of the jewelry world. With the exception of very large or rare diamonds, a laboratory like GIA can create an objective grading report, based on these common criteria. A skilled appraiser or diamond buyer can also offer a quality estimate of the replacement value of your diamond.

Here's what you need to know before you look for an appraiser:

Diamond value: How do you get a diamond appraisal?

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.

If you would like to have your diamond appraised while you are in the room, or locally, you can find a professional appraiser or jeweler near you that offers appraisals and make an appointment. 

If you don’t want an in-person appraisal, it’s also possible to send your diamond out for appraisal. If you want to go this route, you first will need to find a trustworthy appraiser who will accept diamonds through shipping (FedEx, UPS, USPS) and connect with them to understand their process. 

Some appraisers provide you with a shipping label (including insurance) that you can use to send the diamond; others will require you to coordinate shipping on your own. This is why it is so important to understand the appraiser’s process before you make a selection. If you are responsible for purchasing shipping for your item, it is critical that you also purchase an appropriate level of insurance in case your item were to get lost, stolen, or damaged during transit. 

How to get a diamond appraisal: 3 ways

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. 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. 

1. Worthy.com

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 connect 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

If you have a round diamond that is larger than a 1/2 carat, or a fancy-cut diamond of larger than 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>>

Or, get started with WP Diamonds now >>

3. Local jewelers

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.  

Do pawn shops appraise jewelry?

Do pawnbrokers appraise jewelry?

Sort of.

If you bring your jewelry to a 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. 

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How is a diamond appraised? 

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

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How diamond grading impacts the 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. 

Learn more about selling your diamond if it is a Tiffany or Cartier.

How much does it cost to have 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.

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 certification? 

A diamond certification, also called a diamond grading report, or a lab report. This is a document that details the technical aspects of a diamond. Such reports are created by independent, accredited gemological laboratories like the GIA. Diamond lab reports identify the diamond’s weight in carats and dimensions, and grades the stone based upon its color, clarity, and cut ( the 4 Cs). Diamond certificates also detail any artificial treatments or finishes that the stone has undergone, and will identify whether the stone is natural or laboratory-made. 

What diamond certification is best? 

Many different gemological labs offer a diamond certification service wherein they will evaluate your stone. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA), International Gemological Institute (IGI), American Gem Society (AGS), Gemological Science International (GSI), and European Gemological Laboratory (EGL) are all popular and well-known laboratories.

Of these options, the GIA is often considered to be the best laboratory for diamond certification. This is due to the fact that the GIA has some of the strictest grading criteria compared to other labs, as well as as the fact that  the organization is  an education and research institute  without a financial incentive to grade diamonds a particular way. 

How do I get my diamond certified?

In order to get your diamond certified, you will need to select a gemological lab to conduct an analysis of your stone and grant it a certification. Because each laboratory’s process and grading requirements vary, sometimes extensively, it’s important to do your research so that you can choose the laboratory that you are most comfortable working with.

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GIA diamond certification

The GIA is perhaps best known as being the inventor of the “4Cs” method of evaluating and certifying diamonds based on their color, cut, clarity, and carat weight which is now the industry standard. In addition to these characteristics, the GIA also considers the diamond’s symmetry, depth, fluorescence, and polish in assigning a grade. A GIA report will include a number of illustrations and diagrams that indicate the stone’s clarity, proportions, and any flaws.

It is important to note that the GIA only evaluates loose stones. As such, if your diamond is mounted in a piece of jewelry, it will need to be dismounted for evaluation. A jeweler can help you do this if necessary.

The GIA website specifically recommends that individuals interested in their certification submit their stone through a trusted jeweler who is familiar with the process to prevent any issues. 

The cost of GIA certification depends on the size of the stone, and ranges from $48 for a 0.15-0.22 carat diamond to $110 for a 1.00-1.19 carat diamond, all the way up to $3,050 for a 50+ carat stone. For an additional fee, the GIA will laser-inscribe your stone with its unique GIA report number.

EGL diamond certification

The EGL will evaluate both loose and mounted diamonds, which can make them ideal if you have a mounted stone and are reluctant to remove it from its setting. It is important to note, however, that because the stone is mounted it will be impossible to fully evaluate the surface of the stone, or the exact carat weight, which may result in a less compelling report.

To submit your stone for certification, you will need to open an EGL customer account. Then, you will need to complete a submission form and pack that form with your stone. The EGL provides you with a shipping label, which you will need to affix to your package. Then, you will need to ship your package via a trusted shipping service such as FedEx or UPS. It is recommended that you insure your package in case it is lost or stolen during transit. 

The cost of an EGL certification depends on the size of the stone, ranging from $60 for a stone up to 0.69 carats to $65 per carat for a stone that is at least 1 carat in size. Reports for colored diamonds or black diamonds may incur different fees.

IGI diamond certification

The IGI certifies diamonds based upon the same general characteristics as other laboratories, including the stone’s color, cut, clarity, and carat weight. In addition to this, the lab will evaluate whether or not a stone is natural or lab-made. These details are all communicated in a detailed report that also outlines any other relevant information about the stone.

The IGI is popular amongst many large jewelry companies, including Zales, Kays, and Jared. As such, the lab processes many stones in rapid succession. Because of the speed at which the IGI processes their reports, as well as their somewhat relaxed grading standards compared to other labs, many reviewers approach an IGI report with scepticism. 

As with other labs, the cost of an IGI certification will depend on the diamond’s carat weight. Prices range from $35 for a stone up to 0.22 carats in size, to $125 for a stone 0.96-1.45 carats in size, to $575 for a stone that is 7.95-9.94 carats in size.

Understand what your jewelry is worth

AGS diamond certification

The AGS is often considered to be one of the best gemological laboratories for diamond certification, held in similar esteem as the GIA. Like the GIA, the AGS is a nonprofit trade association.

Just as other labs, the AGS grades diamonds based on their carat size, color, cut, and clarity. Cut, color, and clarity are each graded on a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 being the highest possible grade and 10 being the lowest possible grade. The report also details the stone’s shape and style as well as its measurements, and makes use of diagrams to visually depict information about impurities, etc. The AGS will grade both mounted and loose stones. 

Unfortunately, the AGS will only complete certification for those in the industry; i.e., American Gem Society retail jewelers. This means that in order to receive an AGS diamond certification, you will need to work with a qualifying jeweler. Such jewelers will know the submission process and be able to guide you through it.

Other fine items you can sell for cash include gold coins, silver coins, silver flatware, platinum and fine watches.

How do you get a diamond appraisal?

If you would like to have your diamond appraised while you are in the room, or locally, you can find a professional appraiser or jeweler near you that offers appraisals and make an appointment. If you don’t want an in-person appraisal, it’s also possible to send your diamond out for appraisal.

How is a diamond appraised?

A diamond appraisal involves a thorough inspection of your diamond by a jeweler or other individual who is trained in gemology. They will evaluate the quality of your diamond. Using that information and an understanding of the current market conditions, they will then assign a value to the stone.

How much does it cost to have 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.

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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