How to get an appraisal of jewelry or diamonds

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Quick answer: The best way to understand the value of your fine jewelry is with a GIA grading report, also referred to as a lab report.

Online jewelry and diamond buyer WP Diamonds is an established, reputable buyer of fine jewelry, diamonds and watches, has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, and pays within 24 hours of an accepted offer. WP Diamonds insures mail-in, online sales up to $150,000, and has walk-in locations in New York, UK and Hong Kong.

Of all the items you own in your lifetime, jewelry is often the most personal. Your prized pieces can represent a special occasion, a memory you cherish, or the love you have for another person.  

Unfortunately, sentimental value isn’t a factor when assessing how much your jewelry is worth. If you want to list jewelry or watch for sale, or you are doing estate or tax planning or getting an appraisal for insurance purposes, what you really need to know is how much money your ring, earrings, necklace, bracelet, watch or other item is worth.

Jewelry value estimator: How much is my jewelry worth?

There are quick and accurate online tools to help you understand your estate, used and antique jewelry's value.

WP Diamonds bases their estimate on a lab report, grading certificate or receipt you provide, or a valuation from one of their in-house experts. WP Diamonds' free diamond weight calculator will help you understand what your jewelry is worth.

Diamond value estimator: How much is my diamond worth?

To get an actual, accurate value of your jewelry and diamonds, you need a jewelry appraisal or a jewelry lab report.

What is a jewelry appraisal?

A jewelry appraisal is a statement of value that spells out the worth of your item. The person doing the appraisal — the appraiser — does a thorough inspection of your jewelry to determine the value.

Note, there is a big difference between an appraisal and a grading, also known as a lab report.

The internationally recognized laboratories at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) or International Gemological Institute (IGI), will grade your diamond or other gemstone jewelry, determining the cut, color, clarity and exact size, as well as other attributes like name brand, and market value, to give you a certified lab report with detailed information about the metal, diamonds, and gemstones. The lab report will also include an estimate resale price.

An appraisal from a local jeweler, for example, may be useful in determining insurance replacement value, or helping you create an estate or tax plan, but is not useful in understanding exactly the quality, specifications and other attributes inherent to your item.

A jeweler or pawn shop, however, can easily weigh and measure your gold, silver or common gemstones stones for the purpose of scrap metal value.

How to appraise jewelry

A common concern among jewelry owners is how the jewelry appraisal actually works. You might wonder how to appraise jewelry yourself, but the process requires in-depth, scientific knowledge of gemstones and metals.

If you have an engagement ring or other diamond jewelry, and already have a lab report with specific details of the cut, color, clarity and carat of your jewelry, check out WP Diamonds' valuation. WP Diamonds ccepts diamonds of at least .5 carats, as well as fine gemstones, branded jewelry like Tiffany, Cartier and David Yurman, watches and luxury handbags.

If you have gold or silver jewelry, or diamonds or gemstones worth less than $1,000, CashforGoldUSA is a better fit. If you know the weight of your item or coin, you can use their online calculator to get an estimate, since the value of precious metals like gold, platinum, and silver change every day. CashforGoldUSA has an A+ Better Business Bureau rating and pays within 24 hours.

Gold prices are at a 7-year high. As of , the gold price in the USA was at a near-record price of $ per ounce, or $ per gram.

 A 1-ounce gold bar is about the size of a military dog tag, and 24mm (0.95 inches) x 42mm (1.65 inches 2mm (0.08 inches). Check the latest price of gold with CashforGoldUSA's gold calculator.

How to appraise jewelry yourself

Before you head to a local jeweler near you, or send your jewelry into an online jewelry buyer or gold buyer, you can do a jewelry appraisal at home to better understand the value of your item:

  • Learn whether your diamond is real
  • Understand if the gold is real
  • Educate yourself about the jewelry market. For estate and antique jewelry, understand that there are four ways to value the piece: replacement price (how much it would cost to buy the same item, in the event your piece is lost, stolen or destroyed), estate value retail (what it would sell for in a store), estate value wholesale (the price you would receive from a wholesaler or at auction, and intrinsic value (the market price of the gold, platinum, diamond or gemstones).

How to tell if a diamond is real

A real diamond will not float, shatter under extreme temperatures, or hold the fog from your breath for more than a second or two.

How to tell if gold is real

A real gold item will have a purity marking on the back or inside. This stamp is typically either a carat number, such as 18K, or 12K, in the shape of a rectangle with the corners cut off, and with a number inside. Here is the meaning of those numbers:

999 = 24 karat, 99.9% gold
990 = 22 karat, 99% gold 
916 = 22 karat, 91.6% gold 
750 = 18 karat, 75% gold 
585 = 14 karat, 58.5% gold 
375 = 9 carat, 37.5% gold

You can also test your item by holding it to a flame — if it turns black it likely is not real gold. Also, real gold will not float, turn your skin green or black, and will not respond to a magnet.

Gold prices are at a 7-year high. As of , the gold price in the USA was at a near-record price of $ per ounce, or $ per gram.

Here is more information on how to sell gold jewelry and coins for the highest price >>

Keep in mind that how you get jewelry appraised can make a big impact on the sticker price of your pieces. If you have an item that includes diamonds, finding a certified appraiser who understands how to appraise diamond jewelry is your best chance at a clear value.

Where to get a jewelry appraisal

How old your piece of jewelry is can also impact what it’s worth, making estate jewelry appraisals a little tricky. While some of your heirlooms could become valuable showpieces with larger price tags, others go out of style and lose their value.

Sometimes a local jeweler can help with general inquiries about how much your valuables are worth. But to know how to get jewelry appraised and sold, partnering with a reputable online jewelry buyer like WP Diamonds can help.

Learn more about selling your jewelry at with this WP Diamonds review >>

Other leading online jewelry and diamond buyers advertise that their appraisers are GIA certified, but that is very different than sending your item to the GIA or IGA laboratory, where it will be inspected and receive a full laboratory report — for free.

Where to get jewelry appraised for free

Most local, reputable jewelers will give you an appraisal for free. Check the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers for a recommendation. Yelp reviews can also be helpful.

For lower-end items such as gold chains and rings, and smaller jewelry, a local pawn shop can weigh your items and offer a price that may shock you — pawn shop prices reflect around 13% to the dollar of original price paid.

Reliable online diamond and jewelry buyers like WP Diamonds will offer an appraisal or valuation for free. WP Diamonds has an A+ Better Busines Bureau rating, insures your item up to $100,000 with free FedEx door-to-door shipping, and pays within 24 hours of an accepted offer.

Are jewelry appraisals accurate?

Insurance appraisals may serve the purpose of buying coverage for your jewelry collection, but when selling your valuables, we recommend taking extra steps to get the most detailed report about the specifications of your item. This gives you the confidence that you are getting the highest price for your diamond, gold or other jewelry — as well as providing true value for whoever buys your jewelry.

As a general rule, update your appraisal every two to three years is a good idea, as the price of gold, platinum and silver fluctuate daily, and the market value for all jewelry ebbs and flows.

In the end, the market dictates how much your item is worth. With most online jewelry sites like eBay or Etsy, just 5% of jewelry posted is actually sold. Worthy is a live, online jewelry marketplace where hundreds of vetted buyers around the world bid on your item, based on the information from the lab report from GIA or IGA — so everyone involved in the process understands exactly the quality of the item up for sale — including you!

Jewelry appraisal vs selling price: How do appraisal prices compare with actual selling prices?

It is a common mistake to confuse jewelry appraisal price and the selling price. However, a value given for insurance lists the retail replacement cost, which is very different from what you’d get in the resale market.

If you’re curious about the value, sometimes local jewelry appraisers give you an appraisal for free, which may serve as a good benchmark, but this won’t match what you’d earn if you sell your valuable — whether to a local jeweler, an online jewelry buyer, pawnshop, gold exchange, diamond exchange, eBay or another source.

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.

Keep in mind that the most valuable — by far! — part of a ring is the center stone. If your jewelry is highly designed with many smaller stones, the retail price will be disproportionately higher than the resale price, as nearly all buyers will only resell the center stone — and the metal and smaller stones are considered scrap.

If selling your jewelry is the ultimate goal, consider Worthy.com — the largest online jewelry marketplace. Every item sold on Worthy.com is sent to the IGA or GIA where it receives a certified lab report from a certified gemologist — including an accurate resale price based on real-time market values.

Keep in mind that the sales price will be lower than the purchase price. Here is a good explanation for why that is:

How do you get jewelry appraised?

The main way most people get their jewelry appraised is through a local jeweler, who can give you a decent estimate of how much your item would get at retail value — retail value is how much that jeweler could sell your ring, gold, diamond or earrings for in his or her store. This price is different from the price the jeweler will pay you today for your valuable — which will be far less than the retail value.

A jewelry appraisal is useful for insurance purposes, estate planning and other legal matters, as well as to satisfy your own curiosity.

How do you get a jewelry appraisal for insurance purposes?

A jewelry appraisal for insurance purposes can be had at these locations:

  • A local jeweler near you.
  • A jewelry laboratory, such as GIA or IGI
  • Worthy.com provides each item mailed in a copy of a lab report (which is different than an appraisal) as well as an estimated resale price range from GIA or IGI — for free.

How to appraise a ring

Like most jewelry, your engagement, wedding, diamond or other ring has both metal and gemstones in it. Typically, a jeweler or the GIA will evaluate the stone, and offer scrap metal prices for any gold or platinum setting.

Also, it is important to understand that typically, the large center stone is the only diamond in most engagement rings that counts towards the carat weight. Side stones are typically not worth more than a few hundred dollars, unless they are of high quality and of at least .3 carat each.

Here is how and why I sold my engagement ring after divorce, and what I did with the money.

How to appraise a diamond

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.

How to appraise gemstones

Understand your gemstones and what they’re worth

In order to get the most money for your gemstone, you must understand what they’re worth. While there are a number of factors that will influence the value of your gemstone, the most important are the same as for diamonds: 

  • Color: What specific color or hue is your stone? The rarer and deeper the color, generally speaking, the more valuable your gemstone.
  • Clarity: The clearer your stone, the more valuable it will be.
  • Carat: The larger your gemstone, the more valuable it will be.
  • Cut: If your gemstone is processed, the specific cut and quality of cut will impact its value.

While it may be possible to reference online charts and resources to conduct some sort of assessment for yourself, in order to get an accurate picture of your gemstone’s worth you need an appraisal.

How to appraise your gemstone

You can find appraisers who specialize in appraising gemstones; many jewelers and buyers also appraise stones. The most accurate of appraisals will require laboratory testing to measure color and clarity against scientific benchmarks and recent market data. 

How much is alexandrite worth?

Alexandrite is a popular gemstone in how its color can change in different lights: blue or green in daylight, and pink or red in incandescent or candle light. As such, the value of your alexandrite is most impacted by the purity of its color, as well as how dramatic and noticeable the color change.

Other factors, such as clarity, carat size, and cut will also determine the value of your alexandrite. Low-quality alexandrite can sell for as little as $100, but high-quality stones can sell for tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

How much are emeralds worth?

As mentioned above, color, clarity, carat, and cut will all determine the value of your emerald. The most important of these factors, however, is color. 

The most valuable emeralds are typically those that exhibit a vivid, saturated, dark green color. The color should be evenly distributed throughout the gem, and the gem should be fully transparent. Generally speaking, the darker the green of the emerald, the more valuable it will be. 

Emeralds sell for anywhere between a few hundred and a few thousand dollars. 

How much is a ruby worth?

As with other colored gemstones, color is one of the most important factors determining the price of your ruby. The most valuable of rubies tend to be deep red in color, and may even be a slightly purplish red. Likewise, the clearer the stone—the fewer inclusions, or impurities—the more valuable it will be. 

While darker is typically better for gemstones, if a ruby is too dark in color it may actually negatively affect the price. This is typically a concern with stones that are so dark that the color of the ruby cannot be appreciated because it absorbs too much light. On the other end of the spectrum, lighter (pink) rubies can also fetch competitive prices. 

Generally speaking, the rarer the color, the more valuable the ruby will ultimately be. The most common hues falling in the middle of the spectrum between pinks and deeper reds can sell for hundreds or thousands of dollars, with rarer and higher-quality stones selling for tens of thousands of dollars. 

How much is a sapphire worth?

The value of sapphires, like rubies and emeralds, is predominantly tied to the color of the stone. Stones that have a high degree of clarity, color intensity, and saturation will be worth more than stones of lesser quality.

While most people think of blue gemstones when they think of sapphires, the truth is that these gems can be found in a wide range of colors. Blue, pink, purple, orange, and yellow sapphires are all highly sought after. One of the rarest, and therefore most valuable, of colors is the Padparadscha sapphire, which is peach in color.

Sapphires range in price from $25 to $11,000 per carat.

How much is opal worth?

Opal is a unique stone in how it reflects light, and as such the value of opal is often tied to these unique qualities. The class (single vs. doublet vs. triplet, body tone (white vs. black opal), play of color (variety of colors reflected in light), brilliance (clarity of the stone), and internal pattern can all significantly impact the value of an opal. Rare opals can sell for hundreds to thousands of dollars — or be worth tens of dollars.

How much are pearls worth?

The value of a pearl will depend on a number of factors, including:

  • Whether it is natural or cultured, with natural pearls bringing a higher price
  • Its lustre, or how well the pearl’s surface reflects light
  • Its size, with larger pearls fetching a higher price
  • Its shape, with perfectly round pearls being prized above others
  • Its color, with rare varieties carrying a higher price

Again, color plays an outsized role in the value of your pearl. The most common pearls will be a shade of white. Black, silver, and gray pearls are less common than the white ones, but are still relatively common. The rarest of pearls include those which are naturally blue, pink, green, or purple.

The most valuable pearls have high lustre, are naturally sourced, and feature a rare color.

How to appraise antique or estate jewelry

A professional appraiser does an in-depth inspection to determine the value of your rings, brooches or whatever piece(s) you take in. Usually this is done to get the “replacement value,” so you can make sure you bought enough insurance, or to help you with a tax or estate plan. If you’re looking to sell silver, gold or semiprecious gemstones, like a moonstone, tiger eye, lapiz lazuli, or an onyx, a jeweler can give you an idea of their scrap metal value. (So can a pawn shop.)

An appraisal is not the same as a “grading” (sometimes called a “lab report”). Grading takes place in a laboratory, such as the International Gemological Institute of America (GIA) or the International Gemological Institute (IGI).

There a certified professional with extensive, scientific training in metals and gemstones will produce a lab report that details a gem’s size, clarity, color and cut, along with information about metals, market value, name brand and estimated resale price. Only a certified gemologist can give the correct value of your brooch, ring, necklace or other jewelry.

(Already have a lab report? Get a feel for the current market by visiting Worthy and viewing the list of recent sales.)

Even if you’re not a gemologist or professional jeweler, you can try a little appraising at home. This can give you some idea of what you have before you take your rings or necklace or other baubles to the jeweler’s or send them to an online gold or jewelry buyer.

It can also be fun – sort of like a science experiment. For example, you can breathe on the stone and then check it quickly; a real diamond will not hold the fog from your breath for more than a couple of seconds. A true diamond will also not break apart in extreme temperatures, or float if you drop it in water.

If you hold a flame next to your “gold” jewelry and it turns black, it’s probably not really gold. Ditto if your skin turns black (or green) when you wear the jewelry. Gold won’t attract a magnet or float.

Real gold should have a “purity marking,” often a carat number such as 14k or 22k. Or the purity might be shown in terms of parts per thousands, such as 585 (58.5% gold) or 999 (99.9% gold).

How to get antique or estate jewelry appraised? So glad you asked.

Antique and estate jewelry can be a little trickier, especially if the gemstones are of an older cut, such as an old mine cut diamond that is less popular than modern cuts, the condition of the item, and the style, which may affect the retail value.

There are ways to value antique or estate jewelry:

  1. Intrinsic value if your antique jewelry. What is the market rate for the weight of the scrap gold, silver and platinum, plus the market rate for any loose gemstones in the piece?
  2. Estate jewelry retail value. How much could this item sell for in a consignment, antique or jewelry store?
  3. Wholesale jewelry value. How much could you sell the item for to a wholesaler or retailer, who would then apply their markup when they put the estate jewelry to market?
  4. Replacement value. An appraisal for estate planning or insurance purposes seeks to set a value on antique jewelry that would help you replace the item were it lost or stolen.

How to sell your estate or antique jewelry for the highest price

Where can I get estate jewelry appraised for free?

Sometimes local jewelers will provide an appraisal for free, especially if you are a long-time customer, or you are in the process of trading or selling an item, or the retailer has other reasons to nurture the relationship.

Reputable online diamond and jewelry buyers and marketplaces such as Worthy.com will include a lab grading report from the IGI or GIA for 100% free. Start your process of getting your free lab report at Worthy. I sold a diamond engagement ring on Worthy, and here is my review >>

Where can I get an accurate estate jewelry appraisal near me?

Sometimes it makes sense to find a local jeweler to provide an appraisal. Again, this can work for insurance purposes, or if you want an initial quote to consider in your resale journey.

To find a reputable local jeweler for an appraisal of your antique or estate jewelry, a search on Yelp, as well as the Better Business Bureau, is a good idea. Keep in mind that you can always get a second opinion, whether through GIA or on Worthy.com in the event that you chose to sell through that site.

Where can I get a free online estate jewelry appraisal?

Reputable online diamond and jewelry buyers and marketplaces such as Worthy.com will include a lab grading report from the IGI or GIA for 100% free. If at some point in the auction process you decide not to go through with the sale, a copy of that lab report is yours to keep, with no charge at all. It is important to note that IGI and GIA are objective, third-party laboratories, not an in-house technician or jeweler at Worthy, so you can trust there is no ulterior motive to inflate or deflate the price quoted.

Also, because the Worthy auction promotes the fact that it comes with an IGI or GIA certificate, that improves the buyer trust, and increases resale value. This transparency is one of the reasons Worthy has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau — which is useful for both the buyer and the seller (you).

Before you try to sell, get a grading report (not just an appraisal)

Regardless of whether you sell to an old family friend, or one of the trusted, quality online wholesalers or marketplaces for jewelry, it is important to get a certified jewelry grading first. Jewelry is a highly scientific product, and only certified gemologists can give you an accurate report on the dimensions, quality and monetary value of your diamond, ring, jewelry or watch.

These laboratories are recognized around the world for their accurate, unbiased grading, and rely on very advanced technology to assess and price your item.

An appraisal can be done in less than an hour, and is typically used to determine the “replacement value” in insurance claims, or for tax or estate planning purposes, and is always much higher than the purchase price.

A grading is conducted in a third-party laboratory like GIA or IGI by certified professionals, and will give you a definitive determination of the cut, clarity, quality, origin and exact measurements of your diamond or other jewelry, as well as an estimated resale value.

If you are seeking resale information about your jewelry, you need a grading report. 

How to appraise Tiffany jewelry

Tiffany jewelry is known for its simple, elegant styles and high-quality materials and diamonds. For this reason, Tiffany jewelry tends to maintain a high resale value, especially if the engagement ring or other jewelry is in good condition, and a style that is currently in demand.

Tiffany & Co. does not offer appraisals, but a reputable auction house will appraise a Tiffany item, or auction site like Worthy will provide a GIA lab report on your Tiffany jewelry.

Learn more about how to sell a piece of Tiffany jewelry or engagement ring you no longer want.

How much does a jewelry appraisal cost?

The cost of a jewelry appraisal depends on several factors:

  1. The complexity and rarity of the jewelry. A solitaire engagement ring is easier to appraise than an elaborate brooch with a dozen rare stones.
  2. The qualifications of the appraiser may charge less than a lab report from the GIA, since the latter is recognized as the industry standard, and their laboratories are equipped with sophisticated grading equipment to ensure accurate grading. Plus, because GIA conducts huge volume of jewelry appraisals, their market resale estimates are extremely rare and based on thousands of recent sales.

Often, a local jeweler, gold or diamond exchange or pawn shop near you will provide an appraisal for free, especially if you are a regular customer. Keep in mind that an appraisal is often inflated above what you might pay for the same item at a jewelry store, but can be useful for insurance or tax purposes.

If you are getting your jewelry appraised for insurance purposes from a local jeweler or appraiser, expect to pay a flat or hourly rate, based on $75 to $150 per hour. Some appraisers charge based on a percentage of the appraised value.

For a certified laboratory report from an independent association like the Gemological Institute of America, or GIA, a one-carat diamond ring will cost an average of $200, with prices varying on the size, rarity and other factors of the jewelry. A GIA grading and lab report will cost about $200 for a simple diamond ring, and up.

How much is my jewelry worth?

You might guess that solid gold and silver jewelry is worth more than costume trinkets. Yet, many jewelry owners still wind up wondering, “Is my costume jewelry worth anything?” Some vintage costume pieces have gold plating, but is gold plated jewelry worth anything?

Typically, the answer is no. Some name-brand vintage costume jewelry may have retail value at a specialty resale shop, but you may be better off donating unused plastic and costume items to a local charity, and enjoying a tax deduction.

It’s difficult to get an answer to these questions without an appraisal. If your goal is having a general idea of your jewelry’s value, consider working with Worthy to get an estimate and then lab report from a gemologist.

At the same time, always remember the golden rule of resale: Your stuff is only worth the amount someone else is willing to pay.

That doesn't mean that you shouldn't sell if you don't make a lot of money. In this post, I write about all the emotional value of selling engagement jewelry, as well as all the life-changing ways women have invested profits from jewelry sales.

After all, if you're not enjoying it, it is lost money.

Who buys jewelry near me?

No matter where you live, you can work with a reputable online jewelry, gold or diamond buyer. WP Diamonds will send you a secure, insured mailer for free, give you a free appraisal and get you paid a fair price, quickly. The company has an A+ Better Business Bureau rating, and pay within 24 hours.

Sell jewelry to WP Diamonds now.

For items valued at $1,000 or less, sell your gold to CashforGoldUSA now.

Diamond value estimator: How much are diamonds worth?

A diamond’s value is determined by a variety of factors, the most important of which include the stone’s color, cut, clarity, and carat. Other factors, such as the diamond’s history (in the case of an antique stone, for example) and underlying market conditions can also affect the end price for a stone. A diamond certification will typically detail much of the specific information about a stone, while a diamond appraisal will use that information along with other data to assign it a value. 

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 certificates 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 because the organization is a charitable nonprofit without a financially incentive to grade diamonds a particular way. 

What is a diamond appraisal?

A diamond appraisal is essentially an estimate of a diamond’s worth. The appraisal price will be based upon both the quality of your diamond as well as the current diamond market. An appraisal will usually take into account the information found in a certification, if one exists. Appraisals are often conducted when a diamond is being sold, or for insurance and tax purposes.

What is the difference between a certified diamond and a regular diamond?

There is no technical distinction between a certified diamond and a “regular” diamond, other than the fact that one has been graded by an independent third party while the other has not. 

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.

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, 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, 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.

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.

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 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 does a diamond appraisal work?

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 a ring or other piece 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.

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.

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.

Which diamond certification is best?

A number of gemological laboratories offer diamond certification. Some of the more well-known labs include:

  • The Gemological Institute of America (GIA)
  • The International Gemological Institute (IGI)
  • American Gem Society (AGS)
  • Gemological Science International (GSI)
  • European Gemological Laboratory (EGL)

While each of these labs can grade or certify your diamond, different labs are stricter or looser with their certifications. The GIA is often considered to be the gold-standard for diamond, gemstone and other fine jewelry certifications due to their strict grading criteria and the fact that they are a charitable nonprofit.

GIA diamond certification

The GIA is credited with creating the 4 Cs method of evaluating diamonds by color, clarity, cut, and carat weight. Today, the lab grades and certifies stones based upon those characteristics. The GIA report also takes into account other characteristics, such as the stone’s polish and symmetry, as well as its fluorescence. The report also includes a number of diagrams that visually depict the stone’s proportions and clarity. 

How to appraise gemstones

Understand your gemstones what what they’re worth

Rubies, sapphires, emeralds, opals and other fine gemstones each have their own qualities that make them valuable. We explain more about gemstone value, and where to sell your gemstones, in this post, but the process and appraisers are similar to that of diamond appraisals.

How to appraise your gemstone

GIA and other gemological laboratories are the most accurate sources of appraisal for resale purposes, but if you are curious about the value of your gemstone estate jewelry, or need a replacement value for insurance purposes, a jeweler near you may be a good choice.

Wealthysinglemommy.com founder Emma Johnson is an award-winning business journalist, activist and author. A former Associated Press reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has appeared on CNBC, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, TIME, The Doctors, MONEY, 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. A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Emma's Top Single Mom Resources.

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