How to Choose a Jewelry Appraiser

Jessica   •   January 15, 2014

Finding a qualified jewelry appraiser may not be as simple as one might think. With little to no credentials to back it up, ANYONE may represent themselves as a jewelry appraiser. Only appraisers for real property (real estate) are officially licensed, so due diligence is required when choosing a jewelry appraiser.

Working in the jewelry industry, whether on the sales or manufacturing end, does not automatically qualify an individual to be an appraiser. Appraising jewelry requires both experience in the industry and an extensive education in the field. While experience buying, selling, and manufacturing jewelry for many years may qualify someone as an expert, it does not necessarily qualify them as an appraiser. Gemology is a highly scientific field, and sometimes old fashioned know-how just doesn’t cut it when recognizing state of the art fakes and gemstone enhancements.

Finding a qualified jewelry appraiser may not be as simple as one might think.

One of the highest levels of education in the field is a Graduate Gemologist diploma from the Gemological Institute of America. As a Graduate Gemologist, one can be pretty confident identifying and grading all types of gemstones and can readily recognize diamond and other gemstone treatments that artificially enhance the appearance and apparent value of a piece of jewelry. While being a Graduate Gemologist is a definite plus when choosing an appraiser, it is not the end all. Just like other professions, there are various levels of experience within the ranks. After completing the Graduate Gemologist program, a gemologist may choose to further their training by working in a diamond grading laboratory.

In North America, the most prestigious diamond grading laboratories are located in New York and California. In a laboratory environment, a gemologist is constantly supervised and tested by some of the most experienced experts in the field. Every grading decision is checked and rechecked, and there is no other industry experience that can compare. For example, all doctors go through medical school, but only those who choose to specialize go through the vigorous training, peer review and experience necessary to excel in their field of study. Under the same principle, a gemologist can choose to hone their skills in the laboratory crucible, under the scrutiny and support of their peers and therefore become specialized in their field of study.

A gemologist may choose a different direction (i.e. sales) which does focus on the skills and experience applicable to a laboratory setting and would not produce a professional capable of appraising. For these reasons it is important to find a gemologist who not only possesses the necessary education and training to be called a Graduate Gemologist, but to also focus on the experience, peer review and training he or she acquires after their education.