All About Appraisals
Right now, I'm only appraising Diamonds. This is because I'm working toward my full Graduate Gemology degree. As part of the course, I have completed the GIA Diamonds Graduate certificate and am in the process of completing the Colored Stone and Gem ID portion of the program. I find it unethical and inappropriate to appraise colored stones while I'm still working toward those credentials. There's just so much to learn, and while I'm fairly comfortable with the colored stones process, I personally want to make sure I have the most information I can, and the most experience I can to provide accurate identifications.
An appraisal is my written opinion of a piece's quality. That opinion is based on my extensive training through GIA, the Gemological Institute of America. I've looked at hundreds of Diamonds that have been graded through GIA to hone my critical eye to the Color, Cut, Clarity, and Carat qualities, which are the necessary guides to grading Diamonds. Typically, an appraisal is for insurance purposes, so the grading that I provide assigns a replacement value based on the market prices. This information is important to assure that in the event of loss, the piece can be replaced. It's completely heartbreaking when someone loses a piece, but it unfortunately happens often.
An appraisal for a Diamond costs $50. This is because it requires my time and expertise to provide this service. I spend a lot of time with each piece, examining every stone to judge the quality of its' 4 C's. Sometimes when a piece has upwards of 50 Diamonds, this is no small feat!
Typically, I say to give an appraisal a week. I know that this seems like a lot of time, but so many things happen in a given day, that sometimes it's impossible for me to spend an appropriate amount of time judging quality, and I refuse to rush the process. The quality of my work is very important to me.
If I am updating an existing appraisal, and a client is able to provide paperwork, this process is quicker, and costs less. If I have the opportunity to verify information that I am provided, it makes it a little more simple. I don't always agree with existing appraisals, however, and I strive for quality and accuracy. An updated appraisal costs $25, but I must be provided with written paperwork outlining the qualities of the Diamonds.
I know a week seems like a long time, and often I can get to a piece a little quicker. But for me, it's very important that each piece of jewelry that I appraise gets an appropriate amount of time. I can give a quick opinion of a piece, but that's not what I would consider a fair assessment. Also, I'm doing a lot more than just appraising jewelry. As the Sales Manager at Wattsson & Wattsson, my day consists of caring for customers, answering phones, placing orders, assisting Chris with extra duties, answering questions from staff, and taking in repairs. I would hate to be assessing a piece of jewelry while in the middle of several other tasks at once because I don't think that's allowing the fair attention that each appraisal deserves. This is also why we have to have it at the store during that time. Measurements have to be taken, each stone gets assessed, the item has to be weighed, and all of this information is input into appraisal format.
I love what I do. This is the first time in my life I've had something that I've thought of as a career, and being able to offer appraisals to the community is so important for me, especially as a woman in this industry. Diamonds and Gemstones are just so cool, and they each have their quirks that make them unique.
-Lacee J. Hartzell
Sales Manager, Wattsson & Wattsson Jewelers
GIA Diamonds Graduate, Graduate Gemologist Candidate