Q  &  A

               Q  &  A



                            Q  &  A





|  The green "background" here is an inclusion field in a natural, untreated emerald (also called a "jardin" (French for 'garden')  | 

What's the difference between a jeweler, gemologist, and jewelry appraiser?

Jewelers primarily sell jewelry, and some do repairs. They're there to help you buy their goods, at retail. Jewelers are cool. Several friends of mine are world-class jewelry artisans.

There are different kinds of jewelers - those who work in design, engraving, hand building, soldering, wax carving, and setting. They may be skilled in working with several precious metals, like platinum, gold and silver.

A gemologist is formally schooled, and specializes in the science of colored gemstones, diamonds, pearls, etc. Gemology degrees and accreditation can be obtained from several universities throughout the country, most notably from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Gemologists have passed rigorous study and exams to learn to grade gemstones and diamonds, and we can also determine their authenticity, and check for man-made treatments such as color treating and enhancement techniques. Gemologists will also be knowledgeable in topics such as gemstone origins, history, and the scientific characteristics of gems.

A gem and jewelry appraiser requires the knowledge of a gemologist specially trained in valuation science (or vice versa!.

How can an independent gemologist/appraiser & advisor help me?

"Independent" means unbiased; I work for you rather than someone else that wants to sell you something. Since I'm not selling or buying gems and jewelry, my professional opinions are aimed at meeting your objectives, needs, and desires!

If you're going to spend thousands of dollars on a jewel such as an engagement ring, you want to know whether you're getting what you pay for and whether it's at a fair, market price - in short, are you getting value for your hard-earned money?

And to be frank, the world of gems and jewelry is very competitive. It's not unusual that buyers are at a major disadvantage.

That's because it's complicated, and sellers know 99% of their customers have at best average, internet-mediated knowledge of gems - and that's simply not enough these days; it will get you into trouble.

Can I get good deals on the Internet?

Yes. Be cautious - trying to educate yourself from the internet is really tricky. Like trying to figure out complicated medical or legal issues, view the internet as a start. But to rely on it is dangerous because most of the net is a commercial space, and good, ethical business practices need to be sussed out; they can't be assumed.

Be careful of sites selling goods AND "educating" you to buy their goods and especially those offering to appraise them (often at no charge)! Major problem with that setup, like conflict of interest to start.

But, to a trained graduate gemologist or FGA, there's often sufficient information to know if something may possibly be a good deal, or not. The next step is asking the right questions to a seller.

That's why I'm really pleased to offer a "pre-bidding / buying" consulting service to online buyers, like eBayers! All I need is the link / URL to the item you're interested in. Click below for more information.



I've read that diamonds aren't good investments. Is that true?

Yes, usually that's true . . . 99.9% of the time, a diamond is not a good investment!

That's because 99.9% of the diamonds are in jewelry, and they're commodity stones, not investment stones. First and foremost, buy jewelry for adornment, pleasure, celebrations, and as gifts.

Investment-grade diamonds are another story, so much so that I've devoted a blog post to the subject.

That said, when we find that 1 in 10 million investment diamond (literally, they're very, very, very rare) that meets specific gemological and market criteria, it will be one of your very best & smartest investments.


"Blood diamonds" (conflict diamonds) bother me. What's your take on it?

Before the international Kimberly Process, diamonds were used to finance ugly wars. Before Kimberly, about 6% of the diamonds were blood diamonds; but that's been reduced to <1%

Keeping perspective, in the financing of war - which s no less prevalent - the other 94-99% of financing is still done, but we don'y talk about "blood cash," or "blood financial instruments" or "blood governments."


Submit YOUR question!

I'm happy to answer your gem and jewelry-related questions.

If I'm not sure, I'll do the research to find out, or I'll refer you to someone who can answer you.


Need more Q & A  ? ? 

Credentials  |  Appraisal FAQs here  |  Types of Appraisals here  


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