The Difference Between Jewelry Lab Certificates and Appraisals

Most people have both jewelry lab certificates and appraisals for their valuable jewelry, but the two documents are not one and the same. They serve different purposes and contain a different set of information that is helpful to jewelry owners, as well as to people who are looking for new jewelry to purchase.

Jewelry lab certificates and appraisals often go hand in hand, but the lab certificate is a document that describes information about an unmounted gem stone, like a diamond that has not been set into any piece of jewelry, while the appraisal provides detailed information on the market value of a piece of jewelry, whether it is unmounted or already set as a ring, earrings, or necklace for example.

Choosing Labs and Appraisals

When selecting jewelry lab certificates and appraisals on jewelry that you are considering to purchase, it is best to select an independent company that provides these documents rather than rely on the documents created by the company that you are planning to buy your jewelry from. Otherwise, you face the potential for the lab or appraiser to be biased, since they will benefit from the sale of jewelry.

If you already have jewelry lab certificates and appraisals on your existing jewelry, but are unsure of their accuracy, it may be worthwhile to have your items appraised again to see what their current market value is.

Jewelry Lab Certificates

Jewelry lab certificates are written reports that detail unmounted gemstones rather than completed pieces of jewelry. The certificates include information about the diamonds (or other gemstone) cut and shape, as well as the stone’s color and clarity grades as decided by GIA, the Gemological Institute of America. Lab certificates contain specifics about the carat weight as well as the dimensions of the diamond, taking into account the stone’s angles.

Once the lab certificate is drawn up, it should not change unless the stone is physically altered or it is found at a later date that the gem stone was evaluated incorrectly the first time.

Jewelry Appraisals

The entire reason people obtain jewelry lab certificates and appraisals is to document the dollar value of the diamond, whether it is for personal investment purposes, or in order to have a physical record of the gem stone for insurance purposes. It is also great documentation to have if you ever decide to sell your jewelry at a future date, or pass it down to family members.

It is wise to have your existing valuable jewelry appraised in case it is stolen, or in the event you go through a divorce or estate settlement. Before purchasing a new piece of jewelry you can also get it appraised to get a good idea what the market value is on the piece before shelling out large amounts of money to pay for it if it isn’t worth the amount of money they are asking for the piece.

Appraiser’s Role

An appraiser has a specific role to fulfill if he does his job correctly and adequately. An appraiser or gemologist should have gone through extensive training in order to appraise properly each stone or piece of jewelry. He should receive the title of Master Gemologist Appraiser, and he/she will need to continue his training throughout his career as new developments in appraising arise, such as new diamond shapes and different metals.

Gemologists look for specific criteria when appraising any gem:

  • Chemical composition of the stone
  • Its optical effect
  • Refractive index
  • Clarity
  • Color
  • Cut
  • Carat or weight (depending on the stone)
  • Denseness and hardness of the stone

Finding an Appraiser

Should you let the seller of your ring be the one to do the appraisal? No, we don’t recommend that at all. You will get a much better and fairer appraisal if it comes from an independent appraiser. You should not give the appraiser any information about the stone, such as where you are purchasing it. You don’t want to sway the appraisal of the stone in any way. You should also have an agreement with the seller that if you are dissatisfied in any way with the appraisal, you can bring the ring back for a full refund. Be sure you get this in writing before proceeding with your purchase!

Hope you enjoyed this article!


Warmest regards,
Alyssa Young | Jewelry World Today
Alyssa Young
Jewelry World Today