We have not quite yet launched our blog. Please check back soon to enjoy Ellie's postings on everything from what to wear to the latest trends to additional info on precious metals & gems.
For a little teaser, here is Ellie's first article that will appear on the blog. Some very timely and useful information on appraisals.
Fine Jewelry in Changing Times
Time to review and update your appraisal reports and insurance coverage.
As the precious metal markets continue to increase along with the less publicized increases in diamonds, it is important to take a look at your insurance coverage and the appraisal reports that support that coverage. Any valuations that were conducted more than 2 years ago, really need to be reviewed. Jewelry that is currently insured with a valuation over five years old is most likely under-insured and in the case of a loss, you may find yourself without a full replacement.
Below, I have included a recent article I wrote for the insurance industry about fine jewelry. I hope you will find it interesting.
Valuation Considerations in the Appraisal of Fine Jewelry: Primary Elements.
By Ellie S. Thompson, G.G.
Diamonds are evaluated based on four criteria known as The 4C's:
Color, Clarity, Cut and Carat Weight.
• Color is graded on a scale created by The Gemological Institute of America. This alphabetic scale of relative saturation begins with D, the most colorless, and ends with Z, a noticeable, but pale yellow color. Diamonds with more color are graded on a Fancy Scale with ratings that begin with Fancy Light, and continue with Fancy, Fancy Intense, and Fancy Vivid, the most intensely saturated color.
• Clarity is a gemstone's relative freedom from internal inclusions, often referred to as "flaws". The highest grade on the clarity grading scale is Flawless, with grades continuing to Internally Flawless, Very, Very Slightly included, Very Slightly Included, Slightly Included, and Imperfect, each category with sub grades. The size, number, nature, color and relief of the inclusions determine the grade.
• Carat is a unit of weight used for diamonds and gemstones. The size of a diamond is measured in millimeters and the weight is expressed in carats. Five carats is equal to one gram. When diamonds are set into jewelry an appraiser must use careful measurements and mathematical formulas to estimate the carat weight of the diamonds being evaluated.
• Cut refers to the shape and proportions of a diamond or gemstone. The shape of the diamond and cutting style are important value characteristics. The most common shapes are round brilliant cut, emerald cut, princess cut, cushion, pear, oval, trillion, baguette and marquise. The proportions of a diamond will affect the optical efficiency of the stone and therefore it's appearance in shape, brilliancy and refraction. The modern, round brilliant cut diamond was invented in 1919 by Marcel Tolkowsky. Until the mid-1930s, old European and old mine cutting styles, with their steeper crown (top) angles, larger culets, and wider pavilions (bottom) facets were prevalent in jewelry. These differences create a stone that is less brilliant. Diamonds with older cutting styles help an appraiser to identify the vintage of an item of jewelry. The contemporary cutting style has a higher market value.
Did you know?
A 1.00 carat diamond with a D color grade and Internally Flawless clarity grade, set in a platinum solitaire style engagement ring, will appear identical to the unaided eye to a 1.00 carat diamond with a D color grade and a SI1 clarity grade. Their difference in same market replacement value today is $25,000.00.
Colorful gemstones like ruby, emerald, and sapphire have been used in jewelry for millennia. The criteria used for evaluating colored gemstones is similar to that of diamonds, but with more detailed attention to the color grading. In addition to these well known natural gemstones, there are many synthetic gemstones as well as gem simulates, set into fine jewelry, including antique and vintage jewelry, on the market. Special gemological instruments are used to properly identify a gem material. Grading and market research then provide the necessary value information for the appraisal.
Did you know?
A light blue gemstone set in a 1940's ring could be aquamarine, blue sapphire, synthetic spinel, synthetic blue sapphire, or glass?
A red stone from a mid-century jewel could be a ruby, a synthetic ruby, natural spinel, synthetic spinel, rubellite tourmaline, a garnet and glass doublet, or glass?
A fine 2.00 carat ruby can be worth more than $60,000.00. A synthetic ruby of the same size is worth $5.00 to more than $500.00 depending on which synthetic process is used to make the ruby in a lab.
Precious Metals, Vintage, and Techniques
Precious metals and manufacturing techniques play an important role in valuation. In addition to the market value of the metal used, how a jewelry item is created provides information about vintage, maker identity, country of origin and therefore value. Prior to 1900, most fine jewelry was made of yellow gold. From approximately 1850 to 1900, gold backed silver was a common way of setting diamonds, providing a lighter, whiter look for the jewel. By 1900, platinum had been discovered in good quantity in Russia, and natural gas technology provided not only interior lighting for homes, but hotter torches for working platinum. Gold backed platinum was used for a few years, soon after followed by all platinum construction. Platinum was the most important metal of the Art Deco period (1924-1935). With the onset of World War II, platinum was an important strategic metal, and was widely replaced in jewelry making by white gold, a mixture of gold, nickel, silver, and zinc, as well as palladium, a lighter, less conductive, less expensive, platinum group metal. Today, with higher gold and platinum prices, palladium is becoming popular again with some designers.
In contemporary jewelry, manufacturing techniques, designer, product run and distribution, as well as copyright issues play a role in the evaluation of jewelry for insurance and in properly handling a claim.
Did you know?
In 1999 gold traded on the commodity market for $350.00 per troy ounce?
In 1999 platinum traded on the commodity market for $400.00 per troy ounce?
Today gold is trading over $1500.00 per troy ounce, and platinum's higher.
Changing market conditions require the frequent review of insurance appraisals.
When an appraiser is evaluating jewelry made by a designer, the best valuation is obtained by contacting the designer for their current selling price (or contacting the store carrying the work).
Ellie Thompson + Co. Professional Services:
Appraisal of Fine Jewelry for
• Insurance Coverage
• Estate Planning
• Estate Tax Filing
• Equitable Distribution
• Marriage Dissolution
Acquisition Consultation and Purchase Advice
Sales Consultation and Liquidation Advice
Fine Jewelry Replacement Claims
• Value Consultation, Pricing Updates
• Jewelry Replacement: supply and manufacture (non-copyrighted items)
Repair and Restoration of Fine Jewelry including contemporary, vintage, antique and some antiquities
Please call or email to schedule an appointment for the re-evaluation of your jewelry. Items purchased from Ellie Thompson + Co. will be reappraised free of charge. During your appraisal appointment, your items will be carefully examined and photographed. A digital PDF file will be emailed to you for your use in working with your insurance agent. Additionally, the signed, original hard copy will also be sent to you. Other items that you may have inherited or purchased elsewhere can also be appraised at a reasonable cost.