Are you planning to get married? Engaged? When you are considering purchasing any jewellery there are some things you should consider and be aware of before you invest large sums of money.
Always ask for an Independent Jewellery Valuation. It is your right as a consumer to insist upon a valuation from an independent valuer (not associated with the store)
Ask for any certificates that come with the stones (ie diamonds). Not all certificates meet Australian standards.
A valuation will provide you with the following information and should be accompanied by a photograph of the item. It will be signed and sealed with the Valuer’s registration number.
A valuation is a legal document and in the case of Insurance it covers Retail Replacement Value.
What is a Valuation?
A typical jewellery or fine arts valuation involves examining each item to assess the quality and arrive at a value judgement based on current market conditions. While two items may appear identical to the untrained eye, each has qualities that can effect the final valuation.
A valuation should cover the following:
1. Diamond Grading: Characteristics known as the 4C’s. Clarity, Colour and Cut (proportion) are the quality elements which together with the Carat Weight determine the value of a stone. While clarity is frequently assumed to be the most important factor of the 4C’s, in fact, colour and cut (especially cut) have a more profound effect on the visual appearance of a diamond.
2. Carat Weight: Carat is the unit of weight for all gemstones. One carat is subdivided into 100 ‘points’. Therefore a diamond measuring 75 points is 3/4 carat in weight, or 0.75ct. There are five carats in a gram.
3. Clarity: A diamond’s clarity is determined by the number, nature, position, size and colour of internal characteristics called ‘inclusions’ and surface features called ‘blemishes’. These irregularities occurred in the liquid magma (volcanic rock) within which the diamond was created. Diamonds are mostly pure carbon, however, during crystallization other minerals nearby, or even other bits of carbon forming more quickly, may have become trapped within the cooling mass. These show themselves as the various characteristics which make up the clarity of a diamond (included crystals, feathers, clouds etc). Clarity is measured on a scale ranging from pure (flawless) to heavily included (I-3). The clarity of a diamond is graded by using 10X magnification under good lighting by an experienced grader. The final clarity grade is usually determined by how easy the inclusions and blemishes are for the grader to see.
4. Colour: Ideally, a diamond should have no colour at all. Increasing degrees of body colour are measured on a scale ranging from no colour at all (D) to deeply coloured (Z). Beyond ‘Z’ is the range where the diamond's colour is vivid and rich, called ‘fancy colours’.
5. Cut: Cut, sometimes the forgotten ‘C’, ensures that a given stone has maximum brilliance and sparkle which would not be the case were the stone cut for weight alone. Simply put, when looking at a diamond, if it doesn't catch your eye or if it doesn't flash in the light, it's probably not well cut.
Myles Barnett FGAA, is a gemmologist, registered jewellery valuer, and the Pricipal of Platinum Diagnostics. Myles is also a committee member of the National Council of Jewellery Valuers (NCJV), SA Division.