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The Importance Of Appraisals In Diamonds And Gemstones Transactions

The importance of a certified diamond and gemstones appraiser is increasing more and more in today’s changing market environment. Consumers are more educated and sophisticated, while diamonds are more and more expensive. That’s why it’s so important to know the exact value of a diamond and make the best use out of the information provided by an expert gemologist. Now a day, a diamond is not appraised only by clarity,color or weight, because there are plenty of other factors to be taken into consideration:

  • Did the diamond have any temporary or permanent treatments applied?
  • Is the stone a synthetic diamond, a real diamond, a color-altered one, loaded with filler or a plain fake?
  • Is the information stated in the documentation accurate?
  • Is there any damage to the diamond?
  • Is the diamond really cut correctly?

Given those factors and for a buyer’s own safety, it’s recommended to use a third party appraisal service in transactions involving diamonds or other gemstones, as a matter of fact. The only other things people buy without having a “list price” are houses, so it’s obvious diamonds are a big investment for any person. Appraisers are therefore needed to confirm these type of transactions.

Gemology is the science and art of gemstones. Certified gemologists have special training in grading of gems, especially diamonds. The appraisal process involves two important components: the authentication of an item and the assignment of an appropriate value.

Over the years, jewelry stores, pawn shops, auction houses or other types of businesses would make appraisals of their own, based on previous experiences and using charts, such as the Rapaport Diamond Report to establish their own prices. Of course, these appraisals are not accurate and the need for independent appraisers was obvious. A fair appraisal is beneficial for both the seller and the buyer, and using the services of an independent appraiser ensures exactly this. Appraisers don’t buy or sell jewelry at all, they are just providing their services, so they don’t have any interest in the outcome of the appraisal. This is something most diamond and gems shoppers found to be useful, as serious sellers allow a period of time from the moment of purchase to return them, time that can be used to get an evaluation from an independent appraiser to confirm the information provided by the seller, or to receive more details.

Depending on a client’s needs, an appraisers is able to provide retail replacement value reports (used to confirm the quality of a gemstone), establish market value and fair market value, sale prices and other types of evaluation, varying from liquidation appraisal, damage reports or collateral appraisal.

AGI New York (Accredited Gemological Institute) offers all the services involved in diamonds and gemstones transactions with the help of state-of-the-art technology. The AGI laboratory is able to deliver customized reports and a wide range of appraisal services. Even more, the AGI gemologists are available for training, through seminars covering topics in the industry from treated gemstones to synthetic ones, to prepare business staff in better selling certified diamonds. The institute’s reputation for meeting client’s timetables is unsurpassed, making it a priority to treat each client with prompt and individual attention.



Different Types of Diamond Appraisals and How They’re Used

diamond ring

Now days, everyone seems to think that coming across a diamond ring in some old jewelry box means they’re going to earn a fortune after selling it. Often you might read in a newspaper about a woman who found a diamond ring in her attic, or you watch a news report on television about someone who found a diamond ring in an abandoned storage locker and were able to make a consistent profit because that person managed to sell it for a very good price.

What the media doesn’t tell you is how a proper diamond appraisal is really done. In most cases, the value of a diamond can be very different, according to the type of appraisal made. Especially for estate jewelry, there are usually two types of appraisal meant to settle the value of a diamond jewel.

When a diamond is appraised, it’s important to make a difference between the replacement value and the market value (referred to as resell value in some cases). The replacement value means how much a brand new items costs. Therefore, if you have a diamond ring you bought a couple of years ago, the replacement value is equal to a similar diamond ring bought from a shop or a jewelry store. The market value represents the sum of money an owner would receive in the case of a resell. Simply put, you as an owner are not able to receive the same amount of money for  diamond jewelry like a jeweler or a store would, no matter how much you paid for it in the first place.

The resale value is calculated by taking several factors into consideration, such as the condition of the jewelry, market demand, fashion trends and the mark-ups undergone by a specific jewelry piece from a low wholesale price to a high retail price (in fact, the replacement value). Considering all these factors, it’s no wonder the dream of selling a diamond ring for thousands of dollars quickly bursts like a bubble, because often estate jewelry can be sold for a fraction of the original price.

Truth been told, it’s important to specify what you intend to do with a diamond appraisal, because for insurance appraisals, for instance, the replacement value is always used. That’s because insurance companies need to know how much money they have to pay in case of robbery, fire or other accidents that might occur. However, no serious buyer will be interested in your insurance appraisal, so you will need to get a market value appraisal. The confusion of these two values it’s what makes many diamonds owners wonder why their jewelry is not as much worth as they thought in the case of a resale.

Knowing the difference between these two values is equally important as finding the right appraiser. Even if some is a qualified gemologist, they still need to be certified, so be careful who you choose, because an appraisal done by a non-certified gemologist is not as valuable and many buyers or even insurance companies will not consider it. Not only a certification is what makes a gemologist the right person to perform the appraisal. It’s best to find some with experience in the field, someone who’s able to provide an appraisal as detailed and accurate as possible. Don’t forget to communicate with the appraiser of your choice what you intend to use it for, because, as stated above, the replacement value is used for insurance purposes, but it’s not useful if you want to resale diamond jewelry.

If you want to sell your estate jewelry and need to know exactly how much money you could get for diamond jewelry, or if you need to insure your diamonds, schedule an appointment with us and you can be certain you’ll receive the best possible services regarding diamond appraisals.

Photo:, user: Wounds_and_cracks

How to Choose the Perfect Pink Diamond

choosing pink diamonds

If you thought pink diamonds were so last year, than you’re in for a surprise. Just last week, a fancy vivid pink diamond was sold at an auction for nearly $17.8 million, which makes it officially the most expensive pink diamond sold at an auction so far. Yes, pink diamonds are like a magnet for the ladies in particular, so how does one choose a pink diamond that’s both beautiful and of high quality at the same time?

Pink diamonds have this interesting color due to some physical abnormalities or impurities found in their structure. Most pink diamonds come from Australia and natural pink stones are pretty rare, making them some of the most expensive fancy-colored stones. When buying pink diamonds, the most important things you should pay attention to are the size and the color density, because these two elements will set the price higher or lower and you’ll notice the difference in your wallet.

How important is the color of pink diamonds?

The color for pink diamonds is evaluated by three components: tone, hue and saturation.

  1. Tone is what tells you how light or dark a color is. Naturally, it comes to the personal preference how you choose the diamond, but usually too light or too dark stones don’t have a discernible primary color and are not so desirable. Medium-dark stones on the other hand, have a well-defined hue, so the color looks more beautiful.
  2. Hue is the visible color of the fancy diamond. The most common hue for pink diamonds is, naturally, pink. However, in a stone you can also see secondary hues of a primary color. Secondary hues usually enhance the primary color, making the diamond even more valuable.  If the secondary hues outshadow the primary color, distracting the eye from it, the value is automatically lower, because the color won’t appear as vivid. Common secondary hues for pink diamonds are orange, purple or brown. Purple and orange give value to the stone, while brown or yellow secondary hues are not sought out by buyers. Pink diamonds with no secondary hues, but with a vivid pink primary color are the most expensive ones because they are very rare.
  3. Saturation is the intensity of the color. Not just pink diamonds, but any kind of fancy diamonds are more expensive if they have a saturated color. Therefore, deep pink diamonds are more valuable than pink diamonds with light coloring. The most expensive pink diamonds in terms of saturation are those who have a hue closer to red, because red diamonds are the rarest colored diamonds.

Carat weight

Like for any diamond, carat weight is also very important to set a price. As fancy-colored diamonds are rarer, bigger diamonds are more expensive. Especially with pink diamonds, because these stones are so much in trend, a diamond bigger than 0.3 carats is considerably more expensive than smaller but otherwise comparable stones. Pink diamonds bigger than 0.5 carats are extremely rare and therefore very expensive.


For pink diamonds, clarity is graded the same way as it is for other types of diamonds, although it should be mentioned that clarity is not as important for fancy-colored diamonds like for colorless ones because flaws are not so visible due to the coloring. So at least in this aspect you don’t have to pay more for a flawless pink diamond, because flaws are unnoticeable for the naked eye. Something in the SI1 or SI2 clarity range looks stunning and it’s  a little more budget-friendly (as much as pink diamonds can be).


Colored diamonds are not cut with proportions used to maximize brilliance, like in the case of colorless diamonds. This is just a secondary characteristic for colored diamonds, therefore they are cut to enhance and showcase the color intensity. Brilliance is something to be considered, only if you’re satisfied with the diamond’s color saturation.

If you plan on buying a pink diamond, or any type of diamond, or if you already have a diamond and would like to know how much it’s worth, AGI New York provides certified appraisal services.

Color Options For Diamond Engagement Rings

white diamond engagement ring

Diamond rings are the first choice for any engagement, but even for something as traditional as a marriage proposal, some pay attention to…fashion trends. If we take a look at famous engagement rings some of the most talked about celebrities in Hollywood showed off, we can easily notice one significant trend: no one wants colorless diamonds anymore. Fancy colored diamonds are the latest rage in fashion and have become some of the most sought out jewelry item over the last years. Kristen Bell received a beautiful champagne colored diamond from Dax Sheperd, Olivia Palermo has a canary-yellow sparkler on her hand and “Gossip Girl” Blake Lively was proposed to with a pink diamond ring by Ryan Reynolds.

Fancy diamonds is a term used for diamonds hued in very bold shades, which makes them unusual and present the perfect opportunity to stand out. And what else does a Hollywood diva want rather then not being just another girl in the crowd? Fancy diamonds are rare, although stones treated in a laboratory are also valuable. However, the really expensive diamonds are those who are naturally colored, without any chemical addition. Natural coloring occurs when an impurity gets trapped inside the diamond’s carbon lattice structure. For instance, yellow diamonds have their coloring from nitrogen, while blue diamonds have this interesting hue due to traces of boron.

Speaking of popularity, fancy diamonds are not an invention of the last decade, because many celebrities and famous people used to offer lavished gifts in the form of colored diamonds to their loved ones. The most popular diamond hue is certainly yellow. Over the years, yellow diamonds became the quintessential expression of elegance and opulence. Someone who wears yellow diamonds is trying to make a statement, to get noticed. When Paris Hilton was engaged to billionaire Paris Latsis (let’s not get into the whole Paris and Paris subject), the heiress got not one, but two engagement rings, one of them being a canary diamond ring, worth $5 million. After Jennifer Lopez gave birth to their twins, husband Marc Anthony gave her an 8 carat canary yellow diamond ring as a present. Another famous yellow diamond engagement ring was the one received by Katie Holmes from Tom Cruise. And let’s not forget the famous 1953 movie premiere where Marilyn Monroe wore a yellow pear-shaped diamond, called The Moon of Baroda, which was also used for a promotional photo shoot.

Those who want a more feminine and delicate choice as an engagement ring, opt for pink diamonds. Most women love pink diamonds because it’s the one color you don’t see men wearing that often. We all remember the famous pink diamond engagement ring given to Jennifer Lopez by her then fiancé Ben Affleck.  Another diva who has a passion for pink diamonds is Mariah Carey. When she got engaged to Nick Canon, she received a beautiful emerald cut pink diamond engagement ring. A pink diamond was also the stone of choice for Enrique Iglesias when he proposed to long time girlfriend Anna Kournikova.

One of the hardest diamonds to find is a naturally colored blue diamond. Blue diamonds are so rare, but so worth it, considering how blue is the color of royalty and nobility. Strangely enough, not many celebrities opt for blue diamonds, but somehow they did gain in popularity over the last years, replacing sapphires.

No matter the shape, size or color, engagement rings are special and should be treated accordingly. If you’re in need for a ring appraisal, or if you want to insure your diamond engagement ring, don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll provide you with all the information you need. Our services are certified and professional, so you can be assured you’re receiving high quality and detailed appraisals.

Image courtesy of Boykung at

Why You Shouldn’t Waste Time Thinking About Diamonds

blue diamond

A couple of years ago, Ira Weissman, one of the veterans in the diamond industry seriously stirred the waters when he published his article “7 Reasons Why Diamonds Are A Waste Of Money” for Huffington Post. Quickly, a debate started and there were various experts defending the diamond industry, but also plenty others who agreed with Weissman’s ideas.

Although he wasn’t the first one to state this idea, his piece really started somewhat of a mini-revolution among Internet users and the article has become the main motivation for many young couples not to splurge for a diamond engagement ring.

Fact is diamonds are part of our life, whether we like it or not, because these precious gemstones were used for decorative purposes since ancient times. Early references to diamonds come from India in Sanskrit texts. Due to their qualities and because they were rare gemstones, diamonds quickly became a trade item in many cultures. However, diamonds are not meant to symbolize only the social status or wealth. They are symbols of love, purity, power, strength and beauty. Diamonds are rare, beautiful, can’t be easily cut and are impervious to fire, so it’s no wonder ancient Greeks thought they were tears of Gods fallen on earth and ancient Romans believed diamonds were splinters of fallen stars. As a matter of fact, the Romans far not that far away in their assumption, as a recently discovered white dwarf star is made entirely out of diamond.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, and let’s get back to Weissman’s article and answer the stringent question: “Are diamonds really a waste of money?”

First, Weissman states diamond engagement rings are just a marketing product of the 20th century. That’s only partially true, because that’s when they became more popular, but engagement rings were not that uncommon starting with the Industrial Revolution, when diamonds began to be sold even by department stores because new diamond mines were found, and they weren’t reserved only for the upper class and those who were wealthy enough to afford them. Noblemen and royals used to offer diamond rings as gifts for centuries. The first diamond engagement ring in the history, is the one received by Mary of Burgundy in 1477. So no, it’s not a new tradition made by marketing agencies, it’s just that diamond rings were not that popular before De Beers and their ad campaign. It’s the same as Santa Claus. Just because Coca-Cola put an old man in a red suit, it doesn’t mean people didn’t have this tradition under different names and meanings for each culture.

Another idea stated in the article is that diamonds are not a real investment because you can’t sell them for exactly the same price. Yes, that may be true if you want to sell your diamonds after a couple of years, but diamonds, and jewelry in particular is always going to be valuable and that’s why jewelry is inherited by children, grandchildren or other family members. So if you were to inherit your grandmother’s diamond ring, you could keep is as a cherished memory or you could sell it for a good amount of money and use it however you want. So no, you don’t get rich by buying and selling diamonds, but the gemstones are still worth a lot of money if you were to sell them.

Spotting fake diamonds is tricky, and yes, many online dealers and even brick and mortar dealers are trying to scam their customers, but now a days, there are so many technological processes used to establish the real value of a diamond, that it’s practically impossible to get scammed. Just make sure you don’t buy anything without getting an expert opinion, best from an independent appraiser, who has no interest in telling you a diamond is worth more or less and will only give you the true facts.

Another controversy related to diamond rings is how much you spend for them. This is a very subjective matter, as for  each individual money has different values. Some prefer to spend it on necessities and save the rest, while other believe you only have one life and you should really enjoy it. When it comes to diamond engagement rings, no woman will tell you a diamond is the only sign of a man’s love and many brides don’t want a diamond. That’s absolutely natural, everyone’s entitled to make their own choices, but fore many brides, a diamond engagement ring is their most precious possession. Some users form the boards explain it best:

“I wish I could say that I’d be fine with whatever, but honestly I wanted a real one. Its the only “real” piece of jewelry I own and its important to me. I wear it everyday though and I plan to wear it everyday for the rest of my life so I wanted it to be special. To me having the real thing was worth it. ( board user: Mrs.PinkPeony)”

“My husband was able to afford a nice ring and I love it. If we’d been in a different financial situation at the time he got the ring, he probably would’ve purchased a smaller diamond, but still a real one. (board user: QueenBecca037)”

“I would care. I hate saying it, but it’s true.

I got a real diamond, but it’s small. Having a real diamond was important to me because the thought of having a “fake” diamond symbolizing our engagement just didn’t sit well with me. I know, it makes no sense because a diamond doesn’t determine the status of your relationship, but that’s just how I feel (board user: Miss Chapstick)”

On the board, there are plenty of brides who don’t specifically want a diamond engagement ring, but for some, the ring symbolizes something and it was well worth spending the money for it.

Other arguments presented by Weissman in his article or not even convincing enough, he just basically says you don’t need a diamond to prove your love. Yes, that is completely true, but that’s not why people buy diamond engagement rings. Let’s admit it, if someone were to do that, the relationship is doomed from the start. But diamonds are a traditional symbol, whether we like it or not. Diamond jewelry is also practical. Usually the engagement ring is worn for any occasion, every day. Diamonds, unlike other gemstones “go with everything”, so many women like the fact they don’t have the hassle of accessorizing diamond jewelry according to outfits, occasions or events.

Bottom line is diamonds are not a waste if it’s something you really want, just like the latest iPhone is not a waste for those who love the brand and are crazy about these gadgets. Diamond engagement rings are just a choice like any other made in life and no one should be influenced by what the media or anyone else for that matter says about it.

Photo credit:, user: PublicDomainPictures

Fall/Winter 2014 Diamond Jewelry Trends

heart shaped jewelry

After a busy season in New York with the NY Fashion Week, it’s officially time to discuss major trends in fashion, makeup, hair styles and jewelry for the upcomming season. Not only fashion designers present their collections each season, but jewelry designers too. We’ve gathered a short list of the upcoming trends in diamond jewelry, in case you want to add some new pieces to your collection.

Big & Bold Jewels

This year,designers decided that bigger is better, for clothes, hair and accessories. Perhaps the 80s are going to be revived next year, as this year was all about the 90s. Not only fashion jewelry consisted out of statement pieces,  so the preferred metal for this season is still gold. Rose gold and white gold are going strong, but yellow gold jewelry gains more and more in popularity, probably because it goes so well with festive outfits.

Necklaces, bracelets, earrings and rings, you name it, everything is big this season. The best part is, now you can take out again those diamond drop earrings you’ve been saving for special occasions.

Floral Designs

Especially for rings, many jewels created for this season were based on a flora design. Different versions of gold and diamond rings in flower shape were showcased by various jewelry houses.

Love Is In The Air

Although Valentine’s Day is till far away, heart shaped jewelry is another trend to watch for. Gold and diamond heart pendants will be the most sought out gift for this winter and even for the 2015 spring season.

Small Stones

There is an alternative to big, chunky jewelry, and that is choosing quite the opposite, delicate and feminine pieces. Small diamonds are added into complex designs of gold jewelry, for that extra “sparkle” factor. Bracelets laced with radiant diamonds, or embellished necklaces are the best accessories for a stylish outfit.

Vintage Style

For those who don’t want to give up on their vintage jewelry (or jewelry that at least seems to be vintage), don’t worry. The vintage trends is probably never going to disappear. Pearl and diamond stud earrings, or diamonds in combination with cushion cut gemstones are glamorous and chic. The same goes for rings too, as vintage style rings never go out of fashion.

Bridal Trends

One of the most interesting trends each season is the one regarding bridal fashion. Who knows how many couples are planning on purchasing the engagement ring in the next couple of months, so it’s no wonder the brides-to-be are eagerly browsing magazines and websites to see what style their engagement ring should have. For the 2014 – 2015 season, the main trends in engagement rings are the following:

-          Cushion cut diamonds, as an alternative to the classic round cut. The diamond still maintains its brilliance, but this cut also adds some extra elegance to it.

-          Eternity bands as engagement rings. Eternity bands are not only for anniversaries, as more and more people choose this ring style for engagement rings. This is a style suitable for those who want to keep it subtle, because in eternity bands diamonds don’t have to be “the bigger, the better”.

-          Small settings. This is another alternative for those who want an engagement ring that’s not too flashy. This type of setting looks great with a solitary diamond.

-          Rose gold. This metal was widely used for all types of jewels, but not so much for engagement rings. Brides seem to prefer it because it complements the skin tone better than yellow gold or silvery-white metals like white gold or platinum.

If some of these trends seem appealing to you, and you want to purchase a new diamond jewel, don’t hesitate to contact AGI New York, to find out how much a certain diamond is worth.

Photo:, user: lulek41

The Hidden Secrets of Estate Jewelry

old jewelry

The term of estate jewelry refers to old jewelry that was previously owned, regardless if inherited or obtained in other ways. Usually, when this type of jewelry is appraised, fair market value is used for estate evaluation purposes.

Many jewelry collectors or enthusiasts are eager to hunt for estate jewelry auctions, but they fail to realize not everything that’s old also has a great value. There seems to be a common myth how old jewelry offers finer gems or better workmanship, but of course that’s not the case. There are many exquisite pieces available today and it’s not like high quality gemstones have disappeared form the face of the earth. Actually, estate jewelry is tricky because it often happens that some old jewels are not what they seem to be and not even the previous owner was aware of it.

The older a piece, the more attentive you have to be. Stones set in old pieces are not always valuable, but just imitations, more or less well done. In some cases, the stone used in the jewelry are natural, not synthetic and not replicas, but their color makes them appear at the first glance something that they not. The case of the famous “ Black Prince’s Ruby”, part of the Queen’s Imperial State Crown is the best example for that. While the ruby was not a fake, it wasn’t a real ruby, but a red spinal, a natural gemstone that’s far more less valuable than a ruby. Imagine, if this happened to royalties, what makes you think it can’t happen to you?

Over the years, people were very inventive when it came to more or less faking the value of a jewel, for different reasons: to gain more money if they would sell it, to keep the appearence of a certain social status or for unknown reasons. For instance, it’s not unusual to see doubletes, which are two parts of a valuable gemstone, combined together with a bonding agent that makes them seem like a larger, finer and more valuable gemstone. Some doubletes are so well made, that only a trained eye can spot the difference.

A practice common for 18th century jewelry was using colored foil. Colored foil was placed between the gemstone and the metal backing. Although the period of the jewelry and the craftsmanship of the setting add great value, the color of the gemstones is very important for the final price.

All that being said,it’s true there are great opportunities to acquire great pieces form estate jewelry sales and auctions, but you will absolutely need to be careful, because otherwise you might end up spending a large amount of money on pieces that aren’t worth even half the price.  Especially for the market value, prices are fluctuating according to the trends and demands. Sometimes, jewelry from the Edwardian period is high in demand, other times the Art Deco period is increasing in popularity, not to mention that jewels from well-known houses, such as Cartier or Tiffany are much more valuable than “no-name” pieces. That’s why it’s strongly recommended to get appraisals for estate jewelry, in the case of inheritance and not only.

 Photo :, user: Junior Libby

The Antique Jewelry Appraisal Guide

antique jewelry

Over the last decades, Americans started to take much more interest in antiques in general and especially in antique jewelry. But, before you start digging through your grandmother’s old chest eager to find some unusual treasures, take a step back and be realistic.

If you want to put a price tag on antique jewelry, it’s most likely you won’t be able to, without the help of an expert, and here’s why: you’ll probably end up setting a much bigger price than what your jewelry is actually worth, or even worse you’ll end up throwing away genuine valuable pieces, because you don’t have the knowledge and experience to identify them.

Especially unexperienced antique jewelry owners should avoid the common pitfalls of this trade, by following some simple guidelines that helps them not to get ripped off.

Don’t sell to the appraiser!

This is the first and most important rule. Don’t sell antique jewelry to the dealer, or auction house or jeweler who’s appraising it. If a person is interested in buyong your jewelry, than you can be certain they will try it to get it at the lowest possible price. If you do go to a certified appraiser, be careful thou, because some of them will offer to buy your jewelry and this could create a conflict of interest. The best way is to get an appraisal from an independent appraiser, but be careful who you choose. If an appraiser charges you a percentage of your property’s value, find another one, because you can’t be certain your jewelry won’t be over evaluated, just to get a higher commission.

Internet appraisals are not accurate

Although no one says you can’t find plenty of information on the internet, an accurate appraisal can only be done by a specialist who is able to see and handle the jewelry. Pictures and descriptions do help a lot, but you can’t rely on merely opinions. And while it’s great you do your own research, to find out what you might be dealing with, it doesn’t mean that diamond ring you found in an old jewelry box is a real diamond.

Get recommendations

If you don’t know which appraiser to choose, it’s very easy to search for recommendations online. It also helps to ask around at bank managers or lawyers, because they have to deal with jewelry appraisals all the time in their line of work.

Ask before you choose

Get an estimate of the costs and how much will it take for the appraisal to be completed. Some appraisers are just very busy and you’ll have to wait even a month for the appraisal. If you’re in a hurry or have some sort of deadline, than this is something you need to think about.

Decide what you’ll do with the jewelry

Antique jewelry could be part of your own collection, you might want to sell, or it has sentimental value for you and you just want to know if it’s worth something to insure it. Make it clear for the appraiser how you want to use the jewelry. If the jewelry is for selling, the appraiser will look at the fair market value, meaning a price that is less than what retailers would sell it for. If you insure a piece of antique jewelry, the appraiser will establish the replacement value, using similar items as guiding. Usually, the appraised fair market value is lower than the value for insurance.

Don’t fix it!

If you have broken jewelry or scratched pieces, you’ll be tempted to fix it. Don’t do this on your own before you get a proper appraisal. You might even reduce the value of a piece next to nothing if you do a “repairing” on your own. Better have an expert look at it and then you’ll probably receive counseling regarding craftsmen or other places where you can get high-quality repairs.

Get appraisals in writing

Although this seems like something obvious, many people get fooled and even pay for verbal “appraisals”. An appraisal report should include the reason why the appraisal was asked, the methods that were used to determine the value of the jewelry and detailed descriptions. You should also get a clear statement of an item’s worth, not just an estimate.

Renew old appraisals

Especially on the antiques market, things are constantly changing. Even in this market, there are trends or times when the market is oversaturated with certain pieces and the prices are lower. That’s why appraisals should be done every 3 or 5 years.

If you want to have your antique jewelry appraised, our team of professional appraisers and qualified gemologists is ready to provide assistance in different type of appraisals, according to your needs. Just schedule an appointment and we’ll take care of the rest!

Photo credit:, user: JamesDeMer

The History And Connection Between Diamonds And Engagement Rings

diamond engagement ring history

Engagement rings are common now a days, offering such a special ring is considered to be one of the biggest and most awaited steps in a relationship. In fact, the custom of offering engagement rings is older than you might think, the only difference is diamonds were not the top choice gemstone for this matter.

History of Engagement Rings

Engagement ring history starts from  2nd century  BC, Pliny the Elder notes in his writings that it is custom for the Roman groom to give the bride a gold ring, to be worn at the marriage ceremony and at special events and and iron ring to wear at home. Rings didn’t have a romantic connotation back then, as they were symbols for a woman belonging to a man.

Meanwhile, in Asia, a hundred years later, sultans  and sheiks use puzzle rings to “tag” each of their wives. Just imagine, how many rings a sultan had to buy…

Engagement rings became more and more important over the years, but sadly, just for the women, as it was common practice in Medieval England for men to give girls rings made of rush. Of course, they wouldn’t marry them afterwards, and that’s why the bishop of Salisbury puts an end to this practice by declaring a marriage made with a rush ring as legally-binding.

One of the first recorded uses of a diamond engagement ring dates from 1477, when the Archduke Maximilian of Austria proposes to Mary of Burgundy with a personalized diamond ring. Thin, flat, diamond pieces were set in the shape of the letter M. 2 years earlier, Constanzo Sforza gave his bride, Camilla d’Aragona a diamond ring on their wedding day. Naturally, only royalties and wealthy noblemen were able to afford the luxury of giving diamond rings as engagement presents.

During the Renaissance, engagement rings are becoming more and more important and their design is also part of their charm, aside from the gemstones. Twin rings were very popular back then, as they were composed of two hoops that slid open to reveal love emblems and inscriptions. Twin rings evolved into faith rings, in which two clasped hands holding a diamond heart represented the unity of love. This romantic purpose of engagement rings was something rather common in Europe, but not across the Atlantic Ocean. Puritans gave their wives useful thimbles instead of rings, but the wives had something else in mind and they cut off the thimbles’ tops and wore them as rings anyway.

After the 17th century, there was again a shift to the gemstones as opposed to the setting for engagement rings, and diamonds were a more and more popular choice, as new gemstones were found during minings in South America.

Queen Victoria played an important part in the popularization of diamonds, as she had a real passion for sentimental jewels. She received an enamel band set with a single diamond as a gift of love from Albert and even her engagement ring was a serpent, ,the ancient symbol of protection and eternity. Victorians often used to make jewelry out of flocks of human hair (usually form beloved ones) and gemstones to spell out names or terms of endearment.

After the discovery of diamonds in South Africa in 1867, there was a sudden increase in diamond supply, and this lead to even more diamond jewelry and engagement rings, from here starts the history of diamond engagement rings .Cutting techniques allowed diamonds to look perfect and shine brightly in necklaces, bracelets, tiaras and rings. Tiffany & Co. introduces in 1886 the Tiffany setting, a special setting dezigned to maximizie the brilliance and the quality of a diamond. Up to now a days, Tiffany & Co. engagement rings are still the first choice for many brides-to be.

In the last decade of the 19th century, diamond rings were finally not only for the wealthiest people of the world, as they even appeared in mail-order catalogs. Of course, these were affordable, and didn’t have high quality standards, but still, brides were able to dream about having a diamond on their finger.

One of the traditional wedding rings in France, even today is the Cartier Trinity Ring, which has pink gold, white gold and yellow gold hoops intertwined.

In 1920, manufacturers and jewelers tried to sell engagement rings for men. This was a big flop, as men don’t seem to eager to wear them. Only in the 1940’s men started to wear wedding rings too, one them being famous actor Humphrey Bogart at his fifth and final wedding to actress Lauren Bacall.

By the 21st century, a more then third of couples buying diamond engagement rings are saving up at least two months’ worth of a salary to spend on them.

Engagement rings have established their position as symbols of love and faith, which gives them a sentimental value along with the financial one, and that’s why it’s important to treat them as a real investment. AGI New York provides a whole range of services, from diamond appraisals, certifications and insurance, so that our clients can benefit from diamond engagement rings on the long term. Scheduling an appointment is easy, you just need to contact us or pay us a visit and our gemologists will take care of the rest.

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7 Ways To Spot A Fake Diamond

how to spot a fake diamond

When it comes to jewelry, it’s always difficult to establish the true value of a piece, especially if it’s of unknown origin or you suspect it to be fake. Most fake pieces of jewelry on the market are diamonds, because these gems are so high in demand. They make the perfect gift for engagements, birthdays, anniversaries, you can basically never go wrong with diamond jewelry. However, what if some of these gifts are not diamonds at all? Before checking with an expert, you can easily spot rough imitations of real diamonds with the help of some tricks.

Here is How to Spot a Fake Diamond:

  1. The transparency test. Place your diamond on a newspaper or any piece of paper with writing on it. If you are able to read through the diamond, than it’s most likely you have  a quartz or glass diamond. Real diamonds bend light because of their high refractive index, which makes it difficult to see through them, let alone read.
  2. The fog test. Diamonds are very good heat dispersers. If you hold a diamond to your mouth and blow on it, like you would when cleaning a mirror or a glass surface, a real diamond should evaporate the fog instantly. If it stays on the diamond for more than 3 or 4 seconds, you’re probably dealing with a fake.
  3. The weight test. If you own a carat or a gram scale, check the weight of your diamond. Fake ones usually weight 50-60% more than real diamonds of the same size.
  4. The sparkle test. Look very closely at your diamond’s sparkle. If you see many rainbow reflections, as beautiful as they may seem, they’re a sign of a low quality diamond or even a fake.
  5. The light test. This test can be made only if you have UV light or Black light at hand. The diamond should be placed under UV light or Black light in a dark room. If it has a blue, fluorescent glow, than it’s a real diamond. The absence of blue glow doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a fake, it could mean you have a high quality diamond. Green, yellow or grey fluorescence under UV light are common mostly for fake diamonds.
  6. The flaw test. Even though they are so expensive, diamonds are not flawless. They have tiny cracks, pinpoints or traces of carbon, called inclusions. These tiny flaws can affect the clarity of the diamond. Check with a magnified glass for inclusions and if you can’t spot any, there are two possibilities: you either have a very rare and expensive diamond that scores high on the clarity chart, or you have a fake.
  7. The metal test. As diamonds are expensive, they are usually set in precious metals, such as Palladium, Platinum, Gold or Silver. Check the jewelry for a hallmark. If  the hallmark has a (CZ) on the stamp, than your diamond is a fake, because it stands for “cubic zirconia”.

Keep in mind all these little tests don’t guarantee you accurate results, they might just help you spot really bad diamond fakes. There are so many great imitations out there, that you simply have to request professional help and get your diamonds appraised by a certified gemological laboratory. Not only will you be ensured about the quality of your diamonds, but they will be authenticated and certified. Even more, you can get insurance for your diamonds, as you would for your house or your car.

The Accredited Gemological Institute AGI New York, provides all the services above, and much more. Visit us and find out more abut our services.

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