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I’ve sent 6 clients back to Jewelers, this week alone, because they didn’t get what they paid for! Some had “appraisals” written by the sellers, for way too high a value stating, not just higher prices, but much better grades than they actually purchased. All of these 6 purchases were made somewhere in the Caribbean, while on a cruise. Please everyone… I don’t recommend anyone buy Jewelry while on a vacation, particularly in the Caribbean, but, no matter where you buy Jewelry, be sure to get an unconditional money back guarantee… trying to get money back from sellers in the Carib., is near impossible… To make it easier… always buy on your own credit cards, not the sellers in house credit company. (read more at

And, this morning, I had a client in who purchased from one of the top “on-line” sellers of diamonds. The client purchased a 3/4ct round diamond that, after evaluation and comparison to a Gemological Institute of American (GIA) grading report, was exactly what it was supposed to be. The problem??? The client purchased the ring for $ 6,000 and I appraised it for $ 6800… not bad actually. But, the selling company gave them an “appraisal” for $ 8,100!!!! Why? To make the seller look good? To force the consumer to pay a higher premium to the Insurance Company, who, by the way, the seller recommends! So, the consumer makes a good purchase and then is shown how to pay the Insurance Company a high premium and get nothing in return. If the consumer paid $ 6,000 for the ring, why insure it for $ 8,100 when it’s a known fact that it can be replaced, which is the responsibility of the insurance company, for much less???

(read more at…)

Jewelry is a blind item for most… don’t get caught in any of these situations.

Remember… “at the Jewelry Judge, we don’t buy or sell Jewelry…. We Appraise it!”




So many times, my clients arrive in my Lab. with documents from the seller stating a value so much higher than what they paid!  In many cases, the client has insured the item using the Jewelers over inflated value!  But, who benefits by the use of the higher value?  Certainly, not the clients!


There are two beneficiaries of the higher appraised value, the Jeweler and the Insurance Company!  First, the Jeweler benefits by leading the purchaser to believe that their item is worth so much more.  For example: Your Jeweler states an item is valued at $15,000 and sells it for $7,000. I always ask the same question, “tell me one other item you can purchase for $7,000 that’s really worth $15,000?”  Of course, there are those occasional one of a kind purchases that you may find at in an antique shop or even a yard or garage sale, where the seller doesn’t know what they have or has purchased it “over the counter” at a very low price, but they’re very rare.


The second beneficiary?  The insurance companies! By accepting the over valued document from the Jeweler, the Insurance Companies are collecting enormous premiums at the cost of millions a year to the consumer. Why would you want to pay double the premiums to the Insurance Company? 


Most insurance company’s cover your Jewelry with what is known as “replacement policies”.  If you are covered by such a company, it is the obligation of the company to replace a lost or stolen item with an item of like kind and quality. In other words, if such a loss occurs, the item will be replaced rather than issuing a check.  Because of volume buying power and purchase agreements with their suppliers, most insurers can purchase an appropriate replacement for substantially less than a consumer could, and most contracts limit cash settlements to the insurance company’s actual cost. So why then would anyone want to pay the premium for an item that amounts to so much more than the actual amount spent on the item?  By paying premiums on inflated values, the only benefactors are the insurance company’s who are making millions in profits by consumers simply giving them money in the form of overpayments and getting nothing in return.


Don’t support the Insurance Companies by giving them free money!  If you want an accurate description and value, have you’re jewelry appraised by a Professional Independent Certified Appraiser, one who doesn’t buy or sell.    


The more descriptive the appraisal, the more certain you are of receiving proper replacements without overpaying your premiums.  For your protection, the gemological appraisal should virtually fingerprint your gem(s) and jewelry. It should include your stones cut, color, clarity, weight and when possible, the positions of identifying characteristics and a realistic average replacement value.




Buying New Jewelry?  Selling Your Old?


Answer: Find out what it’s really worth. Bring it to the Jewelry Judge, Barry Block, Master Gemologist Appraiser®, founder and President of the Jewelry Judge, the only Independent Professional Network of Jewelry Appraisers in the world.


At the Jewelry Judge, all appraisals are done in front of you, while you watch, in a safe, private laboratory environment, not in the middle of a jewelry store. Our only job is to appraise your gems and jewelry, so we remain completely impartial.


For all of your Jewelry Appraisal needs, new purchase, sale of old, estate, divorce or for any other purpose, contact the Jewelry Judge at 516-248-8130 or online at


“At the Jewelry Judge, we don’t buy or sell Jewelry… We appraise it!”



What exactly is an Appraiser?


If you walk down 47th St., in Manhattan, you’ll find numerous signs that say “Appraisals”.  But, are they appraisers?  If you walk into a retail jewelry store, most will offer “appraisals”.  But, who is it that is writing the appraisal?   What appraisal education do they have? What gemological education do they have? Are they sellers and/or buyers? 

 To become an appraiser takes up to five years in the jewelry industry. One should first be a Graduate Gemologist from the Gemological Institute of America, or equivalent, such as the FGA title. The G.G. or F.G.A. titles are a must. One can be an appraiser without this education, but not an appraiser of Gems and Jewelry.

An appraiser should have at least a 5 year background in the retail Jewelry industry or area of their choice. Although it's difficult, the retail business is the one industry you can learn everything about the business; from method of construction to setting and from birthstones of the month to opening watches to replacing batteries. To be an appraiser, one must know it all! So... an Appraiser of Gems and Jewelry should have the Gemological education, as well as industry education.

An Appraiser should be a member of an Appraisal organization with qualifications from the organizations and being Certified Appraiser. Just like the Gemological Education, the Appraisal education is ongoing.  To be an appraiser of Gems and Jewelry, one must be a Gemologist AND a Certified Appraiser.

Certification involves education from one of the appraisal organizations such as the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers (NAJA); the American Society of Appraisers (ASA); or the International Society of Appraisers (ISA). You can also enroll in the Master Valuer program which is a course, but not an "appraisal organization" as the others are. The combination of a Gemology degree and an Appraisal Certification qualify you to be a Certified Appraiser.

In most states and provinces, jewelry appraising is not a regulated or licensed profession. That means that you, the consumer, have no way of knowing if your appraiser is qualified or if the document you receive is up to professional standards accepted by insurance companies. Further, in the case of a loss and insurance claim, an inferior appraisal can leave you with less than your original item of jewelry.


Barry Block is the Founder and President of an innovative association of elite jewelry appraisal professionals which extends throughout the United States which  gives you a convenient way to discover the true value of your jewelry. In most states and provinces, jewelry appraising is not a regulated or licensed profession. By visiting the Jewelry Judge, you can rest assured that your appraisal is being done by a fully qualified Appraiser with gemological and appraisal training. Our "While You Watch" concept gives you the opportunity to learn and participate in the appraisal process from beginning to end. You'll also have the comfort of knowing that your jewelry never leaves your sight. The appraisal process is fast, professional, providing you with instant results that can be used when insuring your valuable items.


Important warning!

Never have your jewelry appraised by someone who charges a fee based on the value of your jewelry. This can influence the value to inflated levels to obtain a higher fee. The by-laws of every appraisal organization and of The Jewelry Judge state that this is an unethical practice.

A few of the many reasons why Jewelry Judge should be you choice...

  • Honest, ethical evaluations of your jewelry.

  • Professional appraiser with guaranteed standards of quality and education.

  • Detailed appraisal including a digital photographic image of your jewelry.

  • A "While You Watch" policy that assures your Jewelry never leaves your sight.

  • Immediate delivery of your appraisals for insurance purposes.

  • Reasonable rates that are never based on the value of your jewelry.

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