They’re not the same!
Appraisals are one thing… Diamond reports (aka certificates) are another.
Two totally different pieces of documentation that have two very different meanings. And if you’re not careful, you could get confused or mislead.
So what is an appraisal?
A jewelry appraisal is what a jewelry store gives you on a piece of merchandise you buy (usually more expensive items). It lists items like: gold content, gram weight, the amount of diamonds or gemstones, the stone shapes and carat weight, the mounting style… Sometimes this document will also contain a picture of the item as well.
And to end it, they list a replacement value (more than likely the retail value, or an inflated value to make it seem like you got a really great deal) for insurance purposes.
This description is the jeweler’s opinion and value of the item.
Like this example appraisal here:
So what is a diamond report?
A diamond report is an official laminated (and hologrammed) report given for diamond purchases (usually just the main diamond… one certificate per diamond), and goes into exact detail of the 4c’s, the quality; color, cut, clarity, carat weight; as well as symmetry, polish, extras, and possibly a plot of the stone. As so…
Example diamond report:
This means that that particular diamond was sent out to a diamond grading company (the best is GIA – the Gemological Institute of America), and they have graded that diamond and drew up a report showing all the identifying characteristics and traits about that stone (as well as a unique diamond report number).
What’s important to note is this:
This report is NOT the jeweler’s opinion!
Meaning, that even if you don’t trust jewelers, or find the jeweler questionable, it won’t change what the GIA (or grading company) document says. That’s proof of the diamond grade and it doesn’t matter what the jeweler thinks or says. The only thing that the jeweler can do is put a retail price on it.
An outside independent opinion like this is priceless.
You can’t be deceived, you can’t be lied to.
It’s peace of mind!
The report documents all of the 4c’s, the measurements, laser inscriptions, trademark logos, drill holes, and anything else that could identify it (naturals, trigons, cavities, girdle thickness, culet thickness, crown angles, pavilion angles…) These reports do not list a dollar amount. No replacement value whatsoever. Grading companies are not there to determine price. They only grade the stone to the best of their knowledge and send it back to the jewelry store.
Buying a report, like GIA, is the best thing you can do to prevent yourself from getting ripped off.
Companies like IGI, or EGL are lax and loose in their gradings, and tend to put out not-so-accurate reports. I wouldn’t advise either of them!
If you buy a diamond engagement ring, the jeweler will usually type you up a jewelry appraisal so you can turn into your insurance company. And if the center stone is certified, they should also include a copy of the report with the appraisal as well (don’t turn in the actual diamond report. Those are expensive to replace). Plus, if the stone is certified, many insurance companies demand a copy of this report.
So if you’re buying a diamond that’s certified, make sure you get the official diamond report with it (not a sample or a copy). Then, make sure you double check that report number with the GIA diamond report checker online here. And have the jeweler make you an appraisal as well, that way you get a replacement value (which is needed incase your item is damaged, lost or stolen).
Oh, and do make sure you get it insured!
Just in case!