Have gemstones appraised

Diamonds, rubies, sapphires and other precious stones are rare, beautiful and sought-after – and therefore valuable. There is general agreement on this point. But how much a single gemstone is actually worth is less easy to determine, because each specimen is unique.

If you want to have your gemstones appraised, there are therefore several factors to consider.

Get gemstones and jewelry appraised

Unlike precious metals such as gold and silver, whose price is determined by supply and demand on the world market, the market for gemstones is unregulated. This means that the value of the stones is measured individually by the quality of each specimen. Each gemstone is unique and has its own price. This makes the value of jewels hardly assessable for laymen and for the value determination an examination of the precious stones by an expert is inevitable.

Only diamonds are easier to grade, since their price is determined worldwide according to more or less controlled criteria. With the IDEX, there has been a worldwide valid diamond index for processed diamonds for several years. The Rapaport Diamond Report is also used by dealers worldwide to price diamonds.

When gemstones are incorporated into jewelry, the entire piece of jewelry is usually valued. So not only the value of the gems alone is used to determine the price, but also the other processed materials, for example gold or silver.

Each gemstone is unique and has its own price.

Determine the value of gemstones

In addition to demand and rarity, the value of a gemstone is primarily determined by the 4 C’s – Carat, Cut, Color and Clarity – as well as its origin.

4 C’s: Carat, Cut, Color, Clarity

The weight of gemstones is measured in carats. The larger the stone, the higher its value per carat.

Very few gems are sold in their rough form. Instead, they come to retail stores cut. The cut enhances the luster of the stone.

The color of a gemstone also affects its value. The clearer and purer, or in the case of colored gemstones, the more intense the hue, the higher the quality.

Especially with transparent gemstones the clarity is a quality feature. Inclusions reduce the price.


In addition to the 4 C’s, the location where a gemstone was found also plays a role in determining its value. Sapphires from Kashmir and rubies from Burma, for example, are particularly sought after and are considered the most precious in the world.

Why should you get gemstones appraised?

Normally, when you buy gemstones above a certain value from reputable sellers, you will automatically receive an appraisal or certificate that attests to the authenticity of the piece and includes a valuation. However, if no such information is available, it makes sense to have the gems appraised. For example, if you are dealing with heirlooms, you want to sell gemstones or stones worked into jewelry, or you want to have the authenticity of gemstones purchased abroad verified.

Mostly, however, the appraisal of gems serves the purpose of having a proof of value of the stones in insurance cases. A well-founded appraisal by an expert is necessary in order to be able to insure the precious jewels appropriately.

When investing in gemstones, a certificate something-or-other is mandatory. Because it increases the value of the pieces and only a certified stone achieves the best possible sales price.

Where can you get gemstones appraised?

For a serious and safe estimate, only independent gemological laboratories should be trusted.

For laymen it is almost impossible to estimate gemstones. Even for professionals, it is sometimes difficult to verify the authenticity of a mineral and to classify it correctly. In particular, the determination of treatments and the origin of a gemstone are associated with considerable effort. Therefore, the appraisal should be done by a qualified expert with many years of experience and full laboratory equipment.

1. jeweler
If you wish to have gemstones appraised, a jeweler is usually the first place to go. However, a trip to the local jeweler may not be successful, as jewelry store personnel are often not trained to perform a professional appraisal.

2. dealers
Similar to jewelers, you should make sure that a gem dealer has the necessary qualifications and modern measuring equipment. Generally, caution should be exercised with certificates issued by jewelers or dealers. Most of the time, they are not generally recognized documents – therefore, they are practically worthless in case of resale.

3. gemological laboratory
For a serious and safe appraisal you should only trust independent gemological laboratories. For colored gemstones, the Swiss Foundation for Gemstone Research (SSEF) or the Swiss Research Gemlab (GRS) are recommended, for diamonds the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Their certificates certify the authenticity of the gemstone and describe and classify its individual characteristics. The cost of a certificate is usually 0.5% to 2% of the appraised value.

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Dr. Thomas Schröck
The Author:

Dr. Thomas Schröck

The founder and managing partner of THE NATURAL GEM has been active in international gemstone trading for 30 years. As a doctor of economics and a certified gemmologist in Switzerland, Germany and the USA, among other countries, he is one of Europe’s leading experts on naturally-coloured, untreated gemstones and investments in them.


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