NGL has state-of-the-art facilities for the appraisal of fine jewelry where you may watch the process by appointment, if requested.
The Appraisal Process
Since NGL specializes in appraisals for insurance and estates, we predominately see finished jewelry, where the stones are set into mountings. This creates a need for careful attention, since mountings can inhibit any aspect of the examination process. While NGL maintains an exceptional record for accuracy, no one can be as specific when examining a mounted stone versus one that is loose.
Mounted vs loose examination
If you wish to know an exact stone weight, specific grading or proportion analysis, you must have your jeweler remove the stone before submission for an appraisal. Bear in mind, removing and re-setting a stone requires a jeweler’s expertise, will cost money and may structurally weaken a mounting – reserve this for significant stones or when the situation requires it. Usually, we have little problem grading within the mounting, but will advise you if concerned.
Bring previous documents
If a stone (or the entire item) has been examined previously, any paperwork or representations are submitted at the time of appraisal. We will then be able to discuss any discrepancies we find, and verify the stone/item being the same. Since most diamonds sold today as center stones are already certified, it is important to verify the diamond to the certificate. The diamond’s exact weight is therefore known and if it matches the original paperwork the provided weight would be more accurate than an estimate in the mounting. If we disagree, NGL will not rely on another’s representation for color or clarity, but give our opinion. We will reference an original document on our appraisal in two cases – diamond reports from The Gem Trade Lab of the GIA and the American Gemological Society (AGS). These are the most respected in the industry and have set the standard for which we at NGL try to adhere.
With the prevalence of loose diamond certification today, there has been a significant rise in false documentation from “labs” with impressive certificates bearing inaccurate information. When caught soon enough the situation is easy to remedy, but if left uncontested, the terms of acceptance may become an issue. Occasionally, a diamond doesn’t match its certification. This may be due to human error rather than misrepresentation, but in either case, needs to be addressed. Other times, the certification may match the diamond described, but the diamond is graded higher than is actually the case. Again, at NGL we try our best to grade to GIA standards and will not “rubber stamp” inaccurate certificates.
Making an appointment
We schedule while-you-wait appointments between the hours of 10am and 3pm, Monday through Friday, Pacific time. Fees are due upon completion and may be by cash, personal check, or Visa/Mastercard.
Allow from one-half hour per item. Your jewelry will be examined in-lab, returned to you during your appointment time and you will receive the finished appraisal before you leave, unless additional research is required. While you are not required to stay during your appointment time (most of our clients shop at Bellevue Square or go to Tully’s across the street) you have the option of waiting in our lobby or watching the gemologist perform the appraisal process.
Since we take a limited number of appointments each day, advance reservations are required. Most of our appointments are scheduled within the upcoming week, but you may also make one far in advance or check that day, in case of cancellations. A phone call will tell you what we have available. Another option is to schedule an early morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up. This allows both you and the appraiser some flexibility while getting the appraisal done in the same day. Fees for an appointment follow our rate card. Call our office at 425-455-0985 to schedule an appointment. We generally accept up to three (3) items on a while-you-wait basis, with a discount for the second and third item.
Multiple piece appraisals
We also make appointments to preview larger jobs for both insurance and estates. We will quote you a time frame and appraisal fees as well as advise you on which items require an appraisal for the intended purpose. No additional fee is involved if articles are left for appraisal. Fees for consultation may apply if gemological tests and examinations are involved and no items are left for appraisal.
You do not need an appointment when dropping off jewelry for appraisal. Articles may be left between the hours of 8:30am and 4:00 pm Monday through Thursday and 8:30am to 3:30pm on Friday. You will be quoted a fee and turnaround time for pick-up, or called upon completion – generally three to five business days. Contact Northwest Gemological Laboratory for current service rates.