Diamond Grading vs. Appraisal
A diamond’s physical attributes should be graded by a reliable independent lab such as GIA or AGS which issue a Diamond Grading Report or Certificate. This report does not give you the retail replacement value that you need for insurance purposes. You may also receive an appraisal or assessment of your stone from a jewelry store or independent appraiser. Both are important, but be sure to get the Diamond Grading Report rather than just an appraisal before purchasing your very special diamond.

Diamond Grading Report

A Diamond Grading Report documents the diamond’s unique characteristics. Performed by an independent gemological laboratory, the report examines and identifies the 4Cs: cut, color, clarity, carat weight-plus finish, fluorescence, and symmetry. The lab will also include the physical characteristics of the stone. It is important to keep in mind that diamond grading is subjective. Two labs may grade a diamond differently so it is critical to obtain a report from a lab that is trustworthy and has a reputation for reliability. The American Gemological Society (AGS), International Gemological Institute (IGI), Gemological Institute of America (GIA), and European Gemological Laboratory (EGL), are a few reputable organizations that provide such grading reports. Diamond grading reports do not give the retail value of the stone, for this you will need an appraisal.

At Eye for Gems we provide a retail replacement appraisal based on market data. This can be used for insurance purposes.

Quick Facts


An appraisal is an evaluation conducted by an independent firm to determine that the diamonds and precious metals are genuine and match the criteria listed in the Diamond Grading Report. The appraisal report consists of a description of the article and shows its estimated retail replacement value. Not all jewelry that is appraised has a Diamond Grading Report.

It is possible for an appraisal to be performed on a loose or mounted diamond or any other type of jewelry. If the stone is mounted, then the physical properties are analyzed using various techniques that are very similar to the diamond grading process. The 4Cs, carat, clarity, cut and the color is all assessed, and the combination of those factors aid in determining the monetary value of the diamond. The main purpose of an appraisal is to estimate the monetary value of the piece, generally for insurance purposes. Keep in mind an appraisal is an opinion of value based upon market conditions.

The appraiser should be totally unbiased, independent, and not be trying to sell you ‘one of his own’. IGI is one of the largest appraising firms in the industry but there are many independent appraisers. The key is to find someone you trust and make sure they have the credentials to appraise jewelry. Gemological training is crucial. Choose a professional jewelry appraiser who is a credentialed member of a nationally recognized jewelry appraisal organization, such as the American Society of Appraisers (ASA), International Society of Appraisers ISA, and American Gem Society AGS, as well as a Graduate Gemologist (GG) of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).

Estimating the Replacement Value

Appraisers use one of two methods (and sometimes both) to estimate replacement value. Usually, an appraiser breaks down all the components and applies the average mark-up to the piece indicative of the market level (cost method) and then researches the price the piece is currently selling for (market data comparison method). Also, see Save Real Money.

What does an Appraisal include?

Appraisals normally give an accurate qualitative report of the diamond. They may include:

  • Identity of the diamond
  • Measurements and weights of the stones
  • Relevant treatment information
  • Description of the stone (carat, clarity, and color)
  • Approximate weight and description of the mounting
  • Cleaning and thorough inspection of the piece
  • Photograph
  • Appraiser’s credentials
  • Certification of appraisal practices

In-House Appraisals

People often use an in-house appraiser (an appraiser who works for the jewelry store where the merchandise has been purchased) to assess newly purchased jewelry. If the appraiser works for the store where the jewelry was purchased, the appraisal may not be completely objective and you may want to consider an independent appraiser. For this reason, we offer a Retail Replacement Appraisal based on the current market trends and is for insurance purposes.