Here are some tips on how to appraise and value diamond jewellery when assessing their value for sale purposes.
The information listed below is a guide for those wishing to know more about how diamonds are valued:
Diamonds are the hardest of all known natural substances composed of pure carbon.
The five Cs are integral when appraising and pricing diamond jewellery:
The history of the pieces I’ve been instructed to sell never ceases to astound and delight me; be it inherited jewellery, bank collections in London where I’ve sold fabulous diamonds alongside gold jewellery or just a single piece of vintage or modern jewellery. The charming ladies and gentlemen I’ve met over the years are just as joyful as the stories they’ve told me, all of which are fascinating. That’s why I love my profession. Reflecting on some of my gratefully received reviews makes me feel very touched and proud of the comments received. Many reviews shown have been about research, selling or being instructed to sell high end vintage or diamond jewellery whether it be diamond rings, diamond cluster brooches or fine diamond Riviere necklaces, one of the most popular and enduring styles of necklace to come out of the Georgian period. Over the many years I’ve sold exquisite pieces of gold and platinum jewellery ranging from classic Cartier to modern Kutchinsky to a single bar brooch! All of these are still sought after by collectors however high or low in value.
An example is of two delightful ladies from Surrey who contacted me August 2017
The above clients contacted me by phone requesting a meeting, they drove down to Sussex to visit me at my office where they instructed me to sell their diamond and gold jewellery privately. I researched and appraised the items and they were absolutely delighted with the overall sale.
I’m going to share some further details on one of the pieces I sold on their behalf which was a bangle: (permission given by the client); to be precise: a late Victorian oval hinged rose hollow double bangle with an old cut diamond set crossover top section set with a cultured pearl centre.
The colour of the diamond was 1-J, the clarity was VS/S1 and the cut was “old cut” and “rose cut”, the pearl was light cream in colour, the lustre – medium and the gold bangle itself was 15ct yellow gold – not hallmarked, the weight was 20.9 grams. I sourced a private collector, much to the delight of my clients and shown below is the bangle and their review.
He is a man of his word and he delivered all that he promised!
"We were bequeathed extremely high end diamond/ gold jewellery and signed pieces and approached top jewellers and auctioneers (being somewhat out of our depth and new to the selling procedure for expert appraisals/ valuations). However, before selling, we felt we needed another expert appraisal and contacted Vernon - what good fortune that was! After asking him to sell our jewellery, We received excellent service, a far better return than expected and all with no hidden charges. From beginning to end, he was attentive and reassuring. He operates in a friendly, hospitable way which made doing business with him a pleasure. He is a man of his word and he delivered all that he promised!"
Lynn D - Surrey
A graduated, 4 strand necklace of natural pearls with emerald and diamond clasp – successfully sold by Vernon Ward.
A client came to visit me from London with a view to instructing me to act as her agent for the sale of some vintage Cartier diamond jewellery, amongst which was the above which was a family heirloom. She felt it was time for her to sell some of her collection and she informed me that the pearls once belonged to an overseas Royal Princess (good provenance if you have the documentation) and that she believed them to be natural pearls; a small problem comes with this unless you have a certificate such as, for example, from the Swiss Gemmologist Institute (S.S.E.F.). Without such a certificate they can not be sold as natural pearls. I was faced with the all-important task of the research necessary to achieve this authentication.
First and foremost, I showed the pearl necklace to a perspective collector I knew, who is an expert in pearls, but alas, unless I came up with the certificate and provenance (having provenance would raise the bar by many thousands of pounds) he was sceptical of buying them as natural pearls. So, my first task was to have the pearl necklace sent to Switzerland to be tested. This can also be done in England but in my opinion a certificate from the S.S.E.F. is a key document when proving whether natural or cultured.
Next, whilst the pearls were away being tested, I needed to source the provenance via the seller and me cross-referencing through my library of books. I hold a plethora of information on jewellery, I prefer checking books first and, it’s more enjoyable as well, but I couldn’t find anything to substantiate the story or who they once belonged to i.e. from a Royal Blood line! And without a letter, for example, left with the pearl necklace and handed down, it tends to fall on deaf ears when selling any items or jewellery, antiques, and works of art – unless provenance is 100% watertight it holds no value in the eyes of any would-be collector. I returned to the client in London and met up with her at her house and we enjoyed many hours together trying to see if provenance could be upheld. Alas no, it was not meant to be - for the month the pearls were in Switzerland, I was still confident that the pearls were “Natural”. Despite enjoying the company of “The Lady with the Pearl Necklace” as we searched for provenance we came to a dead end.
After a month, I received that all important S.S.E.F. certificate, together with the necklace returned, confirming they were 344 natural pearls and 3 cultured. Excellent news – my instinct had been right. Anyway, this certificate set the bar into selling an excellent 4 strand natural pearl necklace. I returned to London armed with my certificate and the vendor was absolutely delighted. They were sold to a private buyer for an undisclosed sum smashing all previous estimates (it never fails to amaze me that some appraisals are often too low because proper research is not carried out). While I was sourcing a buyer, the client asked me if the diamond and emerald clasp could be made in to a ring for her so that she could retain a piece of the necklace and family history. I told her I completely agreed it was a great idea (mind you the emerald was worth a few thousand pounds on its own let alone the diamond surround!) I had it made into a beautiful gold emerald and diamond ring and she still has it to this very day.