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FAQs

Woman louping a diamondHaving trouble finding answers to diamond, gemstone or jewelry questions on the Internet? Not anymore!

Browse our list of FAQs, post your own question for the expert, or contact your local AGS-certified jeweler:

Diamonds

Want To Sell Jewelry

Repairs

Identification

Appraisals

Metals

Diamond FAQs

What is an acceptable threshold of carat measurement? Could a .44ct. or .45ct. be considered a "half carat"?

In the wholesale industry, diamonds are sorted according to carat weight (among other characteristics). The sizes of 0.44ct. to 0.49ct. are considered to be "light half carats". However, when selling a diamond to a consumer, the retailer cannot represent these as half carat diamonds. A half carat must weigh at least 0.50ct. A one carat must weigh at least 1.00ct.

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What are the Hearts & Arrows from a diamond seen in a viewer?

It's an effect seen through a viewer which shows a particular symmetry and alignment of the facets on the diamond. Not all "hearts & arrows" would achieve an AGS Ideal® Cut grade. Likewise, not all AGS Ideal® Cut diamonds show the “hearts and arrows.

The American Gem Society diamond grading system addresses more than just the proportions or symmetry of a diamond. The Performance-based grading uses state of the art technology to analyze and evaluate all 58 facets in 3 dimensions. The resulting performance can be viewed with the ASET device. See images of the ASET device grading diamond quality based on the red, green, and blue colors as well as pattern and symmetry.

For more information about diamonds and their performance, visit an American Gem Society jeweler and ask to speak to a Registered Jeweler, Certified Gemologist, or Certified Gemologist Appraiser.

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I'm trying to find the AGS report with the specs for a diamond with a report number. Is that something I can find on the website?

The American Gem Society is home to a diamond grading lab to ensure consistent, consumer-oriented diamond grading reports. These diamond grading reports provide detailed information about diamonds - including cut - which is most important to its beauty.

Use the link in the above paragraph and also be sure to have the report number and weight of the diamond.

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What kind of certification (paperwork) should I receive from a jeweler to authenticate the diamond?

You should receive information on your receipt which includes the diamond’s carat weight, shape, measurements, cut, color, and clarity grades. Some jewelers also provide a separate document - called a Statement of Replacement Cost - which is suitable to give to your insurance company to obtain insurance to cover damage or loss to the diamond. American Gem Society retail members also provide a diamond quality certificate to ensure the authenticity and quality of the diamond you are purchasing.

If the diamond is set into a mounting, that information should be provided too -- including the metal and a description of the style, manufacturing technique, and weight in grams or pennyweights. A picture is good to have too -- but not without the other information. By the way, the Statement of Replacement Cost document should explain the grading terminology used to determine the value of the item and a listing of the equipment used. For example, a 10-power binocular microscope was used to judge clarity; a set of Master Diamonds were used to determine the color grade. 

For more information about professional documentation of diamonds and jewelry, consult either a Certified Gemologist Appraiser or Independent Certified Gemologist Appraiser of the American Gem Society.

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What is the definition of an AGS Triple Zero®?

This term has been used to describe a diamond which has the highest grade (0) for proportions, symmetry, and polish. However, the AGS Performance grading for the cut of a diamond now assesses the performance, proportions, and finish. That’s still three categories, but the Finish includes both symmetry and polish, technically addressing four categories. 

According to the Diamond Standards of the American Gem Society, for a diamond to receive a grade of AGS Triple Zero®, it must achieve an AGS Ideal® grade for its cut, color, and clarity. This means the best cut of a colorless and flawless diamond of any size.

AGS Triple Zero® AGS Ideal® AGS Triple 0® and AGS 0® are all registered trademarks.

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Want To Sell Jewelry FAQs

I have a diamond ring I no longer need. When I go to where I bought it they just want to trade it in, not buy it. I have a card that states all its information and a value of $8300. Now I know I won’t get that much, but I would like to get $5500. How do I go about this?

It’s a challenge for a consumer to re-sell their diamond or other jewelry. This is because of the limited market to sell it in. A jeweler is in the business of selling jewelry to consumers and purchasing jewelry from a manufacturer or supplier. When a consumer wants to sell an item, the jeweler will typically offer less than they would pay to their regular suppliers.

As you found, some jewelers offer trade-ins as another option. This can present a better value to the consumer. There are jewelers who actively look for diamonds to purchase from individuals. This information may be in their advertising or listed on their website. I suggest you contact at least three sources. However, the reality is that if a diamond has a replacement value of $8300, your offers may be less than half of that.

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I’ve been thinking of selling my gold jewelry. How do I know I’m getting a fair price for it?

With the current state of the economy and the high value of gold today, many people are searching their jewelry boxes for instant cash. Here are some facts:

Pure gold is 24 karat yellow – 10 karat is 10/24 gold; 14 karat is 14/24 gold and 18 karat is 18/24 gold. (The rest is a metal alloy.)

How is the worth of the gold figured? Here’s an example:

Price of 24 karat gold -- $1000/ounce (changes daily)
14 karat is .585 (58% gold)
Weight is in pennyweight (dwt) or grams (gr)
There are approximately 20dwt/ounce; 31.1grams/ ounce
The weight of our 14 karat example is 10gr (heavy wedding band):

$1000 / 31.1gr = $32.15 per gram of 24 karat gold
$32.15 X .585 = $18.81 per gram of 14 karat gold
$18.81 X 10 grams = $188.10 gold value

Now, deduct the cost to send the gold to a refiner, and the refining costs. Depending on the quantity of gold sent to the refiner, those costs could vary. For example, you wouldn’t want to send in 10 grams of gold for refining. A jeweler would wait until he or she had a sizeable quantity – perhaps 10 ounces or more.

If you are offered 50% of the “gold value”, that’s $94.05; 10% is $18.81. That’s quite a range. What’s fair? The informed consumer can make that decision.

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Repairs FAQs

I need to have my engagement ring repaired, and I don't know who to trust. I'm afraid they will switch stones on me. I don't really know anyone. Any suggestions?

Finding a jeweler you can trust can be as difficult as locating a good Doctor or as scary as using a new hair stylist! I recommend an American Gem Society member who has met the strict requirements for membership that include professional credentials and a commitment to consumer protection. Find the AGS certified jewelry stores in your area now.

Not all jewelers offer a repair service. You should call or visit to inquire. Some jewelers use an independent bench jeweler who performs the work at his or her own location. You should know that your item is insured while in the jewelry store – or at the jewelers – and we suggest you agree on a replacement value before you leave it.

All members of the American Gem Society are required to own a microscope. You can be shown a characteristic of your diamond before you leave it, and then view it again when you pick it up. This is one way to help you feel secure that your diamond is returned to you.

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Identification FAQs

I have found some stones that have gem qualities. I am interested in having them identified. Could you please direct me to someone who can identify them?

You need the expertise of a Certified Gemologist (CG) or Certified Gemologist Appraiser (CGA) of the American Gem Society. They have the education and gemological equipment (an Accredited Gem Lab) to identify color gemstones.

If the stones are rough rather than polished, it could present a challenge for identification. A gemologist needs a polished surface in order to conduct an important test called a refractive index. Sometimes a piece of rough has enough of a smooth surface to conduct this test. It's best to visit a CG or CGA and get an estimate for the identification. You can then decide if you want to proceed. If they are unable to make an ID, they may recommend someone else.

Get a list of AGS certified jewelry appraisers in your area now.

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I recently inherited two necklaces from my great grandmother. One of them is a pearl necklace with clear stones strung in-between the pearls. I also have a necklace made of light blue stones similar to the ones strung in-between the pearls. Can you tell me what these stones are?

The only professional way to proceed is to consult a credentialed gemologist/appraiser who might need to perform gemological testing to determine the species of the light blue stones, and the origin of the pearls -- natural, cultured or imitation. If there is a charge for this service, you should be advised of the amount before you decide to proceed.

A Certified Gemologist or Certified Gemologist Appraiser of the American Gem has the education, experience, and ethics to test the stones and value your two necklaces.

Get a list of AGS certified jewelry appraisers in your area now.

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Appraisals FAQs

Is there some type of national list that identifies certified jewelry appraisers? Do you have a list of your members that is accessible via the Internet?

It is so important to consult a credentialed appraiser who has education and experience in gemology and appraising. The American Gem Society provides a list of Certified Jewelry Appraisers where you can search by state for either a Certified Gemologist Appraiser or an Independent Certified Gemologist Appraiser.

You can also contact the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers at www.najaappraisers.com or the American Society of Appraisers at www.appraisers.org.

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Could you give me a price range for a .80 carat diamond, I2 clarity, H-I color? I ‘m not sure I got the best price.

You have provided information on only 3 of the 4 Cs. The most important element to the diamond’s value is its Cut quality. Also, it’s not possible to accurately value a diamond that is not personally examined by the appraiser – just as you can’t judge the beauty of the diamond without seeing it!

I suggest you contact a professional gemologist/appraiser, such as a Certified Gemologist Appraiser of the American Gem Society. They have the education, experience, and ethics to best advise you on the value of the diamond. Be careful - the lowest price is not always the best value. Find the AGS certified jewelry appraisers in your area now.

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Metals FAQs

Does gold have to be stamped or hallmarked in the U.S.?

According to the Federal Trade Commission’s Guidelines, jewelry does not have to be marked with the quality of the metal; however, if the item is stamped with the gold content (or other metal), it must also be marked with the maker's initials or trademark. For more information about markings and other jewelry guidelines, visit www.ftc.gov Search "jewelry guides".

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A little over a year ago I gave my wife her wedding ring, which is white gold. Lately, she has been developing a rash on her finger, not long after she puts it on. I’m guessing it may be from some of the chemicals used in the process to make white gold that is becoming exposed. Is there any way to combat this?

Many times it is the nickel alloy used to make white gold which causes an allergic reaction. When the ring was new, it may have had a rhodium finish to make the white gold appear brighter. The reaction could result after the plating wears away.

You can have the ring plated again; however, it is not inexpensive. Rhodium is a metal from the platinum group of metals and is rare and expensive. For a ring, the plating rarely lasts a year before it wears away again.

I have heard of “painting" the inside of the ring with clear nail polish. Both options are temporary! You may want to consider a different metal for the ring, Depending on the style, this could be a very expensive option, but one that would last a lifetime. You might want to consider platinum or palladium - both are a pure white metal which is hypoallergenic. Consult your jeweler or a member of the American Gem Society for further advice.

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