Diamond Engagement Ring Appraisals Now Live!

Richard Drucker one of this country’s foremost expert Independent Appraisers of Diamonds and Fine Jewelry Richard Drucker
has now developed “Live” Interactive appraisal software for the Internet.
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Jewelers and appraisers interested in seeing how his Gemworld International’s GemGuide Appraisal Software works, can now do so through live, interactive demonstrations on the Internet.

“This new technology is exciting for us to have since, after all, we are selling a technology product,” Gemworld President Richard Drucker said in a statement. In the past, we would send interested people a demonstration CD, and we also had a training CD. Now we are live. What could be better?”

Prospective users and current users can visit Gemguide.com to sign up for a demonstration or training session on the software. Upcoming demonstration dates are July 2, July 9, July 16 and July 25, all at 3:00 p.m. CST. Each session is approximately 15 minutes, and attendees are invited to participate in a live question-and-answer session at the end.

Since 2002, Gemworld International has developed and owned the GemGuide Appraisal Software, which is fully integrated with diamond and gem pricing. The software has an initial setup fee of $295, which includes training and the first 100 uses of the software. Users pay only a small fee (less than $1) for each appraisal item that they do. All upgrades and technical support are free.

Cool! Congrats Richard!

Bill Lieberum (“RockDoc”) Appraiser & Consumer Advocate, 57

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Willium R. Lieberum {“Rockdoc”}

It is with tremendous sadness that we report the news of the untimely passing of one of our dear friends and a true “gem” in the diamond industry; Bill Lieberum of Boca Raton Florida, at age 57.

Bill, who was affectionately known all over the Internet as “Rockdoc”, was a diamond and gem appraiser par excellence. He was also a tremendous consumer advocate for over 25 years.

Bill, operated two websites that were oriented towards consumer protection and education for all things related to diamond jewelry and diamond engagement rings.

He was an independent diamond appraiser of the highest order and his comprehensive diamond reports were unrivaled and legendary.

Bill would always tell the story of how he got involved in diamond and jewelry appraisals over 25 years ago “having bought some diamonds for investment, that graded lower than the seller represented them to be.”

From that point on, he decided to dedicate his life’s work to consumer advocacy in the diamond and jewelry trade.

Bill grew up in the Philadelphia area, was a Gemological Institute of America Graduate Gemologist, a former American Gem Society retail store owner, and a Certified Gemologist Appraiser.

In the early 1980′s, Lieberum closed his AGS retail store and started working as an independent appraiser gemologist. By the mid ’80s, Lieberum served as an expert advisor for the Philadelphia district attorneys’ office of economic crimes. He was a member of the International Society of Appraisers, and was an expert witness in several high profile legal cases, including the infamous 1986 diamond fraud case against Ron Perlstein of Sansom Street, the once famous Philadelphia jeweler who plead “no contest” to criminal charges.

However, it was with the evolution of the Internet that Bill got his chance to shine. It was on the net that Bill became a legend and where he is being remembered as a consumer advocate who left an indelible and irreplaceable impression upon the diamond industry.

In 1991, Lieberum opened Consumers Gem Laboratory in Boca Raton, Fla. Bill had turned his attention to the Internet with the purpose of helping the many new consumers who were turning to the net to purchase their diamond engagement rings.

Bill understood the tremendous potential, both good and bad, of the Internet as a medium for selling diamonds and jewelry. He was determined to become the voice for the consumer on the Internet and began disseminating his vast knowledge on Internet diamond forums long before they were popularized.

In fact, in a short period, Bill became recognized on various popular diamond discussion forums, like www.diamondtalk.com, www.pricescope.com, www.diamond.info and www.diamondchitchat.com for his incredible efforts to educate readers and trade members in the legal/practical ramifications relating to gemology and valuation science.

Bill was recognized and respected by prominent diamond appraisers across the country, including Dave Atlas of Accredited Gem Appraisers and Marty Haske of Adams Gemological Laboratory, to name a few.

It was also during this time that our family diamond business decided to embrace the age of the Internet and launch our diamond websites at www.superbcert.com and subsequently at www.exceldiamonds.com

We quickly formed a very close friendship with Rockdoc who offered us of his knowledge and expertise during those early years of selling diamonds and engagement rings over the Internet. Bill introduced us to some diamond retailers and jewelers with whom we formed strong partnerships.

My Dad, Barry Gutwein (President of www.exceldiamonds.com), even traveled to Florida on occasion to meet with Bill personally.

I will never forget Bill’s hearty laughter and his uncanny ability to hold a 2 hour conversation with me over the phone which never got boring or stale! He was literally a treasure trove of information related to diamonds, jewelry and basically anything of interest!

His incredible passion for diamonds (he affectionately called them his “pet rocks”!) was infectious and his desire to empower consumers absolutely astounding.

He desired to teach on his own terms and was adamant about his positions even when they engendered some opposition from within the diamond trade.

I distinctly remember my Dad and Bill being at odds over the issue of “diamond strain“. In fact, most industry experts took the opposite position from Bill on this issue. However, to Bill it didn’t matter. He was never one to back down from a firmly held belief even when it wasn’t popular or accepted.

Just about 2 weeks ago, I received what would be the final phone call from Bill. He was just calling to “chat” about this and that. He was upset that he couldn’t go to the annual JCK show in Las Vegas (he was exceptionally committed to his elderly aunt who he lived with) etc.

After shmoozing it up for about 25 minutes, I remember hanging up and thinking, “boy that was a short conversation”!

Now Bill is gone and we will truly miss those conversations and our friendship.

The diamond industry and diamond consumers (specifically on the Internet), have lost a critical and powerful voice and advocate.

Most importantly, the world has lost a wonderful and decent human being who put aside his needs, both emotional and financial, to help others every chance he got.

Bill Lieberum, “RockDoc”, we will sorely miss you!

May you rest in peace.

Find a Diamond Appraiser

We have previously blogged on the importance of finding an independent diamond appriaser to evaluate your loose diamond or set diamond engagement ring.

Here are some previous diamond appraiser information postings on our blog.

The bottom line is that when you are investing thousands of dollars on a valuable diamond or diamond engagement ring, it is imperative that you find a diamond appraiser to evaluate your purchase while you can still return your purchase for a refund. It is also important for the purposes of properly insuring your investment.

Here is a list of completely Independent Diamond Appraisers.

Consumer’s Rights on Diamond & Jewelry Appraisals.

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Consumers buying diamonds and diamond jewelry should get Independent Appraisals of their merchandise.

Getting an Appraisal from the Merchant who sold you the item(s) is not the best way to go. In fact, it is extremely unethical for a seller of diamonds & jewelry to issue “an appraisal” for his own merchandise. This is frowned on by every one of the appraisal organizations and insurance companies alike because of the obvious vested interest a jeweler has in validating (at the very least) what he’s charged for the item, on one of his own in-house generated “appraisal” reports.

Certainly, anybody who gives you an “appraisal” together with their merchandise is going to tell you whatever they know you wish to hear…..truth is, these kind of “appraisals” are worthless and are usually designed to deceive not to enlighten.

While it may look cool for a diamond or jewelry vendor to “throw” in an “appraisal” with the package, and some unscrupulous jewlers even flaunt this added “perk” they give you, gratis, beware of this sham as it is of no practical value to you the consumer, and may actually be indicative of some other “shady” practices of said jeweler.

The same is true if the Vendor offers to directly pay the Independent Appraiser for your Appraisal or offers to reimburse you for this cost. This fee should be directly paid by you to the Appraiser and all fees negotiated directly between you and the Appraiser without the Vendor’s interference.
It just makes sense that if the appraiser is paid by the Vendor for your Appraisal, objectivity is tainted.

The National Association of Jewelry Appraisers (NAJA) has distributed a Client’s Bills of Rights to more than 700 of its members.

After a six-month study of standard bill of rights from similar organizations, including the American Society for Quality and the American Society of Association Executives, NAJA’s Client’s Bill of Rights was created. It contains 13 abiding principles such as the right of the client to have the appraisal charges explained before the process, the right of the client to have his or her confidentiality respected, and the right of the client to have appraisal records retained for at least five years.

The NAJA is the largest membership association specializing exclusively in gem and jewelry appraising and related appraisal issues. It offers education, biannual conferences and networking opportunities with knowledgeable appraisal professionals. The NAJA Conference Scholarship gives a gemology student a first-hand experience of networking with appraisal professionals by attending the NAJA Educational Conference during a time when Tucson devotes itself to gems, jewelry and minerals.

For further information on becoming a NAJA member, attending the NAJA’s Tucson Educational Conference or the 2007 Conference Scholarship opportunity, contact Gail Brett Levine, GG, Executive Director, The National Association of Jewelry Appraisers, P.O. Box 18, Rego Park, NY 11374, (718) 896-1536, fax (718) 997-9057, naja.appraisers@netzero.net, NAJAappraisers.com.

Wedding Insurance: Do You Really Need It?

Having an insurance to cover your home or car is a no-brainer and in almost all States mandatory.

Specialty insurance is a growing segment of the insurance market, says Jeanne Salvatore, spokeswoman for the Insurance Information Institute, a New York-based industry group.

“There are only so many cars and homes out there to insure,” Salvatore says. And insurance products have to keep up with a changing world. For example:

How about insurance to cover your costs if your wedding gets canceled?

So what happens if you spend a boatload of money on your big day and you have to postpone because of something like a flood or a hurricane or because the bride or groom or one of their parents is hospitalized?

Maybe you lose your deposits. Maybe you have to reschedule at great expense. Not to worry: Wedding insurance can help.

Such policies will cover expenses if you have to reschedule your wedding for a “covered reason,” such as Mother Nature, illness or military deployment.

If the bride or groom simply gets cold feet, though, forget it.

The policies cover expenses like forfeited deposits and travel expenses. If a rowdy dancer or drunken guest runs into your gift table at the reception and causes it to collapse and break some of your gifts, the damage is covered. If your wedding photos don’t turn out, the insurance will pay to reconvene your wedding party to take replacement photos. If the best man loses the wedding rings, it’s covered. And if a wedding postponement or cancellation causes the bride or groom to need professional counseling, the insurance will pay for the sessions.
Mother-In-Law clause is NOT included in the Policy.

One policy, WedSafe insurance through Robertson Taylor Insurance Brokers Ltd. of London, costs $185 for about $15,000 coverage, and $405 for about $75,000 coverage.

Good Idea!

Do You Know How To Buy Your Diamond Engagement Ring?

NOT as this couple unfortunately found out. Be A Smart Diamond Shopper

We totally agree. Here are our recommendations for your safe diamond engagement and wedding ring shopping:

1. Work with a reputable Jeweler; be it Brick & Mortar (B&M) or Internet. Check with your local BBB and the Jewelers Vigilance Committe (www.jvclegal.org)

2. Know what you’re buying. Make sure your diamond has a lab grading report. The two most stringent, accurate, and consistent diamond grading labs are the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) and the AGS (Americn Gemological Society). Insist on them.

3. If you’re more comfortable shopping with a B&M Jeweler, look at as many diamonds as you can and away from the diamond counter’s high intensity halogen lights which tend to make even the ugliest darkest diamonds look D-Flawless.

4. If you’re shopping with an Internet Diamond vendor, make sure that they can examine the diamond for you to determine if there are any red flags you need to know about which would dissuade you from buying the stone.
A great number of Internet Vendors sell of Virtual Diamond (VD) databases and never see the diamond you’re buying. The diamond is drop-shipped directly to you from the manufacturer. We covered this topic in more detail here: Cyberspace Diamonds

5. Ask the Internet Vendor to supply you with as much information as possible, including photo’s.

6. Be clear and understand the Vendor’s Policies: Payment, Returns, Upgrades, etc. and any timelines or deadlines that might accompany these Policies.

7. Ask about and receive any paperwork that comes with the diamond.

8. Stay away from in-house Appraisals. Such Appaisals are inflated, will cost you undue high insurance Premiums, and is a practice that is frowned upon and not sanctioned by the reputable National Association Of Jewelry Appraisers (NAJA). Best is to get an evaluation and Appraisal from an Independent Appraiser that does not work for a Jewlery store and does not sell their own diamonds and jewelry. Contact NAJA for a llisting and location of such Appraisers.

Shop Smart. This is a big purchase not only in terms of money but also in terms of emotional significance.

Good Luck!

Loose Baguette Diamond: What Is It & What To Look For.

A straight baguette is a relatively small, elongated diamond that usually is rectangular in shape. The cut is characterized by square corners with rows of step-cut or steplike facets parallel to the table. Baguettes do not conform to the Federal Trade Commission’s” 17 -facet” requirement for diamonds.

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Straight Baguette.

The name of the cut must proceed the word diamond. Baguettes today are most often employed as side stones, although they also can be the main shape in full-band rings or fashion rings. When used as side stones they serve to camouflage the shoulders of the center stone, masking it £rom the girdle to the culet. Baguettes can also be lined up to produce a continuous flow of diamonds on a ring, bracelet, brooch (i.e. circlet) or necklace.

Baguettes are usually channel-set, but sometimes prong set. Less-expensive baguettes are often channel-set into bracelets. Measured in millimeters more often than weight because their size must be precise for their function, typical sizes for today’s side baguettes are from 1.5 mm to 3 mm in length. For larger, more important pieces, designers and retailers may order straight baguettes of 2.7 mm to 4.7 mm, for example.

The word “baguette” is a French word for a long, narrow loaf of bread. This shape, beginning in costume jewelry, is a fashion outgrowth of the 1920s to mid-1930s. During that time, interest in functionalism in architecture and the Bauhaus movement influenced the applied arts and dominated contemporary design. In the Art Deco period, many stones were cut in strict, geometrical shapes, typified by the calibre technique or elongated baguette. In contemporary times, jewelry houses like Bulgari have sustained their use and passion for the baguette. Nicola Bulgari once exclaimed, “We flirt with the baguette.” The yield for a baguette from the diamond rough is 38 to 42 percent.

Baguettes are extraordinarily clear. If baguettes are to be used as side stones or as other matched pairs, they must be of similar quality, color and clarity to one another, and to the stone they are enhancing. The step-cut appearance is unforgiving and does not allow for little imperfections in the diamonds. Stay with VS clarity and higher. SI clarity must be examined to insure that the imperfection(s) are not eye-visible. A small chip is much more obvious on a baguette than on a heavily faceted diamond.

Diamond Identification Method for Consumers: Bring Napkins

The Financial Times of London reports on a novel way to identify Diamonds from fakes:

It is said that Alexander the Great found a valley full of both diamonds and poisonous snakes. No one could work out how to retrieve the jewels until Alexander had the idea of throwing down raw meat, to which the diamonds attached. When eagles flew down for the meat, Alexander’s men just had to follow them to their nests.

It sounds like fantasy but diamonds are attracted to fat, and the story reminded people how to tell real diamonds from fakes. De Beers still practise Alexander’s trick in their South Africa mines today: They use “grease tables” and only the valuable stones stick.

Today, most engagement rings are diamond but after the war, people wanted holidays, cars or colorful gems to celebrate a future marriage.

In 1947 a New York copywriter, given the task of finding a slogan for her client’s product, stayed late in the office. “I put my head down and said: ‘Please God, send me a line.’” Then she scribbled: “A Diamond is Forever” and the rest is History.

Tips on Proper Care of Your Diamonds and Jewelry.

Allstate Insurance Company, the largest publicly held personal insurer in the United States, said that by properly insuring diamonds, the policy holder can “rest a little easier” knowing the diamond is covered for loss. But preventing careless mishaps saves both insurer and policyholder money and time, and saves all memories found in one’s precious diamond.

The insurer said it handles thousands of lost diamond claims per year. Some of the top reasons for claims could have been avoided, but in these cases the diamond is lost forever, according to the company.

Allstate says: Accidental flushing…unlike the standard drain pipe catch elbow below a sink… that ‘other’ drain has no way in which to retrieve a diamond after the water flows.

Those who hide their diamond(s) too well could be in for a big surprise come trash pick-up day, Allstate says. “Hiding valuables in your very own secret place,” may turn out to be where another family member begins their Spring-cleaning.

When in a public place, do not leave your diamonds up for display…that encourages the diamond to walk away.

Diamond rings belong on fingers…not in pants or jacket pockets.

Is your diamond ring loose? Don’t put off sizing until tomorrow…when sizing could be done today.

Diamonds may or may not be covered under personal property coverage. “If you own expensive or rare items, Scheduled Personal Property coverage is a practical way to protect your investment and achieve peace of mind,” said Rich Halberg, of Allstate California. “The best part about this type of coverage is that it offers all-risk protection, which means customers are insured for all different types of perils, including loss of the stone, misplacing the item, and so on. Unless the peril is specifically mentioned in the policy as being excluded, then the item is covered.”

A current appraisal or bill of sale is required to insure personal items with proper coverage.

When it comes to insuring any newly acquired valuables, there are some important things to consider. Property policies, including renters’, condo, co-op, and homeowners, do include coverage of personal property. However, there is often a $1,000 coverage limit for jewelry, watches, and furs, Allstate reports.

“The idea of losing a diamond is certainly devastating,” says Halberg. “But by properly insuring your valuables, you can rest a little easier knowing your investment won’t go down the drain.”