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I do some gem faceting and I would really like to get into
appraisals, should I go through GIA for that? How does the distance
education work? What time frame should I expect and how much cost
should I expect to incur?

Maya Silvis

Appraising and getting trained regretfully is not as easy as just
getting a Graduate Gemologist diploma from GIA. It is a four fold
resposibility. You need training or a competent understanding of
Gemology, Jewelry manufacturing, Valuation principles and throw in a
little legal understanding.

Some organizations that offer appraisal training aRe: ASA (American
Society of Appraisers) ISA ( International Society
of Appraisers) NAJA (National Association of
Jewelry Appraisers) www.?

These organizations cover the appraisal qualifications of the US so
internationally you would have to research you local appraisal
requirements. These organizations comply with USPAP (Uniform
Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice) and They also comply
with laws and requirements of the UCC (Uniform Comercial Code)
though there may be differences between state and federal code
within the UCC in your location.

USPAP is a document put out by the Appraisal Foundation
( and is a guide for appraisal
proceedures and behavior. The appraisal foundation is authorized by
Congress as the sourse of Appraisal standards and appraiser

In the US real estate appraisers are the only appraisal discipline
required to be licensed and tested. Personaly property appraisers
(i.e. gems, jewelry and watches) may not have to be licensed but
still are affected by the FTC (Fedreal Trade Comission) UCC laws and
Guidlines. So membership in a reliable appraisal organization and
more importantly training in appraising as well as your discipline
(gems and jewelry) contribute greatly to keeping you from
liabilities that you probably didn’t know existed until you have to
go to court. And if you think that just by printing “I am not
responsible for anything writen in this appraisal” protects you, you
had better read the UCC or ask a lawyer because you can claim many
things, but laws and regulations have a way of finding false claims
or unprofessional bahavior.

Now that’s a mouthful.

It may sound as if I am trying totalk people out of doing appraisals
and in a way I am. There are too many hack appraisers out there
that feel they can do it because they are a gemologist and have been
in the jewelry trade for 20, 30 or 40 years or “I have never had any
problems with my appraisal before” or “the insurance companies have
no problem accepting my appraisals”. Th reality is that an
insurance problem may not occure unless a valuable item is lost, a
questionable appraisal is used to process the claim, and the claim
is denied due to that questionable appraisal. The client may choose
to sue the appraiser. Another reality is that inflated appraisals
are often used as sales tools. This give the consumer a false sense
of value (i.e you paid $2000, but it’s really worth $4500. All this
does is drive up insurance premiums and possibly falsly justify a
"deal" that probably wasn’t a deal at all.

Good luck,
Welcome to my world.
Arthur Anton Skuratowicz NJA GJG (GIA)
Anton Nash LLC

The GIA or similar courses will not make you an appraiser. They are
necessary to become an appraiser but all they teach you to do is
identify and evaluate gems and diamonds. Appraising requires a
significant amount of knowledge regarding pricing and costs that is
not covered in their courses (although their appraisal course will
help on this). That being said you should still take their courses
as it is a great first step and the knowledge is wonderful to have
regardless of whether you pursue appraising. Cost wise I think you
should expect to pay in the neighborhood of $3-4000 for the courses
and expect about 1-2 years of time if you work diligently. You might
look into their six month in house classes.

Daniel R. Spirer, GG
Spirer Somes Jewelers
1794 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02140

Hi Maya, The GIA is the best way to get your gem and jewelry needed
to do appraisals. Of course knowing the market and what things sell
for is absolutely essecial as well. I took the correspondence courses
many years ago. I was very busy running my business, so it actually
took me 12 years to complete them and get my GIA Graduate Gemologist
Degree. Today with the courses on the internet you should be able to
blow through them much quicker. It is also possible to some courses
in Carlsbad and some over the internet. The school has the most
unbelieveable library. I have seen that stores are much more likely
to hire you to do their appraisals if you have a graduate gemoligist
degree. You other alternative is to get one from England. It is the
FGA and much harder. You have to memorize all sorts of crystal
structure, etc. Good luck

Maya, GIA courses would be a terrific start and foundation for doing
appraisals. GIS’s Distance Education is a great way of obtaining
that foundation. I’ve even read that those taking the Distance
Education courses learned more and averaged higher grades than those
taking the classes on campus. With the Distance Education you learn
at your own pace and have more time to research and review.

There are two diamond courses and three colored stone courses.
These courses, combined with the required week long Extension
classes held in a number of areas around the country, can earn you a
Graduate Gemology degree. Or, taking the two diamond courses or the
three Colored Stone courses along with the required Extension
classes, you can earn a Graduate Diamond or a Colored Stone diploma.

The prices vary depending on the course. You can figure on
approximately $950. per course. The more courses you sign up for at
the same time, the greater the discount you receive. GIA expects
you to complete each class in about one to one and a half years. I
have found personally that they will allow you extra time. It’s not
good to wait too long for each course has a final exam and that
final exam not only tests you on the current course, but also on the
previous course. The final exam is proctored. You give GIA the
name of two proctors to administer the final and they choose the one
to send it to. I had mine given to me by the head librarian at my
local library.

However, as I said it is only a foundation. The most important
element for consistent stone grading will still be missing,
experience. Experience comes only with time, and the looking at and
studying of many, many, many stones.

Charles Heick
Cincinnati, Ohio