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Gemstone Certifications


#1

All, A certified gemstone should be identified as to mineral,
dimensions, clarity, inclusions, geographical origion, cut, color,
treatments, and cut. To be of any value the certificate must be
issued by an organization that will go to court to stand behind the
certificate it issued. The only organization I know that will do
this is the laboratory run by Capp Beasley. I think it is called the
Americam Gemological Laboratory (AGL). The buying public has in its
mind that a certificate is absolute identification of the authenticy
and value of the stone. When they are informed that almost all
certificates are only opinions and have no legal ramifications about
the stone they often will not purchase a stone. What I disagree with
is the selling of the stone using the certification as absolute
authenticy and then not backing it up when challenged.

Gerry Galarneau


#2

Anyone doing a report on a gemstone, no matter how good or bad can be
compelled to testify in court if the report is negligent, or if it
was made to assure a client of a particular quality etc, and then
isn’t.

GIA, EGL, GQI, AGS all will appear in court. What consumers don’t
realize is that experts charge to prepare, and go to court. This can
be expsensive, and is not included in the fee. GIA for instance, the
last time I heard charges $ 1500. to appear in court.

My firm specializes in consumer fraud cases, and I have a lab that
verifies quality that reports what many labs don’t.

We also do valuation, which most of the labs don’t do.

Check our sites at http://www.accurateappraisal.com and
http://www.diamondclearinghouse.com

to check my credentials see
http://www.accurateappraisal.com/newpage1.htm

my email is : @Bill_Lieberum_RockDo

Bill Lieberum


#3

It would be very interesting to hear from the various labs that issue
certifications what their policies are. Say gemstone lab #1 issues a
certificate for a stone. A dealer sells the stone with the
certificate to a buyer. The buyer sends the stone all the way across
the country to his love. She being sceptical sends the stone to lab#2
for a report. She finds that the stone is graded super-dupper and
sends the report back to her suitor who finds that the new report is
lower than the origional report which graded the stone super-dupper
++. He goes back to the seller and demands a refund plus expenses
and threatens to sue if his demands are not met. The dealer goes
back to his lab. What do the labs say?

Gerry Galarneau


#4

None of these certificates are “certificates”, they are only
"reports" and are the opinion of one or more persons. Don’t count on
ANY of these firms standing behind their report should you have a
legal problem, just ask Fred Ward. (emerald problem where client
damaged stone and seller got the royal shaft.


#5

Gerry, I read a story in one of the trade mags a year or so ago.It was
about a customer who bought a large expensive like $65,000 stone that
was graded at like a D color by GIA from the store or dealer she
bought it from.She took it to an EGL or AGL lab that downgraded the
color by two grades.Not much to worry about on a 1/2 carat stone but
two color grades on a $65,000 stone is enough to land you in court and
that is where it ended up.The court would not recognize the GIA report
from the seller and would only allow the lab that the buyer used.She won.
J Morley Coyote Ridge Studio


#6

Hello Gerry, I once made an engagement ring for a friend/client.
Several months passed and I got a phone call from an irate no- longer-
friend saying that his fianc� took the ring to a well known lab and
they said the stone was of inferior quality and worth considerably
less than the selling price. Because he was a friend of sorts, he
agreed to an exchange for another stone. I was truly shaken, not so
much for losing this client, but that my judgment was so far off. When
I got the ring back to my bench, I took a close look at the stone and
@#%#!!??, It had a coating of floor wax or detergent or some other
kitchen goop on the pavilion! THE LAB APPRAISED THE STONE WITHOUT
CLEANING IT FIRST!..and of course it looked like crap. I called the
lab on this, but she never returned my calls. I got a really good
stone back, my client was happy with the new ring (they got divorced a
year later however) and the lab…?

I only had one other Gem Lab snafu. I needed some cert. for a small
collection of stones which was going to a special client. When I got
to the lab, the boys gave me a silly grin and said that one of my
stones which I thought was goshenite beryl was glass. This did wonders
for my smart ass ego to say the least. Again, back home I ran the same
tests as the lab and got glass…except, I knew the cutter and the
piece of rough. I searched for 30 minutes looking for that uniaxial
optic figure. And there it was, under high magnification using a glass
bead, ON THE GIRDLE. They missed it. They also never returned my call.
Once again I was vindicated. But, from then on, any significant stone
that I sold had papers or notes, created by me, for use as a
"reference" by any lab which the client wished to take the stone.

By all means call both labs, let them know what is happening. Have
them ( or you) pay for a third appraisal from someone the client
chooses. The results of that appraisal will tell you what your next
move should be.

Regards, Will E.


#7
What do the labs say? 

The labs, (and usually the various disclaimers on the certificates
themselves) all will tell you that a grading report is always an
informed, but subjective opinion. Only an opinion. If everyone is
talking the same language, the reports will be very close. It’s the
same diamond, after all, being described, and mother nature has not
always been kind enough to make her stones clearly fit a certain
grade. Some stones are borderline, or difficult calls. Different
people, knowing their job very well, can still sometimes reasonably
disagree. An examination of the certificates may show this difference
in the printed grades. But teaching the customers the meaning of the
grades leads to their understanding what the stone itself actually
looks like, and this is never ambiguous when you examine and evaluate
the stone on it’s own terms, rather than having to fit it into a
grading catagory.

Nevertheless, it’s not unknown for even the same lab to grade a stone
differently the second time they see it. Uncommon, yes. But it
happens now and then with difficult calls. No lab will accept
financial responsibility for any lost (or gained) marketebility or
value as a result of differences in opinion on the stones grade.
Whether a given diamond wholesaler will take a stone back when it’s
grade turns out to be in contention depends entirely on the dealer.
Some do, others will not be so eager…

As to legalities, again refer to the wording on the certs. These are
expert but subjective opinions. Just as several doctors can disagree
on a medical question, so too can diamond graders, without implying
any wrongdoing, negligence, or malpractice on anyones part. So it’s
almost impossible to hold the labs liable for this. And sellers, too,
whether wholesale or retail, if they reasonably rely on the certs when
they set a price for a stone, have not behaved improperly or
deceptively and just on that basis, probably cannot be sued for, say,
misrepresentation, since they did not deliberately do so. But if
they’ve also guaranteed a stone to be the grade described on a cert
(which the cert itself does NOT guarantee, keep in mind…) then they
may be legally required to make good on this additional warranty that
they HAVE then agreed to.

Peter Rowe


#8
 The court would not recognize the GIA report from the seller and
would only allow the lab that the buyer used.She won. 

Does anyone know the reasoning here?? Why the GIA report was
disallowed and the seller’s report admitted as evidence?? In my GIA
course I was taught that the D-E-F calls are very difficult to make.
If I were buying a $65,000 stone I wouldn’t pay retail price for the
D color, first of all. Secondly, there are at least two color meters
now, Haske’s and the Auston, and while they may have some problems
accurately grading some stones, I would want to see a meter report as
well as a report from a lab where the stone was graded by more than
one person. The meters are evidently more accurate than people. As I
read Haske’s recent paper on this, he seems to be saying that people
can’t grade accurately to one letter, but only in a range of, say,
G-H-I. Does anyone else understand this stuff and have a comment on
the “ellipse of uncertainty”?

Roy


#9

ALL, How about gemstone Certifications on “Colored Stones”. Is it
natural, has the stone been treated? All determine the value of the
stone. As put in one post heRe: that the lab could not determine a
cut Beryl from a piece of glass. I have had trained gemologists
identify color change garnets as synthetic corundum. Jewelry store
Gemologists routinely identify stones just by looking at them through
a microscope. I have seen store personnel dismiss over 90% of stones
presented to them as synthetic. These are the everyday problems
which make for the lack of trust in the gemstone and jewelry
industry. It is a matter of “Value” and integrity. Diamond
certificates are probably accurate. The industry monitors this
fairly closely. Colored stone certificates are not closely monitored
as the amount of knowledge required to accurately grade, identify,
and assign value to colored stones requires years of experience.
Many colored stone sell for more than diamonds and are a lot rarer.
What’s the thoughts on Colored Stone Certificates?

Gerry Galarneau


#10
  The court would not recognize the GIA report from the seller and
 would only allow the lab that the buyer used.She won.
Does anyone know the reasoning here??

I, too, am a little confused by this and would love to see the actual
court decision. I don’t believe anything coming second or third hand.
There is always a variable in color grades but GIA and most other
labs do work with a master color set representative of each color
grade so in the event of a question they should be able to verify
slight discrepancies. I don’t believe the machines work as well as
the human eye, however, and as the report you reference was written by
the gentleman selling one of the machines I would be highly suspect of
that as well. Some people are more sensitive to color than others.
Personally, this is my best expertise and I am rarely off more than
one grade when I simply eyeball a stone (out of its setting), but when
determining a difference between a larger stone with a D or E color
grade I would always defer to the GIA. I won’t say that they are
perfect, but let’s all remember that they wrote the book on this in
the USA and assembled the original master set of stones, off of which
almost all the other master sets are based. Let us not forget that
courts have often ignored a lot of expert opinions in the past (ref.
Fred Ward emerald case) and will probably continue to do so in the
future whether or not it is the correct or incorrect decision.


#11

Hi Peter, Just for the record, the engagement stone was a natural corn
flower blue sapphire, really a beautiful stone. Still, that was no
excuse for the bad analysis, especially from that gemologist. And, as
far as the Beryl was concerned, I will have to give a little credit
back to the boys, it truly was a hard stone to I.D. It didn’t show the
normal effects between crossed polars. In fact, it remained dark as
you rotated the stone. The only explanation I could come up with is
that the stone (or crystal) was heated or radiated to produce Aqua,
but this only bleached the stone instead and destroyed it’s internal
structure, giving an anomalous isotropic Rxn. Some kunzite will do
this after certain treatments.

I would not be so harsh as to say that these folks didn’t deserve
their diplomas, but only wanted to point out, in response to the
original post, that labs (even the big labs), appraisers, and the
certs are not always perfect. There are times when we have to double
check work by others and get a second opinion if necessary. However, I
do agree with your post :

    Do keep in mind that anyone can hang out a shingle in this
business.  They only deserve YOUR business if the can demonstrate,
with consistent professionalism, their expertise and careful work
EVERY time you use them.  If they don't do that, or can't, they do
you no good, and create great potential harm to all. 

Talk to you later, Will E.


#12
     The court would not recognize the GIA report from the seller
and would only allow the lab that the buyer used.She won. 

I don’t know the reasoning here, but lot of variables happen in the
court.

I didn’t see the previous post talking about the case…

It could be as simple as no one from GIA was present to testify at
the trial, and so the judge considered GIA’s report hearsay.

It could be that the attorney didn’t have a strong expert, that would
have been able to convince the judge about GIA position in the grading
community.

When you’re in court, what you learned at GIA doesn’t often fly.

I do this type of work ( expert witness - trial consultant- litgation
support) … my experience has been that often the parties don’t want
to invest in the proper people because of the cost… well if you lose
your case - cause you had a weak expert, it usually costs a lot more.

Many times litigation is “my expert vs. yours”…

What is also interesting is when supposed “expert witnesses” think
they can take sides… They think because they work for a particular
client they have to help the client win… now there’s a sure fire
way to get impeached…

Gemology, valuation, as expert witness are three separate
educations… being an expert at one doesn’t get you the others…

rockdoc
http://www.accurateappraisal.com
http://www.diamondclearinghouse.com advanced gemological info and valuation
for consumers.

Does anyone know the reasoning here?? Why the GIA report was
disallowed and the seller’s report admitted as evidence?? In my GIA
course I was taught that the D-E-F calls are very difficult to make.
If I were buying a $65,000 stone I wouldn’t pay retail price for the
D color, first of all. Secondly, there are at least two color meters
now, Haske’s and the Auston, and while they may have some problems
accurately grading some stones, I would want to see a meter report as
well as a report from a lab where the stone was graded by more than
one person. The meters are evidently more accurate than people. As I
read Haske’s recent paper on this, he seems to be saying that people
can’t grade accurately to one letter, but only in a range of, say,
G-H-I. Does anyone else understand this stuff and have a comment on
the “ellipse of uncertainty”?

Roy

End of forwarded message