Judy’s advice is spot on. The lady knows about that of which she
My wife Gaybeth just finished a 58 item appraisal, most of the
pieces were way out of the ordinary. Things like a 14K yellow gold
Tiffany cigarette case (valued at $25,000), a piece of pre-Columbian
jade set into a necklace made about fifty years ago, a ring once
owned by Abigail Adams, several Van Cleef and Arpels bracelets, etc.
Seeing them is cool, appraising them is a work out. Describing them
is one thing, assigning a replacement value to each item is a
completely different animal. She spent at least twice as long
researching each piece as she spent IDing, grading and describing
each piece. Her GG diploma helped with only the identification and
grading of the gemstones involved, which encompassed very little of
the work involved in doing this appraisal.
The GIA doesn’t teach you a thing about research and valuation let
alone how to write an appraisal. That requires a whole new course of
study, and there is no one source for that part of the education. You
will have to design your own curriculum. Check with the American
Gemological Society (AGS) and the National Association of Jewelry
Appraisers (NAJA) for training sources.
Gaybeth took the GIA distance course. Her total outlay for her GG
was $13,000, and it took her eight years to complete, start to
finish. The cost of the course is only a portion of the cost, there
is travel expense for going to seminars and labs and you have to
attend at least two, I think. You are robbing yourself if you don’t
take advantage of the study opportunity available at the Carlsbad
campus, so allow for at least two trips out there. Then there is the
postage for mailing the stone sets back and forth. The Gem ID part of
the course requires that you identify 520 individual 20 at
a time. Then you have to take the final. More than once unless you
are a gem ID savant. And that’s only one part of the course.
Don’t forget about the equipment you must purchase. You will need a
microscope, a refractometer, a scale, a loupe, a dichroscope, a
Chelsea filter, a spectroscope, adequate lighting equipment (far more
than a decent desk lamp), measuring equipment, etc. Our outlay for
gemological equipment exceeded $10,000 and our lab is by no means
There isn’t anything easy about becoming a GG. There is even less
that’s easy about becoming a qualified appraiser. If the bench is
undesirable because it takes so long to learn and requires that you
do a lot of things you don’t enjoy doing, I think you’ll find that
learning the art of appraising is going to be completely undoable.
Because it takes just as long and is every bit as hard as learning
the bench, and I promise that by the time you are working on stone
set number 24, you are going to be sick at the thought of even
looking at another 3mm round green doublet, let alone identifying
both parts and grading it. On top of that, even though you will be
very near completing the GG course, you’ll still be years away from
being able to charge a dime for an appraisal.
I don’t mean to sound negative, but there is very little in this
world that is both easy and lucrative and to add another of your
desired factors, fun. If there was, everyone would be doing it.