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Valentine's Day Jewelry Guidance for First-Time Buyers

Valentine's Day Jewelry Guidance for First-Time Buyers

(Herndon, Va.) - Valentine's Day brings many first-time ring buyers into stores. Engagement ring shoppers and twenty- and thirty-something shoppers like to celebrate Valentine's Day with diamonds. However, first-time shoppers are often nervous about making such an important purchase and want to ensure that they are getting a good value. The American Society of Appraisers offers tips to shoppers to help educate them about making a purchase with value that will hold up over the long run.
"Most people love diamonds for their beauty and don't even realize that they also hold their value better than other gemstones," says Nancy Stacy, an American Society of Appraisers Master Gemologist Appraiser(r). "Though many buyers are more concerned with the style than the long-term value, some customers want it all and look for guidance in the buying process."
It may be surprising to learn that it is not always the most expensive diamonds that hold their value the best. For those who are concerned with value, the following tips might come in handy:
* It may not be as wallet-friendly, but value-conscientious shoppers may want to know that diamonds larger than one carat in size will hold their value best.
* Diamonds that have the quality "F" in color and "VS1" and "VS2" in clarity have been holding their values best over time, even though they aren't the most expensive grades.
* Cut is the most important of all the "C's." Look for a proportion and shape that maximize the diamond's sparkle for best value retention-that information that is provided on major lab reports called "certs".
* Round brilliant-cut diamonds will hold their value better than other shapes.
* Because diamonds are the hardest of all stones, they will be less likely to be damaged, which will help retain their value.
* For the best value for your money, put the most money into the diamond itself and choose a simple setting.
"Choosing the ring is only half the process," says Stacy. "If you are purchasing a diamond over 1_2 carat in size, you should choose one certified by one of the two major labs, get the ring independently appraised by a third-party appraiser, and talk to your insurance agent about the best way to insure the ring."
Stacy suggests that shoppers only purchase a larger diamond if it has a report from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), or the American Gem Society Laboratory (AGSL).
Get the jewel appraised. An appraisal will tell you the value of a piece of jewelry (a lab grading report will not) and will provide documentation for insurance purposes. Reputable jewelers will allow you to have an item appraised either before you purchase it or will allow you a period to have it appraised with a full refund if it doesn't meet expectations.
Choose an appraiser who is an accredited member of a nationally recognized appraisal organization, such as the American Society of Appraisers, as well as a Graduate Gemologist of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) or the Gemmological Association of Great Britain (FGA). Ask about an appraiser's credentials and make sure they are still active. The appraisal should be done for an hourly or a set fee, not for a percentage of the value of the property-that's unethical.
And finally, make sure you understand the return policy. Get the return policy in writing and get a thorough description of the item (including diamond size and quality) written on your receipt.
For more information about jewelry appraisals, or to find an ASA-accredited gems and jewelry appraiser in your area, visit www.appraisers.org or call (800) ASA-VALU.
About ASA
ASA is an international organization of appraisal professionals and others dedicated to the education, development and growth of the appraisal profession. All ASA accredited Gems & Jewelry appraisers are trained gemologists. ASA is the oldest and only major organization representing all disciplines of appraisal specialists, originating in 1936 and incorporating in 1952. ASA's headquarters is in the metropolitan Washington, D.C., area. Visit the ASA Web site at www.appraisers.org.

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