How are Online Buyers and Sellers of Gemstones and Fine Jewelry able to Protect Themselves?

As most retail sites are secured to protect the consumer’s use of a credit card, consumer apprehension regarding online purchase is fading. On the other hand, online buying is riskier than retail purchases because the consumer does not physically see the product or in some cases may not know the history of the online seller. How does a consumer really know what they are getting? Is there a credible gemological laboratory report included with the purchase? Does the description of the diamond or gemstone on the included lab report correspond to the diamond/jewelry received? Is the gemstone received truly authentic? These are typical questions a consumer might ask when purchasing gemstones online.

Conversely, how does the e-tailer protect itself when accepting returns from consumers who are not happy with their purchases? The possibility of a consumer returning a different diamond or damaged or diamond simulant, such as cubic zirconia, could bankrupt a start-up e-tailer or at the very least land up in a court battle.

In order to alleviate any of these types of scenarios, International Gemological Institute (IGI) offers IGI’s Gem Audit. That is, the Internet company will submit to IGI the gemstone and/or fine jewelry and the appropriate lab report, if any. IGI’s staff graduate gemologists will confirm the authenticity of the diamond or gemstone, the objective measurements and weight of the stone. If the diamond has not been laser inscribed, the additional service is offered by IGI, as well. Once the diamond or gemstone has been confirmed to be the same as described on the report, the stone, the lab certificate and IGI’s Gem Audit will be forwarded, fully insured to the customer in 24 hours after received by IGI This service is already being utilized by major shippers of diamonds.

If the article of jewelry or gemstone is not accompanied with a laboratory certificate, IGI is able to certify its identification, authentication and grading to the internationally accepted system for diamond grading, by way of issuing an IGI Diamond Grading Report or Colored Stone Grading Report.

Instructions on how to return a gemstone or article of jewelry, if the consumer is not happy with a purchase, will be enclosed. The consumer will be instructed to forward returns back to IGI for confirmation again. This is important in order to confirm that the gemstone is returned in the same condition as was originally shipped. IGI will then return to the Internet company its gemstone, the original lab report, and IGI’s Gem Audit. IGI will be able to attest to the authenticity and condition of the returned product in any court of law throughout the U.S.

Because IGI is located in four continents under one management worldwide it is able to accommodate this service to the global marketplace.

The fee for issuing IGI’s Gem Audit is nominal, postage, handling and insurance is additional.

If you would like more information regarding this service or any IGI’s gemological services, please contact the Institute via its toll-free telephone number: 1-888-BUY-IGIS or email:

How to Sell your Personal Diamond Jewelry

Step 1
There are a multitude of reasons why you may want to sell a diamond that you own. Perhaps you are or have been divorced, or you are in need for cash. The reasons why you are selling do not matter, getting the highest possible price is what counts! The way to obtain the best price for your diamond jewelry is to be patient and not be in a rush. Carefully consider all of your options, as there are several.

Step 2
First, have your diamond jewelry appraised at the fair market bid level of value for liquidation purposes. This level of value would be your bottom line and anything that you sell it for above this level of value is additional money in your pocket. It is most important when choosing an appraiser that:

  • a) The appraiser is a senior tested member of the American Society of Appraisers (ASA) or certified member of the Appraisers Association of America (AAA), for example. There exists other credible appraisal associations as well, however, the two mentioned are the oldest and largest multidisciplinary appraisal organizations in the United States, that require their senior members to be recertified every five years.
  • b) The appraiser should not be buying or selling gemstones and fine jewelry in order that he/she, in most cases, are totally independent and not biased in anyway. If the appraiser does buy or sell gemstones and fine jewelry it is ok to use them, providing they are well credentialed, and the appraiser must make it clear in their report, the fact that they do have an interest in the property that they are appraising.
  • c) Have your article appraised by two or three professional appraisers in order to get a consensus of opinions is a good idea regarding the diamond's value. If your diamond has no grading report, you should consider getting a grading report from IGI or GIA, the two gemological institutes that teach gemology in the United States. This may help you get a higher price for the diamond as well.

Step 3
You will receive the highest price for your diamond jewelry the closer you sell it at retail. Thereby, selling your article of jewelry to family members or a friend may be your best bet. If this is not possible, you may consider selling at public auction. The major auction houses and online auctioneers should be a consideration. Another option, if you have an existing relationship with a credible retail jeweler, is to consider the retailer selling your article on your behalf by way of consigning the jewel to them.

When giving your article to anyone you are not familiar with you should consider the following:

  • a) Make sure your diamond has been laserscribedsm in order to confirm that you receive back your precise diamond in the case that it does not sell.
  • b) Make sure your appraisal report is detailed enough in order that again, you may confirm that the article received back is in fact the same article that you originally gave in.
  • c) Do not sell your jewelry by way of advertising to the public. For example, classified ads, this will invite possibly unscrupulous or dangerous people to your home.

How to Submit Gemstones & Fine Jewelry to IGI

There are two options to submit an article of fine jewelry or a gemstone(s) to be appraised or identified and graded by IGI in the United states.

Option 1:
Request an IGI Submission Kit by clicking here. The fee for the submission kit is $5.00. This fee is deducted from your IGI report fee after receipt of your article.

Option 2:
Forward to IGI, at the address in the "How & Where" section to the left, a small sealed cardboard box including:

  • a. Your article(s) of jewelry and/or gemstone(s).
  • b. Include your name, address, phone number, and email (if any).
  • c. Advise to how much to insure your article for when IGI is returning to you. Please insure for the amount you would be happy with in the case the carrier loses your package.

How and where to send your article of fine jewelry & gemstone to IGI

551 Fifth Avenue, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10176

  • By US Mail/Overnight Carrier
    • a. U.S. Postal Service - Please insure, register and request a return receipt. Maximum insurance $25,000.
    • b. UPS / FedEx - Does not ship loose stones. Mounted jewelry only. Maximum insurance UPS $50,000. FedEx $25,000.
  • By Secured and Armored Transportation
    • c. Malca-Amit / Dunbar / Brinks - Will ship loose and or mounted jewelry. Maximum insurance $1,000,000.

d. Insure your gemstones and jewelry for an amount that you would be happy with if your jewelry were lost by a carrier.

e. Upon receipt of your package, an IGI representative will contact you by e-mail and/or telephone to acknowledge receipt of package, to confirm the report fee, and to give you the estimated time of completion. At this time, if all does not meet with your approval, we will send articles back to you and invoice you for the cost of the service estimate and shipping.

f. All gems and jewelry with the IGI report(s) will be returned to you in the same manner as received. Postage and insurance is not included in report fee and will be invoiced to you.

If you have any questions please contact IGI

  by email:
  by telephone: 1-888-BUY-IGIS

Precious Metal Calculator

IGI’s precious metal calculator will help you to see the intrinsic value of your precious metals based on melt value only. That is, taking into consideration today’s current precious metal value and your type of precious metal and the karatage, you will know the melt value from a refiner's perspective. The value of your individual article of jewelry may be far higher, contingent on type of jewelry, provenance, if any, gemstone(s) included, period of jewelry, maker of jewelry article, etc.

*Important Notice: The melt values calculated does not include the buyer's profit margin. Profit margins may differ dramatically based on buyer's type of retail operation. For example, does the buyer maintain a retail jewelry store, pay rent, insurance expenses, employees' salaries, etc.? Additionally, does the buyer devote time and effort in weighing and analyzing the karatage of the precious metals being submitted for sale? These are all legitimate questions that do affect the profit margins that a retailer must charge in order to remain in business.

To know the value of your individual article of jewelry, we recommend you obtain an appraisal report from an independent accredited gem and jewelry appraiser.

One of the oldest multidisciplinary appraisal societies is the American Society of Appraisers (ASA). These appraisers must be re-certified by the ASA every five years. (See IGI Appraisal Reports)

  1. To get started, please enter the weight of your precious metal into the corresponding calculator.
  2. Next, select the weight type of the precious metal, i.e., grams, ounces, or DWT (penny weight)
  3. Only if your metal type is gold, select your gold type. i.e. 14 karat, 18 karat, etc.
  4. Lastly, just click calculate!

The Calculator delivers the value in US Dollars and is based on previous trade day London Fix Value. Also note the values given are current market prices and are in no way a reflection of the amount you may receive when selling your article(s).

Gold Calculator
Gold Weight:

Platinum Calculator
Platinum Weight:

Silver Calculator
Silver Weight:


IGI Offers Groundbreaking Protection Initiative

The International Gemological Institute (IGI) is working in tandem with GemShield®, a provider of specialized personal jewelry insurance, to afford consumers a landmark offer.

Upon buying IGI graded gemstones and/or jewelry products, consumers can now obtain from GemShield® a personal jewelry insurance policy protecting them against "all risks" of loss including theft and damage to the jewelry with a premium discount of 7.5 percent to 12.5 percent, depending on which IGI services are included with the IGI report. This discounted insurance policy will provide lower annual insurance premiums when compared to insuring other lab graded diamonds.

In addition to being assured of the quality and value of one's fine jewelry by purchasing IGI graded product, consumers may also protect that valuable investment at a significantly discounted rate for the life of their jewelry.

GemShield® understands the enhanced value of an IGI graded diamond as well as the added security of an IGI Laserscribedsm diamond, if it is lost or stolen. As such, the discount is permanent and will remain on the policy for future renewals. The consumer will simply fill out the appropriate insurance forms and include a copy of the IGI report for a 7.5 percent discount off GemShield's® rate card. In order for the consumer to receive a 12.5 percent discount, the diamond must be IGI graded, IGI Laserscribedsm and registered in IGI's Registration & Recovery Servicesm.

Another consumer bonus is that unlike a standard homeowners' policy that may require the use of a jeweler they don't know, if a loss, theft or damage occurs, GemShield® assures consumers they may work with their jeweler to replace or repair the item where it was originally purchased.


GemShield® Insurance Program

GemShield® Personal Jewelry Insurance Program (GemShield® has provided the content on this page)

Customers Have a Choice.

Often buyers of fine jewelry and gemstones believe jewelry can only be insured under a homeowner's policy. After a loss occurs, you may feel frustrated when you can not utilize your jeweler to replace a treasured possession. There are often questions of the replacement not meeting the standards and quality of the original piece. Many homeowners' policies may not insure items or schedules over $10,000. The GemShield® program allows you to insure any one item up to $35,000 or any schedule of items up to $100,000. Larger items or schedules may be considered after review and acceptance of the application by GemShield®.

You have a choice. GemShield®, a program offered exclusively through IJB, provides worldwide protection and peace of mind for you. You may feel confident knowing that any insured loss will be replaced by your original jeweler who sold you the insured article. You are assured that you can work with the jeweler you trust.

How the Program Works.

GemShield® will provide you with a free customer kit that includes a folder, application, brochure, rate card and return envelope. You simply fill out the application, calculate the premium with the provided rates based on the retail sales price plus sales tax, then sign and date it. You would include either a copy of the IGI report or sales receipt. Once the application is in the mail with a check for the full year's premium in the return envelope, you are covered as of 12:01 a.m. that day. It's that simple! If there are any questions, you may contact GemShield® directly at 1-866-207-9428.

GemShield® Helps Build Relationships.

Every year prior to your renewal date GemShield® will send a letter advising you to bring your insured item(s) in for an annual check-up. In the event of a loss, you will go back to your original jeweler to have your jewelry repaired or replaced.

Not only may GemShield® insure the individual jewelry item, but GemShield® may also insure other jewelry items that you own. You would simply bring your additional jewelry items to IGI for their professional confirmation of current value and description and fill out GemShield's® application. GemShield® wants to make sure you are able to replace your jewelry if you have a loss or damage.

GemShield® Coverage

GemShield® coverage is provided by an insurance company licensed in all 50 states. IJB acts as a licensed agent/broker for GemShield®. Please direct any and all related insurance questions to GemShield® since IGI is not a licensed insurance agent.

To learn more about GemShield® exclusively through IJB or other insurance products call GemShield® at 1-866-207-9428 or visit our website at

Consumer Services


Submitting to IGI

How & Where

Metal Calculator



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