“If you’re not getting paid for it, you’re obsessive; if you’re getting paid, you’re meticulous.” -Robert Argo
Hi, everyone! This is Glenda Argo. Bob Argo and I are, among other things, the appraisal team at Argo & Lehne. At a time when many jewelers are not offering appraisals or are outsourcing them, we continue to do them all in-house as we have for decades, as part of our full-service philosophy. Full-service means we want to be your one-stop source for everything jewelry related!
Here are five important reasons to have Argo & Lehne appraise your jewelry:
• Quality – We apply our store philosophy of quality and excellence to everything we do, including appraisals. Our two-person team ensures accuracy – two sets of eyes on every appraisal with double and triple checking. We are meticulous and maybe we fuss a little too much, but that’s just how we operate.
• Qualifications – Bob holds the title of “Certified Gemologist Appraiser” the highest title conferred by the American Gem Society, the preeminent jewelry industry association. He studied at the Gemological Institute of America in California when we were first married. In fact, this is why we got married when we did and this was our “honeymoon”, albeit a working one! We loved living in California and might have stayed if not for our ties to Columbus and our wonderful family business waiting for us back there. We’ve never regretted it!
Bob’s C.G.A. title must be renewed yearly with an exam. In addition to education, in order to maintain the title, a jeweler/appraiser must work for an AGS accredited business, with an AGS certified gem laboratory. An AGS store has to maintain the highest standards of quality, competence, and ethics. Argo & Lehne has been accredited since the 1940’s, soon after the inception of the AGS. We and our staff take great pride in this and cherish our affiliation with the AGS.
We also participate in professional enrichment workshops sponsored by the AGS Ohio Guild, the GIA Alumni Association, national conclaves and symposia.
• Experience – We estimate Bob has done at least 10,000 appraisals in the last 40 years! Generations of Argos have done appraisals for A&L and Mr. Lehne’s son-in-law, Howard Hawk, was one of the first AGS Certified Gemologists in the country. I just celebrated 20 years in the business, all of them involved in some way in assisting with appraisals. In recent years we have overhauled our appraisal processes with an eye toward efficiency while maintaining our strict standards. For example, we have revised and fine-tuned our appraisal templates to streamline the process and have gone mostly to email as a delivery method to better meet our customers’ needs.
• Thoroughness – Appraisals have two aspects – value and description. Value ensures you are financially able to replace the item. Descriptions and proper imaging enable you to replicate the item if desired. Our appraisals include, as applicable, the following:
– Color photos.
– CADs for custom jobs.
– Gemstone and metal identification.
– Gem grades.
– Measurements and weights of both gems and jewelry items.
– In-depth descriptions such as design elements, trademarks, quality marks, engraving, condition, finger size, etc.
– A value based on the above.
Often, an appraisal requires considerable research, mostly my responsibility, looking for comparable items on industry internet sources and elsewhere, identifying and contacting vendors for updated pricing, etc. All substantiating data is kept here on file with the appraisal.
• Reputation – This goes without saying – trust is our most important asset and the foundation or our business! It’s a big reason why we’ve been here for 94 years. From your vantage point as a customer, that means we provide expert, honest and impartial service that you can rely on, and we stand behind every sale and every appraisal we do. Serving your need and your benefit is our highest priority.
1. What is a jewelry appraisal? It is a written, professionally produced document describing and evaluating an item for replacement or fair market purposes. Commonly used, the word “appraisal” can also mean other things, such as getting an offer to buy an item (How much would you give me for this?), or evaluating it for the purpose of information (Did I get a good deal on this? or Is it real?). We do provide these services as well.
2. How are jewelry appraisals used? The most common use is by insurance companies who need a trustworthy, professional appraisal to cover an item. Thorough appraisals such as ours can also be used to accurately identify or reproduce a lost or stolen item. For example, every diamond is unique and we measure and evaluate them to help distinguish one from another. Fair market appraisals are used in many ways, most often to determine estate values. Appraisals can help positively establish ownership of a piece. Also, to this end, Argo & Lehne offers diamond laser inscription and certification services. This consists of inscribing the official AGS or GIA number or a custom inscription or your choice on the girdle (outer edge) of a diamond which is then recorded on the appraisal.
3. What do I need to have appraised? Items you wear and/or cherish, would replace if you lost them and couldn’t comfortably afford to replace were they not adequately insured. Generally, people have items over $1,000 appraised.
4. What kinds of appraisals are there? People usually need one of 3 types:
a. Replacement value – What would it cost to replace this item? This is the one used by insurance companies.
b. Fair market value – Usually for estate purposes, what would be a fair amount to expect if selling the item to another individual? This is much less than the replacement value.
c. Updated value. For Argo & Lehne appraisals only, how much has the value changed over time? Fluctuating markets and other economic factors can affect how well-covered you are.
5. How often should I update my appraisals? We recommend updating your appraisals every 5 – 10 years. We redo the appraisal and charge you only if the value has changed.
6. How much does it cost? Our fee is $100 per item for a first-time jewelry appraisal. Updates on Argo & Lehne appraisals are between $40 and $80, depending on when the original was done. We also have a while-you-wait option for an additional fee, usually $200. We are happy to provide a complete complimentary appraisal with each Argo & Lehne purchase over $1,000.
7. How long does it take? Turnover varies according to volume and time of year factors. Appraisals seldom take more than a month, can be expedited to meet your timeline and can be done while you wait for an additional charge.
8. What are the AGS and GIA? The American Gem Society is the top professional association in the jewelry industry dedicated to maintaining high standards in both ethics and professional competence. The Gemological Institute of America is an educational and scientific organization with schools and labs all over the world educating jewelry professionals and furthering the science of gemology. Both are gem grading authorities who issue authenticating gem quality documents and both have extensive consumer education programs.
9. What other professional organizations does A&L belong to? We belong to the American Gem Trade Association and the Jewelers’ Vigilance Committee, and maintain accreditation with the Better Business Bureau of Central Ohio, where we have an A+ rating.
10. What else does a Certified Gemologist Appraiser do? In addition to appraisals, sales, and general duties, Bob grades and prices every gemstone that comes into the store, does estate consultations, maintains inventory quality control, and evaluates items for purchase, consignment, and brokerage. He serves as a resource of information and experience to the entire staff. He is available for speaking engagements about gems and jewelry and conducts community adult education. From time to time, he’s called upon to act as an expert witness in court.