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My Birthstone, The Garnet:

Prior to my gemological education, I was under the false impression, as many others are that
garnets come in only one color:  red.  In fact, garnets come in many different colors, including
red, yellow, orange, green, brown, purple, pink, and even the once elusive blue garnet!  The
Bekily Color Change Garnet was originally found in the 1990s at the Bekily mine in Southern
Madagascar.  It is a vibrant blue-green, turning an almost deep purple-red.  To fully appreciate
this gemstone, one should observe the stone in early morning sunlight, fluorescent light, late afternoon sunlight, and incandescent light.  An example of the garnet is below:

My second favorite garnet has to be the Demantoid Garnet.  This brilliant green garnet gets its
name from the Dutch meaning “Diamond-like”.  Originally discovered in the Ural mountains in Russia in 1835.  Another deposit was discovered in Namibia in 1996, with the Russian garnets being rarer and more expensive.  Demantoid garnets are known for their high dispersion, even higher than diamonds, making them sparkle and shine like a globe of fire.  The Russian garnets are known for their identifiable “horsetail” inclusions, whereas the Namibian garnets do not have these tell-tale inclusions.  An example of a Demantoid garnet is below:



Gem Identification:  Identification of gemstones using gemological equipment.  Verbal confirmation of gemstone identified.

Gem Grading and Evaluation:  Identification of gemstones using the 4 C’s:  Cut, Clarity, Color, and Carat.  A gemstone certificate will be provided, outlining the dimensions, color, clarity, cut, and carat size of the gemstone.  Identification of natural, synthetic, and/or treated stones will be provided as well.

Gemstone and Jewelry Appraisals:  Identification of gemstone and/or jewelry items using the above methods.  Each appraisal comes with a written description of the item, along with photographs, as well as an estimated retail replacement value of the item.

Damaged Jewelry Evaluations:  Examination and evaluation of damaged jewelry items provided which can determine causation of damage for the insurance adjuster to determine claims payment as well as salvage potential.

Forensic Gemology and Expert Witness:  Examination and evaluation of gemstone and jewelry items related to legal issues surrounding fraud cases, ownership issues, divorce issues, as well as criminal cases involving identification of stolen items.  Expert witness testimony provided to confirm identification issues, fraud cases, appraisal issues, and criminal cases.

Educational Lectures:  Provide educational lectures at schools, insurance companies, community learning centers, libraries, and other venues as requested.



Gemstones -

Basic Gem ID:                     $25.00
w/Certificate:                      $50.00
w/Appraisal:                        $75.00
Appraisal Renewals:         $50.00

Jewelry -

Fees are based on a per item or per hour basis, depending on the types as well as the number of jewelry items presented.

Per Item Fees:  $75.00 for the first item and $50.00 for each item thereafter.

Hourly Fees:  $75.00 per hour will be charged for single items or large estate lots.

Damaged Jewelry Evaluations:  Evaluations based on the Per Item Fees.

Educational Lectures:  Fees to be negotiated prior to lecture date, based on subject matter, class size, and materials required for the lecture.       

Portal to Portal Fees:  Fees for travel, waiting for court, and meetings will be based on the per hour fee.

Appraiser’s Credentials:

David Bender, RGA
Registered Gemologist Appraiser

Award Date, Certificate or Diploma, Institute


April 2010                  Introduction to Watches                       ISG

May 2010                   Pearls                                                         ISG

July 2010                    Diamonds                                                  ISG

September 2010        Colored Gemstone Identification        ISG

October 2010            Colored Gemstone Grading                  ISG

November 2010         Identification of Synthetic Gems        ISG

June 2011                    Jewelry Insurance Appraisal               ISG

June 2011                   Evaluating Damaged Jewelry              ISG


February 2011            Registered Gemologist (R.G.)             ISG

July 2011                     Registered Gemologist (R.G.A.)         ISG


*ISG = International School of Gemology



April 2010                   Member in Good Standing                 International Gem Society

Jewelry Appraisals:

There are no legal requirements that prevent people from becoming a jewelry appraiser today.  In fact, there are no state or federal requirements, no state examinations, no formal education required, or organizations that you must join.  However, there are legal responsibilities that you are subject to when you are completing jewelry appraisals and you are held to those standards anytime there are questions about your documents.

A jewelry appraisal is a document that describes the item being appraised.  It includes descriptions of the gems and metal, along with photos and a narrative about the purpose and function of the document.  The primary reason that people obtain jewelry appraisals is for insurance replacement value.  The concept of insurance replacement value is to make the consumer whole prior to the loss occurred. 

With insurance fraud on the rise, more and more insurance companies are requiring proper jewelry appraisal documents in order to properly insure consumers to protect their investments.  With that come certain responsibilities to both your clients and the insurance company to maintain. 

Many insurance companies now require that you get an updated appraisal every 2 years.  This will ensure that your appraisal is up to date with the current markets, but will also ensure that your insurance premiums are in line with your insurance needs and you are not paying over inflated premiums on your insured items.