Jewelry, Gems, & Minerals/1950 Gems from AZ



Hi Thomas,

My uncle had a jewelry shop in the mid 50s in Scottsdale AZ area. My question is from the pictures I am sending, in your opinion are these gems worth paying to have appraised for insurance value?

Thank you,

Judy Frazier

loose gemstones
loose gemstones  
Dear Judy,

I suggest you first compare what you have with a few natural gems for sale on the Internet.   First, you need a small millimeter scale, with the sort printed on clear plastic being easier to use.  Measure across the top(table of the stone  with long direction and narrow direction. For emerald cuts, etc., just measure one end to the other both ways.  For round measure the diameter. For pear, etc., measure point to end and across at widest part.  

Next, compare what you have with gems for sale.  Having similar color and clarity is important. The stones in your photos have nice clarity.

This will get you in a fairly close ballpark of market prices.  You will likely discover a paid appraisal is not called for in this case.   I have sent a copy of one of your photos with labels for what I believe the stones to be.  The ones that look to me like a quite light blue are likely natural blue topaz.  The rich blue topaz colors seen in jewelry stores start as a fairly light blue then are irradiated and heated to bring out the richer blue color.

This is just one of many selling sites on the Internet. Look for natural (not man-made) calibrated stones.  On the site shown, scroll down a way on the left to find natural gemstones.  Calibrated means the cut is of sizes generally used in jewelry and yours are likely cut this way. If not standard sizes, get close in size and pricing will still be close. These gems are not terribly expensive per carat and a little larger or smaller will not be critical in getting a close ballpark price.

This will give you a value close enough.  Keep in mind, high grade rich color, clear and well cut colored gems are more valuable and need to be considered stone by stone. If you come across any of those, a reputable jewelers should see such stones and might give an opinion as to whether a written appraisal is recommended.

Also, although from a photo only, I believe the gems in upper left are some type of quartz gem (as are amethyst and smoky quartz) and not needing an appraisal for insurance. I cannot be at all certain without seeing the stones in my hand to test properly.

As for the bag with Austrian Diamelle, see this answer from another expert:

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Have a question about jewelry repair or working with precious metal jewelry and gemstones? For many years up to December 31, 2010, I was a working professional bench jeweler, involved everyday with setting stones in mountings, designing and making jewelry, repairing and limited custom manufacture. If you work with jewelry as a hobby or as a profession, I might be able to help. I deal with the retail business, not mass production. Ask privately if you wish. See the box for that: It keeps your question between us. Please DO NOT ask MAKER'S MARKS, but metal quality marks are fine to ask. Please DO NOT ask diamond prices. See a gemologist for that.


I have extensive experience in design, service and making of jewelry. I deal mostly with precious metals and gemstones but work with many materials as needed and usable to create an artistic design. My experience also includes freelance photography and photographer of jewelry and similar items for a former employer and individuals. Design of custom items requires reading the desires of the client and being clear on what can be done within that framework...then fulfilling the transition of idea to reality. Effective communications is essential in a working designer/producer and customer relationship.

Education is English/Physics! Started in human resources, to advertising, to, what a road. I have had formal training in jewelry work and many shared experiences with top grade jewelers. We just never know were we will go or be. Follow your best, your dreams, with some discretion! Don't let the work tear up your body along the way as it has mine.

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