An Appraiser’s Insights on Valuing and Collecting Gems with Jo Ellen Cole, Gemologist & Owner of Cole Appraisal Services

Episode 39

Jo Ellen Cole has been involved in the jewelry business for more than four decades. She earned her Graduate Gemologist Diploma (In Residence) at the Gemological Institute of America in Santa Monica and successfully passed the prestigious Gemological Association of Great Britain’s F.G.A. examinations.

After working for several years in both retail and wholesale jewelry venues, Jo Ellen accepted a job at a jewelry appraisal laboratory, which in turn led to a management position with the respected firm of Guild Laboratories, Inc. in Los Angeles. She also held a position as research librarian at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and was later appointed Curator of the Permanent Stone Collection at GIA.

In March 2002, Cole Appraisal Services was born and began offering a variety of appraisal reports identification reports, and museum and display consultation services. After working as the Jewelry Department head at a regional auction gallery in Oakland, CA, she was recruited for a position with Heritage Auctions to serve as jewelry specialist and cataloger, gathering jewelry for auctions held in Beverly Hills, Dallas and New York City. At this time, Jo Ellen is offering independent gem and jewelry appraisals and consultation in Los Angeles and surrounding areas.

What you’ll learn in this episode:

  • How to obtain a title in gemology and the different associations you can go through.
  • The importance of branding in jewelry’s ability to hold value.
  • The benefits of knowing your gems as a collector.
  • The importance of finding a mentor in the jewelry trade.
  • The various art markets in California and where to find different types of jewelry.

Additional resources:

Episode Transcript

Sharon Berman