I recently "won" two items in the Omni Jewelcrafters auction - a pair of diamond stud earrings valued at $4200 by Omni, and a diamond bracelet valued at $17, 000.00 by Omni. I tried to get an independent appraisal from Omni about the value of the pieces and got a runaround; after pushing them I received in appraisals. I was suspicious after they were willing to issue an appraisal for the earrings without even looking at them. After some discussion, I took both the earrings and the bracelet to EGL Labs, who Omni uses exclusively to value its diamonds. The appraiser at EGL said that he had the bracelet in his office the day before and refused to issue an appraisal, either through Omni or to myself directly.
I had an independent appraiser from GIA Labs look at both pieces; they valued the earrings at $3000, and the bracelet at $7, 000 - a $10, 000.00 difference. Either Omni misrepresented the valuation of these pieces or was grossly incompetent, particularly with the bracelet. It is no wonder that the appraiser at EGL examined the bracelet and then refused to issue an appraisal. It would force him to either contradict a major client or to break ethics and participate in the misrepresentation. Despite his abruptness, I commend him for refusing to issue the appraisal, as that was the correct and ethical action to take in his situation.
In light of the valuations by the GIA lab and the price that I paid (about 1/2 of the GIA appraisals) I decided to keep the pieces. However, I will never do business with Omni again and would recommend that others stay away because of these unethical markups and appraisals.