Chad Overman might look like a kid, but he holds a degree as a gemologist from the Gemological Institute of America in Carlsbad, Calif.
"It's the finest accreditation in the world," he said. "I'm the only working graduate gemologist in Payson, so far as I know."
He is qualified to appraise jewelry and provide legal documentation for insurance purposes. Overman also designs and sells fine jewelry -- the kind found in triple-A quality jewelry stores, like Bailey, Banks & Biddle. He worked for the company's Pittsburgh store before striking out on his own and is still called back to do appraisal shows for them.
He came by the trade naturally, he grew up in the business in Kentucky, where his father was a jeweler.
"It is important to have jewelry appraised," Overman said. "The typical homeowner's policy only offers about $1,000 in coverage for jewelry, but with a formal (documented) appraisal, the company has to replace the exact piece. It has to be completely remade." To that end, his appraisals include plenty of photographs and detailed descriptions of the settings and gems.
Overman has been doing appraisals and designing and making jewelry for seven years.
"The thing I like best about my business is I get to see happiness every day," he said. People come to him to have a special 50th anniversary present made.
His business has been buoyed by support from area insurance companies that have directed their clients to him for appraisals.
He bought his home in Payson three years ago to be close to family members that had migrated to Arizona from Kentucky, then moved here just last year.
Currently Overman is preparing to do an appraisal show and sale in Sedona. He will be taking about 600 settings with him, along with a variety of loose diamonds, colored diamonds and other precious stones, plus about 40 completed designs.
He will discuss jewelry design with Rim country residents by appointment. "They can show me a picture of what they want, or we can talk about what they have in mind and I can design it. They will have their piece within two weeks. I only work with one client at a time.
Overman can be reached at (928) 468-8370, or by fax at (928) 474-2600. For more information and to see examples of his work, visit his website, truefirediamonds.com.