Most of the time, jewelry is considered as a good investment. Whether it is an engagement ring, a diamond necklace, or antique jewelry that is given to you or you spend money for that, you should always ensure any jewelry that is important to you, in case it ever gets lost, stolen, or damaged. Jewelry appraisal will allow you to save the money you will need to repair or replace it later if something happens to it.
In addition to the emotional value of your jewelry, of course, it has a monetary value. However, your family jewelry has been left to you as a generation gift, you have gifted it to someone else, or bought it yourself, so you may not know exactly what their current monetary value is. If you want to ensure your jewelry, you need to know what they are worth not only for yourself. At this point, a jewelry appraisal takes place.
What Is a Jewelry Appraisal?
A jewelry appraisal is basically a document. In this document, you can find the description of the jewelry, quality of jewelry, and value to assign it. When people have decided to sell your jewelry, most of the time they tend to include an appraisal in the process. It is the process in which examines and states value as moneywise for a piece of jewelry.
The description of jewelry in that document usually includes the visible, measurable, and analyzable features of a piece of jewelry. These features are the basic features that you need to know purchase or sell jewelry such as weight, height, materials, pricing, colors, etc.
Other than objective features, this document includes subjective features as well. For example, quality of gemstone if it has, relative rarity, overall quality of manufacture and construction, etc. They could be done and used for many reasons. These are ranging from a need to determine the fair market value of a piece of jewelry, to estate planning or a replacement value determined for insurance purposes.
A jewelry appraisal is written by professionals, written by jewelry appraisers. Because, if a person wants to sell a piece of jewelry, it needs to be known the authenticity, quality, design, and approximate value of a piece of jewelry. Purposes of a jewelry appraisal also include a retail replacement, probate or estate.
If you don’t have an appraisal, it stays an informed option without a professional checkout. Even though there can be variations between appraisals, when you get an appraisal, it means that you will receive details and all the important information about your jewelry. Because of that, these appraisals should be updated periodically. The value of your jewelry or features of jewelry can be changed by time.
Since one way or another you need to get an appraisal for any of your jewelry, you need to know about the entire appraisal process as well. You should know the expected qualification. Because at the end of the process, you want to get the best value of your piece of jewelry. In order to choose the best jewelry appraiser, these considerations will give you the assurance needed.
A jewelry appraisal expert writes down a piece of valuable jewelry in the appraisal. Since you want an appraisal, your jewelry appraisers may want to see all the documentation related to your piece of jewelry and you need to take them with you to the appraiser. These documentations may include sales slips, grading reports, warranties, etc. After all these documentations included in your appraisal, you will receive a detailed report.
A jewelry appraisal should state important points in his work in order to be more accurate. For example, whether the jewelry is a natural gem or synthetic gem, the estimated value of the jewelry, etc. A photo of the item can be included. It is highly preferable and recommended. The jewelry appraisal takes into account:
- Current retail prices
- The karatage, if it is gold
- The metal of prongs and mountings
- The cut, color, clarity, and carat weight, if it is diamond or gemstone
As a common mistake, a jewelry appraisal is confused with jewelry certificates. But, it is a huge mistake and they are completely different things. You can find the list value on the entire item on the appraisal, while you can find particular value of the item such as diamond or gemstone only. Because, in certificates, you don’t need to know everything about jewelry in detail, you need to know, for example, gemstones or diamonds in detail.
It is extremely necessary to get a jewelry appraisal. It helps you to know everything about your jewelry in detail and keep you from getting ripped off. It is advised to update your appraisal at least every 7 years. Because in those times, everything related to jewelry, such as prices, values, rate of preferability, etc., can vary and also your jewelry values too. As an advantage, let’s say the appraisal value goes up, your insurance does as well. It is a complicated and sometimes difficult process but completely worth it. Especially, one day if you ever need to use it. To sum up, a jewelry appraisal is worth the time, money, and hassle in the long run.
Types of Jewelry Appraisals
Depends on your purposes, there are different appraisal types in order to give the value of your jewelry. You need to know which appraisal method is proper for you, what your purpose is, and what you are going to do with this appraisal. Within a jewelry appraisal, as you have known until now, both the precious metals and gems are considered too.
You may have a different reason to need and get a jewelry appraisal. These all jewelry appraisals serve different functions, so you need to be sure to request the proper documentation for the specific job. As we mentioned above, you need exactly know what your purpose is.
Even though there are different types of appraisals, each appraisal is made for a specific purpose. In order to determine the value, there are different appraisals that change according to your purpose. Whatever the reason you have to get an appraisal, it is a good idea to start the process with your eyes wide open and your head full of knowledge about the advantages and disadvantages, as well the different types of appraisals available.
It is important to know someone who knows the job and how to do it very well. When you work with a qualified jewelry appraiser, you will be asked, of course, why you need a jewelry appraisal. Depending on your answers, you will determine the purpose and function of the report together. Because of the fact that the format of an appraisal varies for the purpose. Expert jewelry appraisers make it for you upon your purpose.
Jewelry Appraisals for Insurance (Replacement Value Appraisal)
In today’s world, the majority of appraisals are done for insurance replacement purposes. Also, it can be called a retail replacement. The appraisal will be needed for insurance companies. In case of lost or stolen, this appraisal will be your guide to get back money from insurance companies or to make them replace your jewelry.
When it is done properly as it supposed to be, you will obtain specific insurance on every piece of jewelry. This policy protects for most perils. It allows for your jewelry to be replaced with the same or a similar one. Another type of coverage is the agreed value policy which doesn’t include replacement but they will cover the money you lost. Generally, these policies would carry a higher premium. You need to discuss with your agent about your insurance policy. Because you cannot know everything about insurance in detail and it is important to determine what coverage is best for your particular needs. You need to do it before getting your insurance.
It will be a much higher number than the resale value of your jewelry. Due to the estimation of appraisal, you will know how much it will cost to purchase a new replacement for your jewelry, as opposed to selling used jewelry. It is also due to a number of factors. Keep in mind that an appraisal needs to be valid for 10 years in order to understand how the cost would change. Obviously, cost numbers are impossible to guarantee.
To return the value of your jewelry is the point of getting insurance. That is the most important reason why you need an appraisal. That appraisal should include realistic costs.
After all this information, in order to get an appraisal, it is not compulsory to get help from professionals. Any experienced jewelers with basic training can do the job, at least they can give you an idea and they can show you the steps that you need to follow. But, they are at some level qualified appraisers. Especially, they are acceptable to write appraisals for insurance purposes. They take into consideration the jewelry they sell in their store as an item value. On the other hand, keep in mind that a jewelry appraisal that is done for other purposes requires more advanced and more experienced appraisal training.
Insurance companies, of course, need a jewelry appraisal to sign an insurance policy about your jewelry to take themselves under the protection of the law. You need a separate appraisal for your every piece of jewelry, so a company can ensure all the items you have. These appraisals will be used for replacing your jewelry in some situations, such as stolen, lost, or damaged. It depends on your insurance policy, features of your jewelry, or what the damage is. Insurance companies do not replace your jewelry without an appraisal. When you have one, they have to replace your jewelry. That’s why don’t forget to get insurance.
Jewelry Appraisals for Selling (Fair Market Value Appraisal)
This type of appraisal gives you an estimated cost of receiving money in case of selling. The condition of jewelry is very important in this context. It is a good way to give the seller an idea of how much money they can get from a willing buyer. Appraisals help confirm that the merchandise is valued at what it supposed to be. This amount will be lower than a replacement value appraisal.
It is done with a mindset of the actual value of an item if it were to be sold between a willing buyer and seller, in a common market that represents the value of the items in its current and used condition. In another saying, it reflects an actual selling price between a willing buyer and seller, when neither is compelled by time or need to buy or sell in the item’s most common market.
The fair market value should represent the value that the jewelry is in its current state, that is, the state in use. It is often necessary to know this for donations and property evaluations. Fair market values may be lower than retail replacement values because replacement values often reflect the cost of replacing a used gem with a new equivalent.
An example of this would be a valuation for donations or property assessments, as noted above. Fair market values are generally lower in value estimates lower than retail replacement values, because retail replacement values often reflect the cost of replacing jewelry with a new equivalent instead of the equivalent used.
Liquidation Value Appraisals
If you need to quickly get rid of your jewelry due to some important but sudden reasons, you can get a liquidation value appraisal. These appraisals give you lower value than other types of appraisals would give, as they reflect the immediate need for sales.
These kinds of appraisals usually emphasize lower values than it supposed to have. Because there is a sudden and unwanted situation that creates a need for immediate selling, such as an immediate need to sell due to divorce, estate liquidations, probate or loan collateral appraisals, and so on. Appraisers estimate the value at wholesale prices or below. But generally, it ends with way below wholesale levels. It is a less common type of appraisal which includes probate and loan collateral appraisals.
Let’s say someone passes away, their estate gets divided up and distributed to the appropriate individuals. Executors of the estate will bring the valuables and collections so that an amount can be placed on the items and the estate can be worked out. This process can take days or even weeks to accomplish. Estate appraisals are not easy, cheap, or quick appraisals at all.
How to Find a Good Jewelry Appraiser
Everyone assumes that a gemologist and a jewelry appraiser do the same job. Nevertheless, there is a huge difference between the education they get and the job they have done. A gemologist can properly identify gemstones and diamond material, quality, color pattern, and evaluate jewelry before a value is set. On the other hand, a jewelry appraiser uses principles and methods to calculate the value based on gemological grading, quality of materials, and the appropriate market. To become an appraiser, it involves years of additional education, experience, and ongoing research.
Jewelry appraisers are skilled people in the field of gemology, which is the detailed study of valuable gems and metals such as gold, platinum, and silver. They are able to identify the authenticity and value of jewelry pieces by making skilled observations and performing unobtrusive examinations. This helps in determining the market value. Jewelry appraisers examine jewelry to determine their value and authenticity. It is a job that requires detailed knowledge, an understanding of market values, and current trends.
Appraisal Credentials: It is a must to have. It is a certification or title you need to get from any respected and important national appraisal organization. Different types of appraisals require different levels of training and different levels of documentation.
Gemological Credentials: To be a jewelry appraiser, gemological information but from a high degree is the minimum level. It is important to ask with no federal or state requirements. That degree from gemology should be known by GIA which is the Gemological Institute of America.
Knowledge of Jewelry Manufacturer: You need to understand manufacturing techniques. In this way, you can recognize the contributions to the value of a piece of jewelry. It is kind of compulsory.
Continuing Education: To continue education, to continue to get more certificates about your job shows that you have more than enough knowledge about your job. It helps your customers to trust you easily.
Jewelry and Appraisal Experience: As in every area, experience leads to becoming more knowledgeable about what you are doing. Especially, in this case, solid in the appraisal industry is equally important.
High Ethical Standards and Awareness of Legal Obligations: Jewelry appraisers should work with the highest levels of professionalism. They should show the highest level. The reputation of the appraiser in the industry should be considered together with the professional commitment of the appraiser. Their behaviors should be considered as one and they behave according to that.
Even though everyone thinks that jewelry appraisers determine the value of jewelry, markets set the value of the jewelry. The only thing appraisers do is an estimation of value. It is the appraiser’s responsibility to determine the appropriate market and study comparable goods.
Knowing how much you will pay for a jewelry appraisal and understanding what affects the price are important. They can help you find a jewelry appraiser you can trust and a jewelry appraiser who is good at appraisals. Your trust is very important for most professional jewelry appraisers. They value this trust highly and work hard to give customers an accurate, detailed report about the value and history of the pieces of jewelry.
Certified Appraisal Professional
There are a series of practical and theoretical exams to test jewelry appraisers. Those assignments have been established, along with a number of requirements that test the assessment skills of jewelers and gemologists. Certified appraisers have to prove their expertise to their peers, with formal gemological qualifications and necessary experience in the industry.
Let’s say they complete all the criteria successfully, these people who help you during the process considered as a qualified jewelry appraiser. They take their titles as expert certified appraisal professionals and have the authority to emboss their approval with a seal stating these titles. They must be in good standing as members and only use the seal of the current year.
Jewelry Appraisal Process
- Clean the jewelry
- Determine if there is a repair needed
- Test the metal
- Specify gemstone’s authenticity, size, weights, grading and plotting the stones as appropriate
- Photography the jewelry
- Prepare the appraisal document as proper to its purpose and intended use
There are two main factors that affect how long the jewelry appraisal process takes. These factors are who is going to prepare appraisal, who is going to be your jewelry appraiser, and how many items you need to be evaluated. Obviously, one piece of jewelry takes much less time in order to appraise than if you have multiple pieces. You should expect it to get your appraisal from a few days to about a week. It depends on how many items need to be appraised.
Cost of a Jewelry Appraisal
Everyone thinks that a professional jewelry appraiser will demand and need a higher fee for their work. Even though they deserve, there are so many factors that depend on different variations in this context. If you think of what you are willing to pay for beauty treatments a proper appraisal fee does not seem so bad.
When you get a jewelry appraisal, you get a legal document. It is legal because of the fact that it needs a legal sign, equipment, education, experience, and expertise. If you received an opinion from your jeweler it is advised to have that verified by an independent appraiser as well.
For sure, having a professional appraisal is needed in some circumstances if you want to get an accurate idea of the value of your piece of jewelry. And, the cost of an appraisal varies depending on how many pieces you are having appraised, what type of appraisal you need, the complexity of the appraisal and how much experienced the appraiser you are going to work with.
A jewelry appraisal cost varies according to different factors. Most probably, you will get different pricing from every appraiser. There is no fixed pricing for this. A qualified jewelry appraiser will provide an estimated cost you have to spend on an appraisal before starting to evaluate your jewelry. It depends on your needs and the intended purpose of your appraisal.
Services should be charged by the hour or a flat fee per piece in order to be ethical. Fees should never be based on a percentage of the value because any fee that is based on a percentage is considered as unethical.
Jewelry appraisal cost also varies depending on the complexity of the piece. It may be necessary to conduct market research to examine and collect facts about the piece, to compare laboratory studies and similar pieces, and the actual writing of the appraisal, and this greatly affects the price. On the other hand, it depends on who does it, how intricate your pieces are, how many pieces you need to have appraised, and how fast you need them done.
As a result, there are different factors that affect the cost you have to pay. You should never forget about this and you need to understand these factors. It leads you to choose a proper appraiser that fits your budget. More pieces of jewelry mean you have to spend more money. Experts and experienced jewelry appraisers may charge even more.
You should also expect to spend more money on extensive research. If the jewelry appraiser needs to spend a few hours understanding the background of your item to assign an appropriate value, you are probably going to pay more for the appraisal. Prepare yourself to spend more because they are very passionate about their job always.
Helpful Products on Amazon
Apart from all the knowledge, training and education you need to get, there are some books and tools that help you in order to understand the jewelry appraisal process, or at least when you get the documentation whether it is enough or not.
Gems & Jewelry Appraising (3rd Edition): Techniques of Professional Practice 3rd Edition, Updated and Expanded
Gems & Jewelry Appraising: Techniques of Professional Practice
Diamond Identification And Appraisal
Gem: The Definitive Visual Guide
Professional Jewelry Appraising