Jewelry Appraisal - Is it really necessary?

Before we discuss about jewelry appraisal, you will have to first understand that appraisal is different from certification. Yes, it's quite a common misconception among jewelry buyers that appraisal and certification are one and the same thing.

Certification Appraisal
It includes specifics of gemstone like: carat, color, clarity, cut, shape, treatments, etc. It is done to put price value on the jewelry being appraised and to verify the attributes of the gemstones as described by the seller.
Details given in certificate do not change unless the stone undergoes any change (breakage etc) or there was any mistake during evaluation. Since, appraisal is done to put price value, so it is recommended that jewelry should be appraised every two year. After all, the value of your jewelry will not remain static in the changing market condition.

Most jewelry appraisers have training in gems’ grading (i.e. gemology), but appraisal is not just about grading (as mentioned in above table). Appraisal basically comprises of - authentication of jewelry item along with its valuation.

So, in essence Jewelry Appraisal is nothing but deriving the value of jewelry based on its current condition.

Why Jewelry Appraisal?

There are primarily following two reasons for appraisal of jewelry:

  • Jewelry Insurance: Importance of appraisal increases when you are going for jewelry insurance. To cover the full value of jewelry, it should be appraised by a professional appraiser and then insured under a separate policy. Most of the insurance companies require professional appraisal of jewelry by an independent expert (appraiser) to set the premium.
  • Buying or Selling Jewelry: It is important to know whether you are buying a piece for its actual worth or not, and to know how much you should sell your diamond or jewelry for.

Why Independent Jewelry Appraisal?

For many years, jewelry sellers and other business have been offering 'appraisals' to (as a service) customers for purposes that range from securing insurance to offers to buy.

But sadly, appraisal system has been misused too by unethical elements - like so-called jewelers-cum-appraisers deriving a extremely high value for their piece (usually a value higher that the selling price) to show the customer that he is getting the jewelry at a price lower than its actual (appraised) value. That's why you must always take service of a qualified, professional and independent jewelry appraiser.

Any statement by jeweler in the jewelry appraisal report - that your jewelry item is in perfect condition - at the time of sale will not always satisfy the jewelry insurance company.

This is because, at the time of claim, if the jewelry insurance company's expert determines by looking at the damaged jewelry that the loss was due to a craftsmanship problem or a defect present in the jewelry piece prior to the beginning of the jewelry insurance policy, the insurance company can reject the claim.

Therefore, it's always advisable to get your jewelry appraised by an independent appraiser who doesn’t sell jewelry and gems, and has nothing to do with outcome of appraisal of jewelry.

Most jewelers offer minimum 30 days return policy with full money refund for items returned within specified period. So, during that period you can get the jewelry appraised and if not satisfied can return it back.

However, make sure to take service of a professional appraiser who is properly qualified. Never take the service of a jewelry appraiser proposed by the jeweler or seller.

Also, when seeking the person to carry out the valuation, always check his credentials, like if he is a member of any appraisal associations. In short, just like thoughtful selection of jewelry, follow the prudent approach while picking the right appraiser.

Content of Jewelry Appraisal Report

Although different appraisal reports have different content and their style of presentation also vary, but at a high level, most appraisal reports will cover more or less following information:

  • Description of Desirability & Market Conditions
  • Material Facts which affects risk for insurance company
  • Instruments used for Testing
  • Description of Jewelry item (identification, measurement, etc.)
  • Grading Report for stones (if any)
  • Colored gemstones certificates will be done for colored stones when appropriate.
  • Content and weight of metal
  • Estimated replacement value of jewelry
  • Photographs of jewelry item

Finally, I'll advise appraisal of jewelry is must in today's continuously changing and challenging market conditions. Although, an appraisal can cost you up to few hundred bucks (depending on the experience of appraiser, his location, size and value of jewelry piece etc.), it's worth to know the actual value of jewelry - whether it's your prized possession or you want to make it one.

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