Whether an heirloom or purchase for a loved one, jewelry is an investment. An important part of preserving and protecting that investment is the jewelry appraisal. An appraisal provides a detailed description of the composition, quality, and ultimate monetary value of a piece of jewelry. An appraisal completed by a certified appraiser will allow you to:
- Secure adequate insurance for your piece(s)
- Have a new piece created in the event of loss
- Sell or trade the piece for an appropriate sum
Valentina Adeler is a (GIA) Graduate Gemologist and (AGS) Certified Gemologist Appraiser and is on premises at our flagship store in Great Falls, VA. The cost of an appraisal is hourly ($250) and most appraisals take an hour. We are happy to provide a more accurate price if you bring the piece in. The average turnaround time for an appraisal is one week.
Call us at the showroom for an appointment: 703.759.4076
The ABC’s of Jewelry Appraisals
Q: What is the purpose of a Jewelry Appraisal?
A: The purpose is to put a dollar value on the jewelry being appraised. Most often this is used to obtain insurance but sometimes this may be necessary to settle an estate or a divorce. With the internet purchasing becoming more prevalent, one may also want to verify an item’s true market value before you commit to a purchase.
Q: Should you insure all or only some of your jewelry?
A: This is an opportunity to ask yourself several questions about your jewelry habits. What pieces do you wear often? Where do you store the pieces you only wear occasionally? What does your homeowners policy cover in the way of jewelry and other valuables. Once you have determined the risk level to your pieces you must than ask yourself if you would replace them if they were lost or stolen? Standard rule of thumb is, if you wear your piece often, or if you wear it occasionally but do not store it in a safe or safety deposit box and would replace it if it was lost or stolen, than you should have your piece appraised and insured.
Q: What should you look for in a Jewelry Appraiser?
A: Because jewelry appraisers are not regulated, technically anyone can call themselves an appraiser. Insurance companies are now more diligent about requiring adequate credentials from appraisers in order to honor the claim, therefore these are the things you should look for:
- Is the jewelry appraiser a Graduate Gemologist from the Gemological Institute of America (G.G.) OR Fellow of the Gemological Institute of Great Britain (F.G.A.)? These credentials are educational minimums in the field of gem sciences. Graduates will know how to properly identity and grade diamonds and colored stones.
- Has the jewelry appraiser completed formal training and been formally tested in appraising/valuation by a recognized appraisal organization such as the American Gem Society (AGS), American Society of Appraisers (ASA) and or the National Association of Gem and Jewelry Appraisers (NGJA)?
- Does the Jewelry Appraiser follow the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice?
- How does your appraiser charge? The fee for the professional appraisal should only be an hourly rate or a per piece rate based on time and complexity, and NEVER a percentage of the value of the item appraised.
I Do Need the Help of an Appraiser, Now What?
If you have decided the go ahead and have your fine jewelry appraised by a professional, here are a few tips that should help in the process:
- Give the jewelry appraiser copies of any documentation you have relative to the jewelry, such as original receipts, stone certificates and previous appraisals.
- Do not be tempted by online companies that offer free or cheap appraisals. Online appraisals are only good for real property items that can be certified through photographs or receipts and descriptions. Even online appraisers admit that jewelry items of colored stones and diamonds require a hands on approach. Any item such as fine jewelry, requiring certification or testing to prove identity or authenticity, can’t be appraised online.
If you have decided to have your jewelry insured, here are some things to keep in mind.
- Your standard homeowners policy usually covers theft, but not breakage or loss and usually has a coverage cap of $1,000 for jewelry. You should subsequently request a “valuable items” insurance policy (rider to your homeowners or renters insurance). Such Such a policy should cover loss, theft, damage and mysterious disappearance (often a loophole if you don’t know what happened to your piece).
- Know your obligations. How often does your insurer require an appraisal update for the insurance to remain valid? It is your responsibility to provide them with the required appraisals, and not their responsibility to remind you to update them.