Is getting a Jewelry Appraisal really worth it?
Yes, depending on what type of jewelry you’re looking to have appraised, you might be able to appraise it yourself. For diamonds and various types of stones or gems, I would recommend finding a professional. For your gold or silver jewelry, I would recommend for you to do the appraisal yourself.
With your jewelry certificate, find out your gold or silver karat number. You can also sometimes locate the karat number on your piece of jewelry. Secondly, you’ll need to weigh your gold or silver on a scale. Find a friendly online website and fill in your numbers. Diamonds on the other hand usually have inclusion in them, they’re only visible by a microscope. The inclusion will provide the appraiser with various details on the diamond at hand.
What is a Jewelry Appraisal?
A jewelry appraisal is an assessment of your jewelry in order to find out the intrinsic value of your jewelry. Diamond, Gold, Silver and various stones or gems fluctuate in price over the years. With various points such as clarity, karat use, weight and mining method for diamonds whether it was lab-made or naturally mined. A jeweler is able to provide you with an accurate assessment for what your piece of jewelry can sell for.
There’re two different types of appraisals you can receive, a regular appraisal or an insured appraisal. Any time you insure jewelry, you need proof of the item’s value in order to replace it. If your jewelry isn’t appraised, your jewelry cannot be insured. Whether you’re looking to sell your piece of jewelry or keep it, it’s important to possess a certified appraisal document with you. You don’t want to end up receiving less than what your jewelry is worth now, do you? With an accurate appraisal, you won’t have to worry about that!
Factors Affecting Jewelry Appraisal Cost
The cost of your appraisal will depend on a number of factors. Understanding these various factors will help you choose an appraiser who will fit both your needs and budget. How many items are you looking to have appraised? Put it this way, it’s going to cost a whole lot less to have one diamond ring appraised vs an entire jewelry collection you inherited from your grandmother.
Make sure when you’re having your jewelry appraised, you’re being invoiced on an hourly rate. Rates can vary from $100 - $500, depending on your location and the complexity of the jewelry you’re having appraised. The more complex, the longer your appraisal will take.
Jewelry Complexity from Easiest to most Complex
- Antique Jewelry
Do take note of this, oftentimes some confuse solid gold/silver jewelry vs coated jewelry. Plated jewelry is very popular nowadays especially amongst millennials, and it’s important to know the difference. There’re three different variations; solid gold, gold filled and gold plated. Solid Gold is the most valuable form of this precious metal with a density of up to 24K gold. Gold Filled is not the same as solid gold. Jewelry made by this method starts with Brass, a dense thicker layer is than coated above the brass. Gold plated on the other hand is similar to Gold filled, the only difference is a thin layer of gold is coated, rather than thick.
Certain items such as antique jewelry, gems or stones, will require expertise in such an area. An appraiser with such a specialty possesses years of experience and education on this topic. He or she will charge much more for their services, it’s a niche type of service. Avoid working with appraisals who charge 5%+ fees on the value of your jewelry. They’re out for your money.
What to look for in a Jewelry Appraisal
Unfortunately, anyone can appraise jewelry and not be penalized for it. Only use a qualified appraisal, who possess five designations under their portfolio. This is only applicable to North America. It costs a lot of money in order to receive all five designations because of this, it is not cost-effective to keep appraisers on staff. Most appraisers contract their services to different retail jewelers.
Here’s a list to keep handy, directly from the American Society of Appraisers:
- State clearly the purpose that the appraisal was performed to fulfill (insurance coverage, estate distribution, etc.)
- Specify and define the type of value provided (replacement cost, fair market value, marketable cash value, etc.)
- Specify the effective date of the appraisal
- State any circumstances that limited the performance of the appraisal
- Describe the jewelry in the detail appropriate to the type of appraisal performed
- Include images of the jewelry (except when it has been lost or destroyed)
- Explain the procedures used to arrive at a value
- Be signed by the appraiser and include their contact information
- Describe the qualifications of the appraiser
Looking for a reputable jewelry appraiser in your area? Here are 5 tips that will help you find them:
1: See If Your Local Jeweller has an in-house Appraiser
Some jewelry stores keep an Appraiser in their store, most Appraisers contract business so the store may not have one.
2: Ask Your Friends and Family If They Can Recommend an Appraiser
Like a lawyer, sometimes you just need a great recommendation, rather than seeking and searching one out for yourself.
3: Do Your Own Due Diligence, Research
If you’re going to do what most of us do today, go on google and “google it”. Do your search, read reviews, reply to others who’ve had a negative or positive experience with a said appraiser.
4: Make Sure the Appraiser Has the Proper Education
- International Society of Appraisers
- American Society of Appraisers
- National Association of Jewelry Appraisers
5: Look for Someone with Years of Experience
Like any other profession, if they’ve been doing it longer, they must be good at it.
How often should I get a Jewelry Appraisal?
It is recommended that you have your jewelry appraised every 3 years. The reason for this is so you’ve got an updated evaluation on the jewelry you own. All jewelry is valued differently over a few years. This has to do with the fluctuation of the price through the years of precious metals and rocks.
Let me show you what I mean by precious metals fluctuating in price. Below you will find the price of silver and gold through the years.
Price of Silver / Ounce Price of Gold / Ounce
Jan 2009 = $10.84 Jan 2009 = $828.61
Jan 2012 = $27.00 Jan 2012 = $1525.64
Jan 2015 = $15.00 Jan 2015 = $1169.82
See what I mean by the fluctuation of the price?
A significant factor that affects the price of jewelry as a whole, is the health of the world stock markets. Not always but usually if the worldwide stock markets are performing poorly, precious metals and rocks are used to hedge. This means people worldwide allocate their funds into precious metals and rocks/gems, this results in price increases.
A Personal Jewelry Appraisal Story
I have been buying gold for a few years now, I always buy my gold from the Middle East. I’m located in Toronto, Canada and in North America jewelry craftsmanship is expensive. There’s also quite the hefty markup for precious metals in North America compared to the Middle East, Africa or Europe.
I was on vacation in Dubai and I brought some personal pieces along with my grandmother left for me after she passed away. I brought them with me in order to have them appraised there. My aunt took me to her local trusty jeweler whom she purchases a large amount of gold from on a yearly basis. One of the rings I was having appraised was a Ruby stone with a great cut and exceptional clarity. Long story short, the jeweler pretended to know what he was doing and came up with a value. He then proceeded to ask if it was for sale. Automatically I noticed this gentleman was looking to rob us.
I wanted to share this story with you all in order to help others understand, there are jewelers/appraisers out there who are looking to undercut you. So please do your research, know what you possess and don’t be afraid to seek out more than one appraiser.