Whether you’re treasuring your jewelry pieces, wearing them with appreciation and saving them for the other generation, or considering selling a piece and freeing up some space for your collection – it is important to have your jewelry appraised. For one, you can get your jewelry insured. In addition, thanks to a professional appraiser, you can learn the exact worth of your piece, its origin, confirm the jewelry’s authenticity, and learn for any possible damage. But how to choose a good jewelry appraiser in the first place? Read on to learn more about the ins and outs of jewelry appraisal…
Opt for the Right Type of Appraiser
Depending on your type of jewelry, you may want to know the right type of appraiser you need. A jewelry appraiser is a professional individual that although might not possess a certificate, has the technical know-how and experience to properly evaluate your pieces. Depending on the type of jewelry that will be evaluated, you can choose from the following professionals:
Can be your local pawn shop or preferred jeweler. You can head over to them and learn more about your jewelry piece. Although they might not determine the exact value of your piece, they can provide a rough estimate of its worth.
A gemologist appraiser is one of the most regarded professionals in the jewelry industry. This person can identify gemstones, diamonds, and jewelry. If your jewelry piece has gems, you can opt for a gemologist appraiser who can determine their value by checking the gems’ characteristics (shape and cut, weight, symmetry, polish, clarity grade, and color grade).
Antique/Vintage Jewelry Appraiser
If you have recently inherited your grandma’s precious jewelry collection or have purchased a nice brooch online, and want to know the exact value of it, an antique/ vintage jewelry appraiser is up to the challenge. An antique jewelry appraiser will help you evaluate pieces belonging to the Victorian Era, Art Deco Jewelry, Cloisonne, Art Nouveau, and almost every other piece made of precious metals or gems.
Although many watch forums or Facebook groups can help you find out with proximity the value of your watches, you will need a timepiece connoisseur to determine its production year, the brand, country of origin, whether it has been serviced, or if the timepiece is even authentic or a replica.
Comply with the Insurance Company Requirements
Keep in mind that intentionally over-valuing a piece of jewelry not only will open some problems with the jewelry insurance company but is also illegal. Although this advice would serve more to a jewelry appraiser, you as the jewelry owner should also be aware as over-evaluation of your jewelry can lead to additional taxation. In addition to the legal guidelines of jewelry appraisal, be informed of the insurance company regulations. They might want to evaluate your piece in-house or ask for your appraiser to have certain certifications or the jewelry appraisal documentation be of a certain required format.
Best Appraisers are from Professional Associations
Although there are no legal requirements or government regulations that require jewelry appraisers to own certification or follow a specific course, it is the jewelry industry itself that sets the market standards. Professional jewelry associations worldwide equip jewelry enthusiasts, watch-lovers, jewelry makers, and amateur appraisers with certifications that indicate their educational standard. If you are looking for trustworthy and professional jewelry appraisers, head over to the following associations:
International Society of Appraisers
Considered as one of the biggest independent personal property appraisers in the US and Canada, the International Society of Appraisers uses education, membership recertification, accreditation, and gemological research to inform and safeguard consumers, as well as contribute to the trade advancement. In addition to jewelry and other art pieces, ISA has the technical know-how to evaluate other potentially valuable objects like ceramics, art, books, timepieces, furniture, sculpture, prints, and other collectibles.
American Gem Society
“Consumer Protection Since 1934”, is the slogan of the American Gem Society. Understandably, the association’s goal is to inspire and instruct jewelers on how to properly appraise pieces. As a non-profit trade association of fine jewelry professionals, AGS is dedicated to establishing and promoting the highest standards of professional behavior in the jewelry and gems industry.
Canadian Gemmological Association
CGA is another non-profit professional organization focused on setting the standards in the practice of gemology. Its educational goal provides a forum for Canadian gemmologists to share experiences and knowledge about gemstones.
Set a Preliminary Value
Getting your jewelry appraised can sometimes become a real challenge, especially if the appraiser you have found is not able to review and evaluate the piece in your presence. In this case, you will have to hand over your pieces. Before doing so, keep in mind to agree on a preliminary jewelry value beforehand. The paper indicates the value that you and the appraiser agreed the piece is worth if it gets damaged or lost.
Agree on a Fitting Jewelry Appraisal Pricing
The jewelry appraisal cost varies from $35 to $175. You will be charged differently depending on the type of jewelry and the technical know-how required to assess its value. The jewelry appraisal cost also varies from one appraisal to another. Some might charge a flat rate per piece, while others will provide a sweet deal if you want your entire jewelry collection to be evaluated. If the appraiser charges a percentage of your jewelry’s worth, look for another professional.
This form of payment/ fee structure presents a conflict of interest. As for the hourly fee, ask the appraiser if they can provide you with a rough estimate of the time it will take, and if possible, negotiate for a minimum rate.
Why is Jewelry Appraisal Important?
There are certain important factors that make jewelry appraisal a must-do process for everyone who owns either a valuable piece or an entire collection of jewelry.
Find your jewelry’s monetary value
Imagine for a moment your grandma’s pendant you have been treasuring for a while now is so valuable it necessitates insurance. Not knowing vintage jewelry is valuable is not uncommon as it takes a professional of the field, in this case, a jewelry appraiser, to find your jewelry’s monetary value. This way, you are making sure you can sell it for the proper amount of money. Although a family heirloom is best to be appreciated and passed down to other generations, its conventional aesthetics may not be as suitable in modern times.
Check for any damages
With the passing of time, there are certain issues and damages that can be caused to your precious jewelry pieces. Although all you did was take good care of them and wear your jewelry with appreciation, deterioration is sometimes inevitable. In silver jewelry, for example, you will encounter the tarnishing process. Other metals like gold, might have gotten scratches with the passing of time. And pearls, these delicate porous gems, can lose their beautiful shine, develop tiny cracks, or dry out. And not to forget about other minor jewelry issues like a broken clasp, weakened bond in metal jewelry, a loose setting, and more. Don’t lose hope though! Most of these damages can be avoided if you take good care of your pearls, clean your jewelry continuously, and treasure your pieces safely in a decent jewelry organizer box.
As for the appraiser, he/she is able to give professional advice on how to clean your damaged pieces and restore their classic beauty and timeless shine. And if your intention is to sell the jewelry, keep in mind that some vintage or antique pieces are more appreciated when not serviced.
Easily list your jewelry for sale on auction sites
People love buying jewelry online and with countless auctions sites, online marketplaces, and Facebook groups dedicated to buying and selling jewelry – finding the next receiver for your pieces has become easier than ever. With the proper documentation, the value of jewelry is increased significantly. This comes as a result of assuring buyers of the jewelry’s authenticity, something that speeds up the selling process and helps you get a better deal from auctions.
Confirm your jewelry’s authenticity
If you decide to list your jewelry pieces in an online or offline auction, having proper paperwork will make the process easier. If your piece is not supported by a document of ownership and, most crucially, authenticity, it will be impossible to even participate, let alone sell it. A proof of jewelry ownership can usually be discovered on the lines of the will for most family treasures. If you can’t find it, a jewelry evaluation can assist you or at the very least provide professional advice. This also aids in the insurance process.
Be eligible for insurance
Not having jewelry insured can leave you exposed to several problems especially if you’re shipping your jewelry to a buyer. The parcel can be lost or get damaged and having the proper insurance will guarantee full compensation in value. Jewelry insurance also covers other unwanted occurrences like theft or damage. A local pawn shop, your preferred jeweler, or a professional jewelry appraiser can evaluate your jewelry pieces and provide a correct valuation of the piece, followed by a document for the insurance company.
Do your Due Diligence
So far you have learned the ins and out of jewelry appraisal: why it is important, where to find the best jewelry appraisers, and how to negotiate with them about pricing. As for jewelry insurance, process with caution, make sure to respect the insurance company guidelines and ask your jewelry appraiser for any additional advice.