Unfortunately, the sentimental value of your jewellery piece is not a factor when assessing how much it is worth. However, there is such a service as jewellery appraisal that helps to estimate how much your item is worth for insurance purposes or in case you want to list it for sale.
What is Jewellery Appraisal?
A jewellery appraisal, also known as a jewellery valuation, is a document that states how much a particular piece of jewellery is worth. It can be issued by a jewellery appraiser through a close inspection of an item to determine its value.
The inspection process involves checking the condition of the piece, its gemstones and their quality characteristics, the metal and the settings. However, these are just some criteria used in the appraisal.
After a close examination of your jewellery piece, the appraiser estimates how much it is worth and put this value in writing with a detailed description. A proper appraisal should describe the jewellery item stating an estimated gemstone carat weight, approximate colour and clarity, the weight and type of the metal the jewellery piece is made of and other details.
It is worth mentioning that there is a big difference between an appraisal and a grading report. A grading report is a document referring to the information on the quality characteristics of a particular diamond or another gemstone, whilst an appraisal gives information on a jewellery piece including its gemstones.
What are Jewellery Appraisals Used For?
Appraisals are done to verify the value of a piece of jewellery, and there are various occasions when you may need written proof for the value of your item and the appraisal will come handy.
The most common reason for an appraisal is for insurance purposes. To determine the insurance replacement value of your jewellery piece, the insurer will require you to present proof of how much the item is worth. In case your jewellery is lost or stolen, the detailed description in the appraisal will help prove your ownership and to collect insurance or identify your piece if it is found.
It is recommended to get this document renewed at least every few years as the prices of precious metals and gemstones regularly change.
Appraisal fees should never be based on a percentage of a jewellery’s value as the appraiser will make more money by valuing an item higher. Instead, appraisal services should always be changed by the hour or a flat fee per item.
It is worth mentioning that antique jewellery pieces may require an expert in that area because the final value is also based on cultural significance.
Does a Jewellery Appraisal Help Sell Jewellery?
A jewellery appraisal is always a good idea, especially if your item is expensive. However, it is important to understand that the appraisal price and the selling price are different things.
An appraisal serves as a guide, but it won’t match what you would earn if you sell your jewellery. According to some recent surveys, you will get approximately 25-40% of the retail value of your jewellery. For example, if you paid $6,000 for a diamond engagement ring, it should be appraised around $6,000 for replacement purposes, but the same ring will sell for about $3,500 or even less to a jewellery buyer.
Keep in mind that the most valuable parts of a jewellery piece are the centre stone and the precious metal. This means if your jewellery incorporates many smaller stones, the retail price will be disproportionately higher than the resale price, as smaller stones are generally considered scrap. Any additional factors, such as labour and the jeweller’s profit, are no longer relevant.
However, there is an exception to the above rule, jewellery from elite brands such as Cartier, Tiffany & Co., Harry Winston and Van Cleef & Arpels, will retain the premium reselling value.
Who Can Appraise Jewellery?
Jewellery appraisals can be issued by people who have undergone training in gemology and valuation, however, there are no federal or state licensing requirements.
Since pretty much anyone in a jewellery business equipped with necessary tools can claim to be a jewellery appraiser, it is important to choose professionals that meet certain qualifications and adhere to a code of ethics.
Always check if the individual has been certified by an authority such as Accredited Gemologist Association, American Gem Society, American Society of Appraisers, Appraisers Association of America, Appraisers International Society etc. Also, pay close attention to the reputation of the person you are going to trust with your jewellery.
Aside from qualifying, the appraiser should also be a graduate gemologist and be knowledgeable about the current jewellery market.