Why Appraise

Why appraiseKnowing what your valuables are worth is always a sensible thing to do, being it your jewelry, watches or sterling silver. This is why it’s important to keep your appraisals up to date, especially given the continuing rise in the gold and gemstone markets.

How much is mom’s diamond brooch worth? Can you share inherited jewelry equitably? Are you giving jewelry as a gift to a family member, or someone else?

Independent appraisers are not in the business of buying or selling jewelry so they are likely to be unbiased—and this can also mean they are less likely to overvalue your jewelry as a way to please you as a customer.

For the most part, insurance companies prefer that your jewelry appraisals be done by an independent appraiser, as opposed, for example, to someone employed by a jewelry store.

Not long ago, I appraised a number of pieces for a young woman who brought me her engagement ring, along with several family pieces including a ring that was on life support, alas: she could see, through my microscope, a large crack in the center ruby, and the broken prongs.

“I have one more thing,” she said, “and probably it’s worth nothing.” This was a diamond on a fine gold chain. “My grandfather gave it to me when I was little, and I used to wear it at tea parties with my stuffed animals.”

Looking at the stone, I realized it was one of the loveliest I’d ever seen, and worth $10,000. My client’s grandfather has dementia, and no one in the family had known the diamond’s value, or why he had given it to her.

An appraisal would have helped the family keep track of pieces like these and insure their value in case of damage or loss.

Most independent appraisers offer several levels of service. A simple verbal appraisal of each piece will at least get you started. A catalogue provides a listing of each item, its worth, a brief description and a photograph.

For insurance purposes you will want a full, complete, and highly detailed appraisal of each stone. An appraisal is a legal document you can present to insurance companies in case of damage or theft, for example, and it is also essential in the process of settling an estate. Insurance companies prefer that you keep your appraisals up to date, every three to five years.