Jewelry Appraisals‒When Is It Worth It?

Have you been wondering about getting your jewelry appraised? Well, you're in the right place.

Getting a jewelry appraisal is basically necessary if you purchase a new piece of fine jewelry. Plus, it's required if you want to insure your new jewelry. And even if you've owned it for decades, the value of jewelry fluctuates, meaning you might want to determine its value today.

We'll help you understand the ins and outs of jewelry appraisals, determine if you need one, and talk about the benefits. Let's get started!

Related: How to Tell If Your Jewelry Is Real

What to Know About Jewelry Appraisals

Let's talk about what a jewelry appraisal is; it's more than a receipt for your new jewelry. Getting a jewelry appraisal means getting a detailed document about your piece to determine its actual value. For example, if you get a diamond ring appraised, an appraisal will include a detailed description of the ring, gemstone, and more.

There are different reasons people get a jewelry appraisal, and one of the biggest ones is for insurance purposes. Because in most cases, you can't get jewelry insurance without first obtaining an appraisal. They are also crucial when you want to file a claim.

Other reasons for getting a jewelry appraisal are for tax purposes and to make reselling easier in the future.

How Much Does It Cost?

Some jewelry stores will offer a free appraisal when purchasing your new piece. Otherwise, you should expect to pay a small fee, particularly if you didn't buy the jewelry from where you take it to get appraised.

Appraisal fees vary, and you'll typically pay by piece or by the hour. In terms of cost, you get what you pay for; an appraisal where the price seems too low probably isn't the best. In general, you can expect costs between $75 and $150 for most jewelry appraisals.

How Long Does It Take?

Two things will affect how long it takes to have your jewelry appraised: the amount and size of the jewelry and who you take it to. You can get a single piece of jewelry appraised much quicker than you could an entire set. Depending on how many items you have, you can expect the jewelry appraisal to take anywhere from a day to a week or more.

And different jewelers will have different schedules. Some may offer same-day appraisals, and others might work by appointment only or have a backlog of people waiting.

How Often Do You Need One?

Many people assume jewelry appraisals are a one-time occurrence, but jewelry values fluctuate. Therefore, to keep your jewelry valued accurately, you might consider having it appraised every 3 to 5 years.

And if you're getting an appraisal for insurance reasons, your insurance company might require it to be updated periodically.

Do You Need a Jewelry Appraisal?

 A woman wearing seven different rings

If you own any fine jewelry, it's a good idea to get a jewelry appraisal. An appraisal documents the characteristics, key details, and value of your jewelry. Whether you bought it yourself, inherited it, received it as a gift, or are planning on buying a new piece of jewelry for someone else, an appraisal can help you know its genuine value.

Related: Recognizing 925 Sterling Silver

Buying fine jewelry without getting an appraisal is like buying a used car without checking the title. Jewelry can be a large purchase, and having proper documentation is crucial.

Know The Different Types of Appraisals

When you’re getting your jewelry appraised, you’ll typically do it to find the replacement value, the fair market value, and the liquidation value.

Replacement Value Appraisals

The majority of jewelry appraisals are done for insurance purposes. The value that is given in this type of appraisal is called the retail replacement value. This value will let you know the cost of replacing the piece should something happen to it. 

The retail replacement value will typically be inflated much higher than the resale value of your jewelry. The main reason is that this appraisal is an estimate of what it’s going to cost for you to purchase a new replacement for it, as opposed to simply selling our jewelry.

This number is also affected by other factors like insurance premiums, market fluctuation, and because appraisals need to be valid for ten years, over which the cost of replacing the piece of jewelry is likely to increase. 

Fair Market Value Appraisal

A fair market value appraisal will provide you with an estimate of what you would likely receive if you decided to sell your piece of jewelry. It will take into account the condition of the piece and is intended to give the seller a general idea of what they can get for the jewelry from a potential buyer. 

Therefore, the fair market appraisal value will typically be lower than a replacement value appraisal.

Liquidation Appraisal Value

You can get a liquidation appraisal if you need to quickly liquidate your jewelry due to an estate liquidation or a divorce. Liquidation appraisals are typically substantially lower than other appraisal values because of the need to sell the piece as quickly as possible. 

Understanding the different appraisal values will give you a better understanding of why appraisal values can differ significantly.

Know What to Look For in a Jewelry Appraiser

It’s important to remember that the documentation you receive from an appraiser could end up being used in a legal setting. Therefore, your appraisal must be credible when and if that time comes. 

You must get an appraisal from an appraiser with the experience and knowledge to give you a legitimate and credible evaluation of your jewelry. A credible appraiser will understand the jewelry-making process and gemological and appraisal training. It’s also a good idea to check for reviews and references for your appraiser.  

Gemological Training

Before selecting an appraiser, verify if the appraiser is a Graduate Gemologist (G.G). The G.G. is the minimal professional credential to look for in an appraiser. Also, check to see if they have any specialties and have kept their certifications up to date with continuing education.

Appraisal Training

Verify beforehand that the appraiser has completed their appraisal training and testing in valuation. And that the appraiser is recognized by associations like the American Society of Appraisers (ASA) or the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers.

References and Reviews

It’s always a good idea to ask an appraiser if he can provide professional references for you to review to verify his bona fides. You can also look for customer reviews on sites like Google, Yelp, and Facebook to see other people’s experiences working with the appraiser.

Doing a little bit of homework before working with an appraiser is a good idea to save yourself from potential headaches later on by working with the wrong one. 

Benefits of a Jewelry Appraisal

Getting a jewelry appraisal comes with several benefits, including:

Check For Damage

Whenever you buy a ring, necklace, bracelet, or other jewelry, you'll want to have a jeweler appraise it to ensure that it's in prime condition. However, suppose you don't get your piece appraised and appropriately evaluated. Then, you can risk it getting lost or damaged due to loose prongs or other defects that are not immediately obvious to someone who's not a professional jeweler.

High Reward & Low Cost

If you spend thousands on a new piece of jewelry, getting an appraisal is a no-brainer. Most jewelers charge around $75 to $150 for an appraisal, which is a tiny fraction of the cost of fine jewelry. You can absolutely justify spending a little extra on an appraisal when you compare it to your new jewelry's value.

Confirm the Value

By documenting the appropriate value of your fine jewelry, engagement ring, or other pieces, you can avoid disputes down the road about the jewelry's value if you ever have to make an insurance claim on it. And if it's a new purchase, getting your jewelry appraised is the perfect way to validate your ownership.

Get Documentation

Suppose your jewelry ever gets lost or damaged. In that case, you'll have to provide your jeweler with a detailed description of the piece to repair it to its former glory or create a replacement that's identical to the original. Imagine if you had to replace a lost item without having documentation about it. However, if you get a good appraisal, any jeweler will have access to the details they need to repair or replace the piece. For example, engagement ring appraisals are a great way to ensure that your special ring will look as good as when you got it for the rest of your life, no matter what happens.

 A diamond engagement ring

Jewelry Insurance

If you own or plan to buy any fine jewelry, insurance is a necessity. And most jewelry insurance companies will require you to get an appraisal before they insure your jewelry. Here's a pro tip: if your insurance company offers to insure your new jewelry without an appraisal, you should probably look for a new company. When you get an appraised value and the specific details of your jewelry, you'll be able to get an accurate quote for insurance. Otherwise, there's a risk of under-insuring it, meaning you would have to pay out of pocket if it needs repairs or replacement. Or you could end up overpaying every year for your jewelry insurance if you get an appraisal at an inflated value.

Looking for the right jewelry to fit your unique style? View the LaCkore Couture collection and find the best rings, necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and more to freshen up your look!

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