A jewelry appraisal is an educated opinion as to the authenticity, quality, and value of a piece of jewelry. They are used for many purposes but most commonly for insurance. They are not typically helpful for resale besides to authenticate a piece.
Why should I have my jewelry appraised?
The Insurance Institute of America and many large jewelry insurance companies recommend having your jewelry appraised on a regular basis. These appraisal values are used for a replacement value in case of theft, loss, fire, etc!
The general recommendation is to have your appraisals updated every 3 years for most jewelry and every 2 years for pieces of a greater value. Due to fluctuations in market value even a small change in value could make a huge difference in the amount you may receive when filing an insurance claim.
Unfortunately anyone can represent themselves as a personal property appraiser regardless of qualifications so there are a few things to look out for!
Scheduled Insurance - This is a separate policy based on each item and it's best protection. This will keep you covered for "all risks" including fire, theft, damage etc. This can be a separate Rider on your Homeowners insurance policy or we also recommend Jewelers Mutual Insurance.
Unscheduled Insurance - This is covered under your homeowners insurance and it is very limited. It usually is not an all risk coverage and you need to know what their per item limit is within your specific policy.
Keep your original appraisal in a safe or safety deposit box and provide a copy to your insurance agent.
Say your on a cruise and see a great deal on a piece of jewelry. . .you paid $6,800 for a ring and the appraisal is inflated to $10,500 because is not properly done. Your insurance will be based on the value on the appraisal. . . you will pay approx $60 extra per year. Should you have to file a claim against that piece it will be replaced at the current cost to replace it. Which will be closer to the $6,800 cost of the piece. Therefore you were paying that extra cost per year which will never be recovered. If the piece was appraised and insured at the actual value you would end up with the same ring in the end without the additional per year cost.
A professional appraiser will cost more than simply having a jeweler give a statement of value. Our typical appraisal starts around $100 but prices will vary based on the intricacy of the piece. A custom piece with many different sized stones will cost more than just a simple solitaire diamond ring.
The cost of an accurate appraisal will cost you far less in the long run should you need to make a claim. An appraisal performed by an unqualified appraiser can greatly increase the risk of having your claim denied.
Unfortunately, the truth is, that you usually can't sell your diamond for the face value on your appraisal. If you are selling a piece of jewelry you should be realistic in your expectations and not use the appraisal value.