What to Do (and Ask) Before You Get Your Jewelry Appraised

Do you really need to pay for an appraisal? If your insurance company tells you to obtain a new appraisal, can you get what you need from where you bought the item? It is worth asking the original seller. If your lawyer advises you to get an appraisal, try to find out more about how the document will be used. If your situation doesn't involve a legal proceeding, consultation or an oral appraisal may be sufficient (and less expensive),

If possible, carefully clean your jewelry. If you can do this safely before you come, it will make better use of our time. Here is a link to a good method. You can learn more from GIA at Tips on Caring for Jewelry and their Gem Encyclopedia. Generally, the most durable colored gemstones are ruby and sapphire, but even they can be damaged by the wrong cleansers. For others, such as emeralds and pearls, many things can damage them. If you're in any doubt, let me do it.

Investigate your jewelry’s condition. If you are insuring your jewelry and have a jeweler you already work with, this is the time to correct any defects, so that its condition can be reported as good (especially important for insurance appraisals). If you do not have a jeweler, I work with jewelers (both local and elsewhere) who can make any necessary repairs.

Make an inventory. If you have many items, it will help to organize your thoughts (and may conserve our time together) by making a list of them. The items can be organized as follows: rings, bracelets; watches; earrings; pendants; neck chains and necklaces; brooches and pins; and all others such as tie-tacks, cuff-links and other accessories. You can further divide each category into items with gemstones and those without.

Gather documentation. Please bring sales receipts and any descriptions and/or value statements issued by the seller; reports from gemological laboratories; and old appraisals or insurance schedules. These provide information that is important to consider, especially exact gemstone weights as stated by sellers. Their descriptions may or may not be accurate, but they are always a starting point. We will discuss any discrepancies between them and my conclusions.

Find out how your insurance works. It is very important to find out how your policy works. What "perils" does your basic homeowners' policy cover? How much of the value of your jewelry does it allow you to insure (per item and cumulatively per year) without scheduling them (that is, listing them on a separate policy)? What is the deductible for that basic coverage? (Scheduling usually doesn't require a deductible.)

Ask yourself what you will do, if anything, with the finished appraisal document. It is important to understand what you are trying to accomplish. "I just want to know what it's worth" is not a clear enough reason to write an appraisal that will satisfy your need. Very often, your real need can be clarified, and sometimes even satisfied, in consultation or with oral appraisal.

Please call at 843-7856 or contact me before you come. I will answer any questions you have about the process, including a range of cost and length of time necessary to perform the appraisal, and set a time for us to meet. .