Do you need an appraisal for your fine jewelry? The answer is a definite maybe. There are several types of appraisals and reasons why they are appropriate.
A “verbal” appraisal is just that, nothing is written down. It is one opinion about the current value of an item. The accuracy of a “verbal” is just as good as the expertise of the individual giving it. So if you are just curious, this may be all you need.
An “insurance replacement document” is a written estimate of the current amount you would need to purchase an identical or near identical item. An appraisal like this requires expertise about the current market value of fine jewelry and the elements that go into it. An insurance document should be accompanied by a good photo of the item, materials used, weights, purity and measurements of both the metals and gemstones. It should make note of any gemstone certifications, brand identification and anything influencing the piece’s value. Be aware of how your insurance company will react to a loss of an appraised item. Will they replace the item using their selected suppliers or will they let you choose your own trusted jeweler? What if the center diamond is broken or chipped? How will they handle that? Should you decide to insure your jewelry, these are some of the questions you need to ask your insurance agent. Your local jeweler should provide you with a list of questions to ask.
An “estate appraisal” is often executed to help settle or distribute an estate. This is usually done as a collection and each piece is given a comparative fair market value.
If you think you need an appraisal, ask yourself “What would I do if the item was lost or stolen?” Would you replace it? Would you take a monetary settlement? Can you really replace your grandmother’s wedding ring? Should you pay for insurance if your item is locked in a safety deposit box?
These are all questions you should discuss with your insurance agent, your jeweler and yourself.
Have a sparkling week!
Send gem and jewelry questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.