Jewelry Appraisals: What You Need to Know

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Like so many people, you may be using this early part of 2015 to get your life and finances in order. Maybe you’re busy checking new year’s resolutions off the list, or perhaps it’s just too cold outside to do anything else. Whatever the reason, now is a good time to update your insurance records, and that may require a professional jewelry appraisal. Before you do, however, there are a few things you should know about jewelry appraisals.

Appraisal Basics

According to the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers, “an appraisal is an opinion of value for a particular market on a particular date. It is usually in document format, and describes all qualitative and quantitative attributes necessary to arrive at the value conclusion.” Simply put, it’s a piece of paper that verifies the facts about your piece of jewelry.

Appraisals serve various purposes. First, if your jewelry is lost or stolen and you want to recreate the piece, it provides a “roadmap” for the jeweler. But an appraisal is also necessary if you want to insure the jewelry as it helps to know that the piece is valued for the correct amount. Remember that pricing and value change over time, so regular appraisals are a good idea.

Any written jewelry appraisal should include a description of the piece, a photo and the approximate replacement value, or how much it would cost to recreate it. Most appraisers will also include their credentials.

Here’s what you need to know to start the appraisal process:

  • Work with a reputable appraiser, preferably a graduate gemologist (GG). These individuals are formally educated in gemology, including specialized appraisal training, and they have earned a diploma from the Gemological Institute of America. This gives you peace of mind that the person you’re working with has the necessary professional and ethical standards.
  • Ask about fees before you hand over your jewelry. Most jewelers/appraisers will charge a flat fee. Never work with an appraiser who bases their fee on a percentage of the appraisal or market value of the piece.
  • Bring in the item to be examined (a photo won’t do), along with the sales receipt, if you have it, and any other papers or documentation.
  • Share any stories you might know about the origin of the piece, including where it was purchased or, if it’s an heirloom, how it got into your hands.
  • Request a receipt that describes the piece before leaving it with the jeweler/appraiser.
  • Keep the written appraisal in a safe place separate from the actual piece of jewelry. If someone will inherit the piece, include your personal description and the story about where it originated.

Jeff Johnson & Co. is a full-service jeweler located in Upper Arlington, Ohio. We specialize in custom engagement rings, keepsakes for significant moments, and giving new life to family heirlooms. Our gemologists are trained by the Gemological Institute of America, and they work closely with each customer to ensure that we meet your vision and beyond. Stop by our showroom at 5025 Arlington Centre Blvd. (off Henderson Road), call 614-459-8890, or You can also follow us on Facebook at Jeff Johnson & Co.