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What is a Jewelry Appraisal?

Pair of gold rings.
Earrings.
A copper bracelet.
A gift box containing jewelry.
A jewelry appraiser looking at a diamond.
A jeweler may perform appraisals for clients for a fee.
A bracelet.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 24 October 2014
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Jewelry appraisal is a process in which a professional examines a piece of jewelry and arrives at an estimate of its worth. Appraised prices usually consider the materials used, the style of the jewelry, the market for that type of jewelry, and the provenance of the jewelry. There are a number of reasons to seek jewelry appraisal services, ranging from the need to insure a piece of jewelry to the desire to price out jewelry before offering it for sale.

There are several ways in which people can request a jewelry appraisal. Some jewelry stores offer appraisal services, although the danger of having jewelry appraised by a jewelry store is that the store's appraiser may quote a low value to people who are trying to sell their jewelry. Antique stores and auction houses also sometimes appraise for customers, and it is also possible to use an independent appraiser. Using an independent jewelry appraiser is often best, because he or she gets paid just to price the jewelry, not to try and make a commission on a sale.

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Most appraisers prefer to know as little as possible about the jewelry they examine, so that they can form their own conclusions. Some appraisers may ask for permission to keep the jewelry for several days to examine it, while others can offer an on the spot appraisal. During the appraisal process, the jewelry will be examined to determine which metals, gems, and construction techniques were used. The appraiser will also assess the quality of the piece, looking for damage, inclusions in the gems, and other things which can reduce the overall price. Finally, he or she will provide an estimated price.

While the intrinsic value of the stones and metals used in the jewelry are a definite factor, other things go into the price of a piece of jewelry. For example, if the stones are cut in an old-fashioned style, this can reduce the value. If the jewelry was produced by a noted artist, this can raise the price. Many appraisers use a jewelry appraisal form with a checklist for each area of the appraisal, so that people can see a breakdown of the procedure and understand why the jewelry is valued the way it is. At the end of the appraisal, a certificate is filled out to indicate that the jewelry has been appraised, and to provide the appraiser's estimate of the worth of the piece.

For people who have no jewelry experience, securing the services of a jewelry appraiser is very important to ensure that their jewelry is valued properly. It is a good idea to seek a recommendation for jewelry appraisal, rather than trusting a complete stranger. Many insurance companies have lists of partner appraisers who work with them, and it is also possible to get recommendations from reputable sellers of jewelry and jewelers. Many nations also host professional organizations of jewelry appraisers, which provide lists of their members to the public.

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