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3 Surprising Things You Didn’t Know About Jewelry Appraisals
How much is Mom’s heirloom brooch worth? Is it possible to fairly divide Grandma’s jewelry inheritance among her grandchildren? I’m ready to sell a few special pieces of jewelry - what’s a fair asking price in the Nashville, Brentwood TN area? How do I know that my current jewelry insurance policy is sufficient?
If you’ve ever found yourself asking these or similar questions then you’ve had to consider the need for jewelry appraisal. Having your valuable pieces appraised at the time of purchase may seem adequate, but there’s actually a lot more to the story. Read on for three surprising facts you may not know about jewelry appraisals.
1. Insurance isn’t the only reason to have your jewelry appraised.
An insurance replacement appraisal is certainly the most common - and possibly most important - reason for having your jewelry appraised. This provides you protection for reimbursement in case of loss, theft, or damage. Having a document that describes your piece in exact detail allows for the proper replacement should the need arise.
But there are several other reasons to have your jewelry appraised. Some of them include:
Estate planning - whether for an estate tax determination or division of property in a divorce, knowing the fair market value is necessary.
- Plans to sell, gift, or bequeath an item.
Plans to place an item into a trust.
Plans to remount a stone or significantly modify a piece.
All of these circumstances should include a thorough appraisal of your jewelry.
2. You should be getting your jewelry appraised a lot more often than you think.
A jewelry appraisal is not a one-and-done service. In fact, most experts recommend that you have your jewelry appraisal updated every two to three years. Why so often? Jewelry markets can be volatile and the value of gems and metals often fluctuate from year to year. In 2004, the price of gold per ounce was around $435. Ten years later in 2014, an ounce of gold cost almost $1200. Having your jewelry reappraised at regular intervals allows you to determine its current value - a fairly changeable figure - particularly if there has been a prolonged period of inflation or deflation.
In addition, damage over time can affect the value of your jewelry. If you are planning to pass your most precious pieces on and want to ensure that they are divided equitably, you’ll want to know whether or not their value has changed.
3. Not all jewelry appraisers should be considered equal.
"Appraisal" is a term that gets thrown around and is easily misunderstood, and there are different types of appraisals and values. For example, an estate jewelry appraisal value will be different from an insurance appraisal value. The former is determined by Fair Market Value, an assessment based on what a buyer and seller would agree to without a forced sale, and is usually a lower value than the replacement value appraisal for insurance purposes.
An appraisal can certainly be done by anyone who possesses the proper qualifications, but your best bet when seeking an accurate, reputable report is to employ the services of a certified gemologist. At Brentwood Jewelry, our qualified staff can provide expert retail appraisals, fair market value appraisals, and replacement value appraisals.
A thorough jewelry appraisal should include:
- laboratory work to inspect and gather facts about the piece
- market research to compare like pieces
- an in-depth report on official business letterhead that consists of
- a thorough description of the piece, including the type of metal, stone, and side stone information, weights, grades, measurements, and distinguishing characteristics
- manufacturing information such as who put the piece together and the quality of workmanship
- the estimated value of the piece based on the current marketplace
- a photograph