Friday, July 12, 2013

ASK A JEWELLER --- appraisals?

And we are back with  Ask a Jeweller the newest feature on our blog in which our readers submit gemstone or jewellery related questions that are answered by our Master Goldsmith, Dino Giannetti.

I recently inherited an assortment of jewellery from my grandmother who passed away earlier this year. I am not sure what most of these pieces are, or their value - but I also do not want to spend a small fortune having them appraised if they are not worth it. When is it a good idea to have something appraised?

- Ruth P.

Let's first approach this question by outlining what an appraisal, at least what a good appraisal is. The most important aspect of an appraisal is not the final value noted at the bottom, but a detailed description of what the item is from the size and quality of the stones, to the type of metal, and the style of setting. Relying on a picture is not enough.

Now to the question of when should an item be appraised - if you have any doubts about the quality of an item you have purchased or commissioned, an independent appraisal can offer you piece of mind that what you purchased in fact what you have received. We have unfortunately heard some horror stories of items being purchased, many times online, that have been sold as one thing but turn out to be 'not quite as described' - from fracture filled diamonds to plated jewellery. 

If you have any questions about a piece of jewellery, it's best not to speculate, have the item analysed by an expert - a highly trained gemmologist and appraiser, never the jeweller or sales person who sold you the piece. We offer an appraisal service, but it is one that is done through one of the top gemmological labs in the country - a third party vs. an in-house service. If we were to do our own appraisals, we would essentially be grading ourselves on the work we do. A appraisal by its very nature requires objectivity.  

If you want to have an item insured, an appraisal will be required by your insurance company. In the event that an item is lost or stolen, a quality appraisal is the best way to ensure your item is replaced for its full value. Without a full and detailed description, you may find yourself at a loss when it comes to replacing the item. We recommend having any item that costs over $1,500 insured.

If you are looking to sell an item of jewellery, it might be a good idea to have that item appraised. That is not to say that you will be able to sell an item for its appraised value - in many cases you may find yourself luck to be able to sell that item for half of its appraised value. But an appraisal is a useful selling tool for the reasons outlined above.

So, to answer your question Ruth, we would recommend having any items that you think should be insured, appraised. A qualified jeweller will be able to give you their opinion as to which items, if any, should be insured.

Have a question? Email them to us at service(at) with the subject line Ask a Jeweller. We will answer your questions here, every Thursday (or Friday!).

No comments: