• Appraisals for Insurance, Estate, Liquidation, Investments, Barter, and Collateral




Is Any Old Appraisal Good Enough?

A proper appraisal is a legal document that will support the valuation conclusion of your property and be valid when a claim is made or you otherwise need to know a true , accurate value of your jewel. Most "appraisals" done these days - one or two pagers - grossly inflate values and under-describe important details.
This also inflates your ego at the cost of premiums for you, and often denials of claims!

A good appraisal must contain, at a minimum:

Gemologically Valid Descriptions, Weights, and Measures

An accurate description is the most important part of an appraisal.

Gemologist appraisers use specific language that differs from common terms. For example, the trade term "pigeons-blood" ruby, or red color has a range of colors (thus prices), so precision is key.

Using GIA's gemological measurements, this is an "appraisal-precise" standard, for example, "a natural corundum. 

The cut grade is a major determinant of stone brilliance and "aliveness." Without a careful cut grade . . . best of luck.

Validity - It Should Be Issued by a Graduate Gemologist + Qualified Appraiser

A proper appraisal should be done by a dual-trained gem and jewelry professional:

1) a gemologist from the GIA or the UK's Gemm-A +

2) S/he MUST have additional training in valuation science from a recognized organization like MasterValuer International or NAJA. (Your insurance carrier will recognize both.) 

NOTE: Gemologists are not taught appraising, nor are  appraisers are taught gemology.

A solid appraisal requires a professional with both kinds of training.

Accurate, Market-based Valuations

Appraising utilizes valuation science, not just a jewelers receipt of price paid, or the jewelry store's price of an item.

Plus, there are different kinds of appraisals, depending on which market is applicable - one type for estate jewels; another kind for quick or liquidation sales; and yet another for determining the value of a jewel used as collateral or for backing an investment. 

DO NOT be fooled by INFLATED APPRAISAL VALUES. These are for your ego only. This is extremely common, and results in higher premiums, disputed claims or legal problems with, for example, collateral or investment uses! Please see my blog post on inflated appraisals.

Multiple Photographs

Too many appraisals have only one hurried photo barely representative of the item.

Insurers need to see multiple photo perspectives to replace your item as closely as possible,.

I use a minimum of 2, and up to 6, "depending."

Then, Is the Jewel Natural, Lab-created, Synthetic, Treated, or Enhanced?

It's estimated by the gem trade that 95% of colored gems, for instance, are "treated" or enhanced.

This is perfectly acceptable, as long as it's disclosed on purchase and appraisal documents! 

But the consequences for assessing a gem as untreated when it in fact is - or treated when it's not - are significant!

For example, an untreated Kashmir sapphire might sell for $100,000, but a treated sapphire of identical size and color, for $15,000; and a lab-created Kashmir blue sapphire, $1200; and an imitation blue sapphire for $4.

The differences are huge, and you want to know what you possess.


Major diamonds and colored stones - and especially center diamonds - should be "plotted." We use three (3) colors to show type and position of internal and external clarity characteristics (e.g., inclusions like feathers, crystal, clouds, pinpoints; indented naturals; chips, bruises, and scratches, etc.)

Loose stones are plotted through the top (crown facets) and bottom (pavilion facets); set stones are only crown plotted.

Without plots, replacement stones will not be comparable; they'll likely be at the lowest end of the clarity grade.

Guess who this benefits? (Hint: not you.)

Your Next Step


Schedule a FREE Telephone  Consultation

Let's discuss your appraisal needs, such as the kind of appraisal you need.

Then we'll talk about your jewel and get a sense of what you might expect.

(I'll confess, I love these phone conversations because they're about my passion - deeply studying gems and jewelry !)




After the FREE Consult . . .

If we decide to go ahead with an appraisal, we'll set up a time to meet in person and do an Intake.**

Here I'll go over everything, and it'll be a relaxed, fun, conversation.  

When we're done, I'll begin the appraisal, either while you wait or you can overnight your jewel (or we'll schedule another time.). Please read this if you plan on waiting (especially Q 2).  

Turnaround time is 2-3 days for your get your professionally bound report, which usually is 9 - 12 pages.


** This doctor makes house calls - your home, office, or Asheville cafe (my favorite) if you want to leave your item with me overnight; otherwise, my lab -- whichever works best for you.



Second Meeting - Appraisal Review and Questions

When the appraisal document is ready, we'll get together once more so I can review the findings and answer any questions you may have.

I can also mail the report to you if you prefer.


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