Things to Know About Jewelry Appraisals

Whether you need extra money on hand or inherited a collection that just isn’t your taste, selling your jewelry is a good way to bring in some additional cash. But before you make the move to sell your jewelry, you’ll need to get a good sense of what your collection is worth. That’s where jewelry appraisals come in.

An appraisal offers you an opportunity to have a professional evaluate your jewelry and tell you how much it’s worth. If you’ve never had a jewelry appraisal before, here are a few things you should know before starting the process:

  • Make certain to find the right professional. To ensure that you receive an accurate appraisal, you’ll need to find someone who’s truly qualified. Before you agree to work with an appraiser, check on his or her credentials. Make certain that your appraiser is certified by a well-known entity, such as the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers or the American Society of Appraisers.
  • Be sure to understand your appraiser’s fees. Jewelry appraisals can cost a fair amount of money, and appraisers employ varying fee structures. Some professionals charge a flat rate, while others charge an hourly rate. Either way, the more pieces you have in your collection, the more you can expect to pay.
  • The reason for your jewelry appraisal makes a difference. Don’t be surprised if your jewelry appraiser asks you why you want your collection evaluated, as it could impact the way he or she goes about the process and writes up a report. If you’re asking for an appraisal for insurance purposes, for example, your appraiser will need to figure out the replacement value for each piece in your collection, which may be a different calculation than its resale value on the open market. Either way, you should expect to receive a detailed, written report once your appraisal is complete. Ideally, it should include a description and picture of each item as well as its value.
  • You may need to repeat the process. Depending on the reason behind your jewelry appraisal, you may need to get it updated every few years. The reason has to do with the fact that the value of stones and precious metals can change over time. If you’re looking to have a particular piece of jewelry covered by an insurance policy and you present a three-year-old appraisal, your insurance company might consider it invalid.
  • You may learn things you never knew about your jewelry. For some people, jewelry appraisals are an eye-opening experience. As you go about the process, be open-minded. You may learn some surprising things about the pieces you own, for better or worse.
  • You can always get more than one. If you’re unhappy with the results of your jewelry appraisal, you do have the option to take your collection to another professional to have it evaluated. The jewelry appraisal field is subjective to an extent, and if you’re willing to spend the money and put in the time, a second appraisal could end up being worth your while.