Appraisals

D McLean

Douglas McLean
GG, CGA

Do you have the information you would need to submit an insurance claim on lost or stolen jewelry?
Take a moment, get pencil and paper, can you list the jewelry you currently own? Chances are you like most of us have forgotten about an item or two. When it comes down to writing a verbal description of your jewelry the task could becomes much more difficult. For example, do you own an engagement ring and wedding band? What metal are the rings made of? Are they of cast, fabricated or of hand wrought construction? How many gemstones are in each? What do the gemstones weigh individually. What quality are the gemstones (color, clarity)? If you can’t answer these questions I suggest you get speak with your insurance agent to determine if there is a need to have the item appraised.
Generally, I recommend if a piece of jewelry has a value in excess of $500 you should have at a minimum a detailed description of the piece. If there are gemstones in the item you will need to list the number, size, weight, color and quality of the gemstones. You may be able to find this information on a sales slip. If you have this information and the documentation is less than a couple of years old you are in pretty good shape. If you lack proper documentation or the documentation is several years old I recommend you speak with your insurance agent and ask them what documentation you will need to present to them in the event of a loss.
You’ll likely want to get your more valuable items appraised by a jewelry appraiser. Performing a jewelry appraisal takes special skills. An appraiser should have formal training as well as practical experience in evaluating and pricing similar items.
Gemological knowledge is the first requirement. Each gem has it own physical properties or clues that a trained gemologist uses to determine the species of gemstone. Once gemological knowledge is applied to identification, a second step is performed. The appraiser applies appraisal methodologies to establish value in a specific market. For example, if the function of the appraisal is obtaining insurance, the appraiser must establish how much it would cost to the replace the item in a similar market from which the item was originally purchased.
If of the other hand, the function of the appraisal is to establish tax liability for an estate, the appraiser must establish the Fair Market Value in the most common and appropriate jewelry markets.
I recommend you look for an appraisers who is associated with one of these professional organizations: American Gem Society, The National Association of Jewelry Appraisers, The International Society of Jewelry Appraiser or The American Society of Appraisers. (List of Other Sources)
As a Certified Gemologist Appraiser I am qualified to assist you in these matters. If you should have any question please call me at 229-7333.