Questions Answered About Appraising Jewellery

If you have been a follower of my blog, you will have read about some gems, some personal information and thoughts and a bit about appraising.

This past month I have had a lot of questions about why or if a client needs to get a professional appraiser to look at the jewellery and give them documentation.

Why can’t I just photograph it myself–lay it all out and photograph it?  If you ask any good appraiser, they will tell you that photographing jewellery is easier said than done.  I haven’t met many who are totally satisfied with the way a photo shows jewellery.

Having said that, what other way is there to identify a piece of jewellery you may have, if it doesn’t show well in a photograph? Description of course, but can you describe it in such a way that someone in the industry could identify it if seen, that would help the police locate it if stolen, could help a jeweller replace that lost diamond, could identify it if found?

I hear from a lot of people that to them they could never replace it as the sentimental value is worth more to them than the dollar value and I totally understand that point of view. However, you loose Grandma’s ring, the one you cherish so, the one that means so much in sentimental value. What do you do now? Do you have proof you ever had it? Do you have some way to describe it to the police? Do you know for sure what the stones in the ring were? the colour, the clarity, the cut,  the carat wight?  Do you have a really clear photo of the ring so police will know exactly what they are looking for?

Are you getting an idea of why you may want to have Grandma’s ring appraised?

A good document from a reputable, independent appraiser will have the following details to help you: the construction of the piece including the types of metal used, is it good or bad (I know Grandma’s is always the best but not necessarily in jewellery) construction, how many gems are in the piece, what are they (natural or synthetic), treated or not,  colour–even variations of the colour (rarely on a good appraisal will you see “green” -it will be blue green or greenish yellow), the carat weight or size of the stones within a mathematical calculated range as we do not take stones out of the setting to determine size, and the cut–is it well cut or maybe not so well cut, what type of cut, is it a standard round brilliant or was it modified? All of these descriptions are widely used in the jewellery industry and therefore are helpful in identifying a piece of jewellery.

Aside from these descriptive items a good appraiser should give you the price of the metal (gold or platinum or silver) on the day appraisal was done,  A date for the day the appraisal was done, along with an expiry date, their name and credentials, signature and possibly a seal over their signature.

My suggestion is look for someone who talks to you about your jewellery and explains the process , asks questions about your reason for the appraisal and explains it when done.  The description along with a photo will give you a resource to fall back on if you should ever need it.

My last thoughts on this particular question of appraising is when you find an appraiser, don’t be scared to ask what credentials they have, how long they have been appraising or at least have  been in the industry and please expect to pay a reasonable fee for the expert appraisal  and service.

Look to organizations such as in Canada the Canadian Jewellers Association for an appraiser who is accredited or Internationally the Association of Independent Jewellery Valuers. Both of these organizations have a minimum requirement for the appraiser  to maintain to be a part of their organization .

Of course if you are in the area around Guelph, Ontario l would be happy to be of service as your jewellery appraiser. May the New Year be filled with all the best.


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