Jewelry Appraisals

Caldwell Gemological Laboratory was established in 1987. We comply with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practices as set forth by the Appraisal Foundation and take pride in providing accurate jewelry appraisals.

jewelry appraisals

Appraisal Questions (FAQS)

Why do I need an appraisal?
There are three common types of appraisals; Retail Replacement Value, Fair Market Value and Liquidation Value.

The most common reason for an appraisal is for insurance scheduling. Insurance companies require a Retail Replacement Valuation Appraisal. Most insurance companies offer some coverage (usually $1,000.00 to $1,500.00) for jewelry in case of theft in a standard homeowner’s policy. For better coverage, most insurance companies will want a Retail Replacement Valuation Appraisal of your items. This appraisal should be performed by an accredited gemologist/appraiser.

The second most common appraisal is Far Market Valuation. Fair Market Valuations are provided in the case of an estate settlement and in instances of buying and selling on the secondary markets.
The third type is a Liquidation Valuation. This is usually done in times of distress. A person may need to liquidate items to obtain cash quickly.

Which kind of appraisal do I need?
Retail Replacement Valuation is used for insurance scheduling and is the most common appraisal needed. The appraisal is used to determine the amount of coverage you may need on your jewelry. The purpose of the appraisal is twofold; first the value given to the items is used to set your premiums, and the description is used to replace your item if necessary. An accurate appraisal will provide specific details such as metal content, weight of the item, color, clarity, carat weight of diamonds and gemstones in the item. It should also include a photograph of the item. This will help protect your interest in the item and help the insurance company replace your items as similarly as possible.

Fair Market Valuation can be used for a variety of purposes, including equitable distribution in an estate, charitable contributions, divorce settlement, as well as selling on the secondary market. The best way to determine which appraisal is right for you is to tell the appraiser the purpose of the appraisal. This will determine the type of appraisal you need as well as the correct markets.

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What is an independent appraiser?
An independent appraiser acts as an impartial party. The appraiser cannot act as a buyer or a seller of the item, and can have no relationship with the items being appraised (or the parties involved). This assures you the appraisal provided will be fair and impartial; that the items are not being artificially inflated or devalued. It is not the duty of the appraiser to determine whether you are getting a “fabulous deal” or getting “ripped-off”. It is the appraiser’s job to report the average “sale” price in the appropriate market.

What do my qualifications mean to you?
There are a lot of appraisers out there, that doesn’t mean they are all equal. Some appraisal designations require more time and knowledge.

One of the most respected accreditations an appraiser can earn is the Master Gemologist Appraiser ®. The American Society of Appraisers requires that a Master Gemologist Appraiser ® be a graduate gemologist (GIA), have five years experience of full-time appraisal experience and complete classes and extensive exams that cover all the duties that appraisers are expected to perform. To remain a Master Gemologist Appraiser, one must complete 100 hours of continuing education between accreditation and retest every 5 years. This insures the appraiser is providing appraisals at the highest standards of the ASA.

Do I need to have my appraisals updated and how often?
The Insurance Institute of America recommends that appraisals should be updated every 2 years. Caldwell Gemological Laboratory recommends every 3 to 4 years. However, if you have jewelry with large gemstones (diamonds) or designer/branded jewelry, you may want to have the appraisal updated more frequently.

What is the difference between a laboratory report and an appraisal?
A laboratory report is used entirely for identification and grading of a particular gemstone or diamond. This type of report is for grading and identifying purposes only. An appraisal evaluates the gemstone or diamond and determines the value in the appropriate market. The two are often used together as the appraisal uses the report to translate the quality into a value.

What is the cost of an appraisal?
Can you do it while I wait? We at Caldwell Gemological Laboratory charge by the hour. We have you bring in your items and we will go through them and determine how much time is needed to perform the appraisal. We will also clean and check for any wear or weakness that may need repair. We will do an appraisal while you wait. However, you will need to make an appointment in advance.