The Value Of An Appraisal

I was recently asked a very simple question by two clients of mine that has lead to this seemingly over response.

The Question: Can you recommend a jewelry appraiser?

Like asking a doctor what is this cough and do you have a recommendation? The answer requires an examination for why the question is being asked.

My response plus a little extra for you:
I don’t have anyone specific to recommend. What is the purpose of the appraisal? If it to obtain insurance for the piece in the event it is lost or stolen. The value range can vary widely and many people with in the industry may be capable of writing the appraisal, as long as it meets the universal standards of appraisal practice. Because of this I still do a fair amount of appraisals on contemporary jewelry with in an area I feel I am an expert on. However if the appraisal is being use to help in a buying, selling, or an estate settlement the persons most appropriate for the job may vary widely. Anyway in these situations I will point you to an organization. The NAJA (national association of jewelry appraiser) has a tough standard for jewelry appraising that only highly experience and gemologically trained persons with in this industry can attain their Certified Master Appraiser or any one of their other acclaimed titles. Although certification for appraising jewelry is optional those who get an industry recognized certification are deem to be more trustworthy in their opinion. Lastly, jewelers tend to have a bias in the jewelry they examine if they did not sell it or it did not come from a recognized manufacturer or designer.

Maybe this link can help:

The final word on appraising: Misunderstanding what appraising is and what it’s worth has become a giant problem for this country. Consider what seems to be the simplest form of appraising for my dollar. The home appraisal seems to be very straight forward yet it’s impact on the very crisis we find ourselves in has been sublime. It is because of the misunderstanding of what those values represented to the investment world. It lead to an undervaluing of risk investors including extremely large investment firms were making on so called secured investments (better know as bundle triple A mortgaged back securities). The avalanche that followed is still being felt today and I suspect for several years to come. My point is when you let other people make your decisions for you or give you a false sense of value you will pay a price for it (no matter how well the appraiser does his job). On the other hand if the goal is simply to arbitrate a lost ultimately someone has to make that value call and it should be someone deemed to be an expert in that field. In the case of mortgages ascertaining weather or not a borrower can pay back the money borrowed and weather they themselves are vested in this purchase with a large enough down payment would away’s make the most sense.

As far as an expensive piece of jewelry shopping around with trusted jewelers or companies is a start. Examining the pieces you are comparing and looking for things you like or find troubling to help guide you is important too. Asking for a detailed description on a receipt including weights, qualities of gemstones, a listing of treatments, and other relative information you used to help make that buying decision also important. Then if you want to show this item and the receipt to an independent expert, for him to compare what you have been told and what he may see in his more thorough examination, you are putting the onus in the right spot the selling jeweler not the appraiser. If it is a piece you have inherited or were given as a gift let the appraiser know the exact reason for the appraisal and understand the limitation of his examination on this finished piece of jewelry and it’s appropriate market valuation.Your concern would be will this valuation hold up in a court of law if the insurance company did not want to pay the value and could not replace the article or will the government except this number to finalize any tax burden by the estate. If the appraiser fails you that way he is liable. He is not responsible for weather or not you got a great deal. A great deal is in the years of pleasure a fine piece of jewelry gives you and the lasting pleasure it may give an heir.

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One Response to The Value Of An Appraisal

  1. bébé says:

    Your answer is very descriptive. It has enlightened all questions that I had on the appraisal. Thanks

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