What Does A Jewelry Appraiser Do?
Jewelry appraisers are professionals whose main task is to appraise pieces of jewelry to determine its true worth for insurance or tax purposes. Appraisers also perform appraisals to verify the quality of a particular piece of jewelry, find out its fair market value or do it for resale, liquidation, charitable donation and estate distribution purposes. Independent appraisers do not buy or sell jewelry but only perform appraisals to maintain a high degree of ethical standards.
The job of a jewelry appraiser is a meticulous process that involves scrutinizing and examining the jewelry, researching about the item being evaluated and finally making an appraisal report. Appraisers may work from their office where the clients bring the jewelry pieces to them or they may travel to the client’s home or business address to do the work. Clients may request to have jewelry appraisers go to where the items are rather than risk traveling expensive or rare pieces of jewelry to their office where it could be stolen or lost while in transit. Appraisers typically allow clients to watch while they do the appraisal. Some clients also just leave the jewelry with the appraiser and come back for it afterwards.
When clients bring their rings, necklaces, bracelets, precious gems and other items to be appraised, jewelry appraisers first begin by inspecting the item closely. They will clean the jewelry and if there are repairs that need to be made, they will point it out to the client. Using various tools, they will test the metal and if the piece has gemstones, they will also test those. They will check the content of the metal and determine how fine it is by evaluating its karat. For example, a 14 karat gold necklace is 58.3 percent gold while a 24 karat gold is composed of all gold. The stones will be checked thoroughly to ensure that they are genuine before their sizes are measured and weighed. The stones are also graded for color, clarity, cut and carat.
After the exhaustive inspection and evaluation stage, jewelry appraisers then photograph the jewelry and then start the research process. At this point the appraisers may give their client an initial overview of the item being appraised. Some appraisers may even allow their client to already bring their jewelry home with them. However, the client will have to wait anywhere from one to two weeks for the official appraisal document. One reason why it takes this long is because appraisers have to research values, look at current market price of the metal and prepare the report following the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP). When the appraisal report is done, jewelry appraisers then send them to their clients.
Jewelry appraisers may also be asked to testify as expert witnesses in a trial involving diamonds, fine jewelry and the like. Their independent opinion and expertise in appraising the value of jewelry will help the court arrive at a fair decision regarding the case at hand. In these cases, the services of jewelry appraisers may be engaged by either party to facilitate an out-of-court settlement.
For appraisers to give accurate and timely appraisals, they must keep themselves updated on the latest trends and developments regarding the world of jewelry, insurance and appraisals. Since many clients have their appraisals done because they want to insure their jewelry, it’s essential that appraisers are kept up-to-date on the laws and regulations governing the insurance industry as well. They can do this by attending conferences and seminars organized by various organizations. They can also study on their own and stay current by reading the latest about metals and jewelry in the news.
Jewelry appraisers must perform their work with care and integrity. They must see to it that each item they appraise is checked thoroughly and carefully so that their true valuation is given. They must also be honest in their dealings and be firm in saying no to clients who want to have an appraised value that is lower than the actual cost of the item to be reflected in the appraisal document just so that they can pay lower insurance premiums. Jewelry appraisers endeavor to check and double check their research and data so that they are certain that the appraisal they give at that point in time is reflective of the piece’s true value.