A jewelry appraiser crutinizes jewelry to determine its true worth. With the training you get in valuation science as well as your actual marketplace experience, you are able to give the appraised value of a particular jewelry item and write clear appraisal documents following the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).
As a jewelry appraiser, you are a highly-skilled professional who uses special tools to examine the value of items like gold and diamond rings, necklaces, pendants, bracelets and other jewelry pieces. These tools include but are not limited to gemological microscopes, scales, slide gauges, metal tester, diamond master stones and millimeter measuring devices. Aside from grading the metal, you will also be checking if the stones set on the jewelry have not been damaged before you can make a professional appraisal.
Research is part of the work of a jewelry appraiser. After examining a piece of jewelry closely, you will then turn to your references which include price lists, auction catalogs and even the Internet for the price of metal for the day before you can give a comprehensive and accurate appraisal of the item. Once you have all these data in your hands, you can then write your professional appraisal report and send it to the client who requested it. The entire process can take anywhere from one to two weeks.
You should have the necessary training in valuation science, appraisal methodology and appraisal report writing to be able to enter the profession. Thus, even if you have been trained as a gemologist, this does not qualify you to become a jewelry appraiser. You still need to get trained by a recognized institution like the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers of jewelry appraising-specific topics.
To succeed as a jewelry appraiser, you need to have the ability to pay very close attention to the finest details. You also need to very patient in looking not only at the jewelry but in doing the research that would enable you to give an accurate appraised value of the item in question. You also need to have excellent writing skills since you will be giving the descriptions of the item in detailed reports. Finally, honesty is a very important aspect of this profession since people usually ask for a jewelry appraisal for insurance or tax purposes.
One reason to become a jewelry appraiser is the keen interest and passion one has in jewelry and precious stones. The chance to examine and appraise rare and antique pieces every day is one motivation to go into this profession. The chance to do research on a particular piece, find out where it came from and determine its actual value is a very intriguing and interesting process. For those who are really into jewelry, this is a dream undertaking. Moreover, the job can be quite fulfilling especially since jewelry appraisers are trained to give an accurate appraisal of the item for insurance and other purposes. Another reason to become a jewelry appraiser is that the profession pays decently.
Jewelry Appraiser Work Environment
Jewelry appraisers work in jewelry stores and insurance firms. Many of them work as independent appraisers and consultants. Those who receive a monthly salary work regular business hours but independent business owners may choose to appraise jewelry for insurance firms, individual clients and jewelers at pre-agreed schedules, sometimes outside of regular business hours. They may also have to go to a client’s house or the business establishment to do the appraisal especially if there are many pieces to appraise and transporting them would make the items vulnerable to robbery or loss.
Jewelry Appraiser Salary
The Occupational Employment and Wages report of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not gather salary data specifically for jewelry appraisers. However, the agency does have salary information for jewelers and precious stone and metal workers, the category where jewelry appraisers belong to. The mean annual wage for this occupational group is $40,010.
Jewelry Appraiser Career Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not have the job outlook specifically for jewelry appraisers. However, it does project that for the ten-year period covering 2012 to 2022, the employment rate of jewelers and precious stone and metal workers is set to decline 10 percent. The reason for the drop is that majority of the manufacturing of jewelry is now done outside the United States. However, there will still be opportunities for skilled jewelers since increasing incomes, double-income households and women working are expected to grow the number of people who will be purchasing jewelry. Logic dictates that with more people buying jewelry, appraisers can expect to have their hands full evaluating the worth of these pieces for insurance and other purposes.
Jewelry Appraiser Degree
Many jewelers gain a foot hold to their profession through extensive on-the-job training. However, employers are now increasingly hiring those who graduate from a jewelry program offered in trade schools because they don’t have to spend as much time training them. At the Gemological Institute of America, students are taught how to design, grade and polish gems and precious stones as well as care for their tools and equipment, among others.
However, this training won’t be enough for a jewelry appraiser. In order for them to know the methodology used in making appraisals, ethics and report writing following the set standards established by the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice, aspiring jewelry appraisers must get additional training from appraisal organizations like the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers . The National Association of Jewelry Appraisers, for example, offers the Appraisal Studies Correspondence Course—a home study program that students can complete whenever they want. They also have semiannual educational conferences for appraisers that cover such topics as new appraisal tools and methods and understanding one’s liability as an appraiser and limiting it, among others.