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FAQs About Jewelry Appraisals

Updated: Jul 3, 2023

Q: May I stay and watch my items being appraised?

A: Yes. You are welcome to watch the entire process. Your jewelry will never leave your sight as it is cleaned, examined, valued, and the report is typed.

Q: I need an update on an existing appraisal. Do you do that?

A: Yes. However, if we did not perform the original appraisal, we will do our own thorough examination and evaluation from start to finish. If the item was previously appraised by DJF Appraisal Services, it will be carefully examined for condition and any alterations which may have taken place, photographed, and valued as of the current market conditions.

Q: What is the “purpose” of the Appraisal?

A: This is probably this first question we will ask you. We understand that you may “just want to know what it’s worth,” but value doesn’t exist in a vacuum; it relates to what you are planning to do with the item. Are you planning to insure it? Sell it? Donate it to a museum? Pass it down to your children? Those are four different values.

Q: What is the difference between Replacement (Insurance) Value and Fair Market Value?

A: Replacement Value is primarily an insurance valuation concept meaning the amount one would have to pay to replace an item with another having similar qualities, within a reasonable amount of time in the relevant marketplace. Fair Market Value (FMV) is defined as “the price at which property would change hands between a willing buyer and a willing seller, neither being under any compulsion to buy or to sell and both having reasonable knowledge of relevant facts.” FMV could be the price you receive for selling a used car to your neighbor, or for selling an engagement ring to an estate dealer.

Q: Should I bring my diamond (or gemstone) laboratory report with me when having jewelry appraised?

A: Yes. We will make a copy and return the original to you immediately. We will verify our own observations of the diamond’s characteristics and measurements against the report. If you would prefer that we examine the diamond without looking at the report first, we are happy to do so. Please bear in mind, however, that most labs examine gemstones loose – outside of the mounting – in highly controlled environments. This enables lab graders to see color and clarity characteristics that can easily be missed by your appraiser because of the placement of a prong or the yellow tint of a bezel. If for any reason the appraiser disagrees with a provided lab report, the reasons and explanation will be discussed in depth at the appointment.

Q: Should I bring my prior appraisal or original receipts with me when having jewelry appraised?

A: All prior paperwork is an important part of the value history of your jewelry. However, we will do a complete, independent analysis including all measurements, weights, descriptions, etc., based upon current methodology and using state-of-the-art equipment, and draw our own value conclusions based on research in the appropriate market, as of the date of the examination. In certain instances, a weight stated as “actual” from a prior appraisal or receipt may be considered. In addition, providing original paperwork ensures that the information will be maintained in your file, along with your most recent appraisal, in perpetuity.

Q: If I am getting an appraisal update, do I need to bring my jewelry in?

A: Yes. All jewelry must be physically inspected each time the value is updated, and new photographs taken. It is important to establish that you still own the items as well as their current condition.

Q: How long does an appraisal take?

A: It varies, but you can plan on a typical appointment for one item lasting about one hour. In most cases, that will include typing and printing of the report. The amount of time required for multiple-item assignments depends entirely upon the number and complexity of the items involved.

Q: How much do you charge?

A: The fee is an hourly rate. As stated above, the length of time required to complete the appraisal depends entirely upon the number and complexity of the items involved. A single large gemstone ring might take ninety minutes and ten simple gold chains might take fifteen minutes. If you send clear photographs of the items, with a ruler or coin for size reference, we will gladly provide an estimate of the time involved and a final “not to exceed” charge.

Q: What payment methods do you accept?

A: Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, personal checks, and cash (exact change only).

Q: How often should I have my appraisal updated?

A: About every 3-5 years. Keep in mind that price fluctuations in gold and gemstones do impact retail prices of jewelry. Check with your insurer, as they may have an update requirement for items listed on a rider.

Q: When insuring jewelry, isn’t it better to state a high value on the appraisal?

A: No. Insurance Premiums are typically based on retail replacement value. Most insurers handle a loss by replacing the jewelry itself, not with a check for the cash value of the item. Premiums are based on a percentage of the stated value, so why would you want to pay more than is necessary? We will assign an appropriate value based on the current market.

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