appraisal information

jewellery appraisal information

A word about appraisal values

An appraisal is a written statement, independently and impartially prepared by a qualified appraiser, setting forth an opinion of defined value of an adequately described property, as of a specific date supported by the presentation and analysis of relevant market information.

(Federmam, National Jeweler 1986, 44). 

appraisal types & functions

Purchase Value Confirmation & Insurance Retail Replacement Appraisals

Jewellery is inspected and evaluated by looking at each component such as a gemstone's cut, colour, clarity, and carat weight. In addition, some precious metal's finesse, style, time period, designer, and more, is examined to determine the approximate or estimated retail replacement cost in today's retail marketplace. This type of appraisal is typically used to acquire jewellery insurance and protect the jewellery. Please note almost all insurance companies now require this type of appraisal to establish a jewellery policy.

Fair Market Value (FMV) Appraisals: Divorce & Estate/Trust planning

Fair Market Value is based on what price a piece will change hands between a willing buyer and a willing seller, neither being under compulsion to buy or sell, both having reasonable knowledge of all relevant facts, and with the sale taking place in the most relevant market taking into consideration the location of the property.

further Appraisal Information

Most frequent questions and answers

If you truly love a piece of jewellery, you’d be upset at the possibility of losing it to theft, damage, or by any other means.  An appraisal report provides you with an estimate of the retail replacement value of an item for the purpose of obtaining or renewing insurance – something you’ll be thankful for should the unthinkable ever occur.  The Rolex your wife bought you for your anniversary, the heirloom brooch your grandmother passed along to you, the diamond ring you chose for your daughter – in some way, all of these suggest great value to you, and we know that.  Sentimental value concerning love, family, friends and important life events.  Every single item was selected with thoughtful consideration, and that’s how we handle your appraisal and you as our customers.

An appraiser is a skilled professional with expertise in both the subject matter being appraised as well as thorough training in valuation science, and experience with the market place for the item in question.  It is important to understand that the designation “Graduate Gemologist (GIA)” does not indicate appraisal training or ability.   GIA (Gemological Institute of America) provides training in gem identification, diamond grading and colored gemstone grading of loose gemstones.

A reliable appraisal is an independent, objective and qualified opinion.  A jeweller may be willing to appraise your jeweller but he or she may base their appraisal on prices within their own store rather than extensive independent market research.  This may prove to be very limiting.

One problem with appraisals from retail jewellers is “over valuation”.  A jeweller may over value an item in order to make the retail customer feel they got a great deal from the jeweller.  This often backfires because you may end up paying unnecessarily high insurance premiums on the inflated values.

Another potential problem with appraisals from retail jewellers is presented when you are trying to sell them a piece of jewellery, or your are asking for an appraisal of an item that you did not purchase in their store.  The jeweller may “under value” the item in order to get them self the best deal or to sell you an item from their own collection

The pricing information used in jewellery appraisals is based in US dollars, such as the price of gold, and the price of diamonds & gemstones.  If you live outside of the United States, the exchange rate between your country’s currency and the US currency can make a great difference in the value.  As the exchange rate fluctuates up or down in the currencies, so will the value of the appraisal.  An example of this is in Canada when the Canadian dollar is stronger the appraisal values will be lower, and when the Canadian dollar is weaker, the appraisals will be higher.  Different countries have different tax rates that are applied to jewellery.  From time to time, these rates are either increased, or in some cases, eliminated completely.  If it was a hidden tax and then that tax is removed, it will lower the appraisal value.

When appraisals are primarily used as sales tools, some appraisers may purposely over-grade the quality of the stone & over-value the price in order to make the consumer think that they are getting a discount, when in fact they are not. In most cases, the consumer ends up paying the actual value of the jewellery – the amount that it was worth in the first place, before the fictitious mark-up & discount.  This can result in a great variance in appraisal values.  At The Jewellery Judge® our values reflect fair & realistic prices that you might be able to buy the piece for at an average jewellery store in Canada.

A qualified jewellery appraiser should provide you with a sense of trust, a high level of expertise and personal comfort.  Any pieces you select for appraisal, whether estate, antique, new or in between should be examined in your presence, with simple explanation concerning appraisal practices and systems.  Should you feel intimidated by the appraisal or the process?  Absolutely not.  Should you earn money?  Possibly, but that’s always up to you, dependent on the value determined and your wish to keep or sell any given item.  Should you have a clearer understanding of what you own, why it is or isn’t of value, and what you may choose to do with it?  Yes!  That’s the point of appraisal.  To empower you with specific knowledge so you can make informed choices.

Steven Knight, GG, RMV, CJA-CAP, is a highly-regarded jewellery appraiser, known not only for his expert skills but as importantly, for his keen ability to make his customers feel at ease with the knowledge they’re receiving an honest, expert appraisal with full documentation, usually for the purpose of obtaining insurance to cover damage or loss.  The Jewellery Judge®, located in the heart of the charming Locke Street District in Hamilton, Ontario is the perfect choice when it comes to having your valued pieces appraised.

Each Jewellery Judge® appraisal may contain the following:

  • A cover page indicating the purpose and function, basis of value, certification statements and other pertinent information in conformity with appraisal standards from our affiliations.
  • An appraisal document that accurately describes each item in detail, including a digital photographic image of each piece.
  • A grading report for any major diamond above one carat.
  • An addendum including basic treatment information and other pertinent technical grading information.
  • A curriculum vitae, providing a one page biography of the appraiser.

Purpose and Function (Assigned Use)
This appraisal report is prepared for the purpose of estimating the retail replacement value(s) of the item(s) described herein, solely for the assigned use of obtaining or renewing insurance.  This report is not intended to be used for resale or any other non-insurance functions.  If used for functions other than obtaining insurance it is likely to mislead potential buyers or other third party users. 

Basis of Value
Value(s) stated reflect replacement costs for comparable new items currently available or exact duplications when indicated except for antique or period pieces of jewellery or jewellery showing extreme wear as noted in appraisal.  The value estimates are based upon current information on the date of the appraisal only.  The value(s) are based on current available market information considering design execution, quality, and desirability.  Some of the considerations that may be used in preparation of my appraisal reports might be (but not limited to) trademarks, copyrights, designer names, type of manufacture, condition, and place of purchase and selling price if known.

Value estimates are derived from the appraiser’s knowledge and ongoing market research, which may be supplemented by consulting appropriate specialists, auction catalogues and other dealer sources for similar items.  The Guide, an international pricing publication, is also frequently consulted for price verification.

The value estimate(s) is(are) based upon current information on the date of the appraisal, and no representation is made regarding future or past value.  In no way does this value indicate a dollar amount that you might realize if sold nor does it necessarily indicate what you might receive from an insurance claim.  The value(s) stated in this appraisal report are based upon replacement cost in the appropriate market, and an insurance company’s actual cost of replacement may be lower.

Sales Tax
Sales tax or other taxes can vary over time based on laws and geographic location.  Individual estimates of value in the appraisal do not include sales tax.  It is recommended that you contact your insurance agent or underwriter regarding sales tax to determine if it is covered in the insurance policy.

Role of the Appraiser
This appraisal report is not an offer to buy or sell the appraised items at any price.  Unless otherwise stated, I have personally examined the jewelry described herein on the date of the appraisal.  I have no past, present or contemplated future interest in the appraised item(s), nor any other personal interest that would bias this report.  My employment as appraiser is in no way contingent upon the value reported.  Any future required time including consultations, testimony, or other legal services shall be considered additional work with additional fees to be determined at the time of services.

Photographs in this report are for the purpose of design representation and should not be relied upon for accurate colour representation.  The diamond descriptions and grading nomenclature used are those developed and promulgated by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).  The coloured stone descriptions and grading nomenclature used are either the GIA GemSet, the GemDialogue, The Guide, or combinations of these grading systems.

A copy of the complete appraisal report including notes and worksheets will be retained in our files and held in the strictest confidence.  It will not be released without the client’s written consent unless I am legally compelled to provide access.

Gemstone Enhancements
Most coloured gemstones are subjected to some form of enhancement to improve its appearance.  While most are accepted in the trade and stable, some enhancements are not.  Any relevant enhancement information will be provided in the actual appraisal or in the addendum, or both.

Identification and Quantification of Materials
Metal quality (i.e., 14K gold) is assumed to be consistent throughout a particular item.  It will be assessed either by testing or by the quality stamp or by other reasoning as stated in the report.  When testing is done, it will be by electronic gold tester or acids.

Unless otherwise stated, weights and measurements are estimated, based upon formulas, standard charts, and the use of measuring instruments as generally practiced and accepted in gemology and the jewelry appraisal profession.

Diamond colour and clarity grading is subjective.  Grades on the same diamond (particularly when mounted, and especially in yellow gold) may vary slightly from one professional, trained grader/appraiser to another, depending upon conditions of lighting, time allowed for grading, quality and accuracy of master (comparison) diamonds or non-diamond comparators if used, and colour and hue discrimination abilities of the appraiser.  Unless otherwise stated, the appraiser colour graded any diamond(s) described in the appraisal using a GIA graded and registered(#3245) diamond colour comparison set containing diamonds graded F, I, K compared to the subject diamond(s) under a daylight equivalent diamond grading light.

Due to the limitations created by the mounting, diamond colour and clarity grades are provisional, and might be changed by the undersigned if graded out of the mounting at a later date.  Because of these limitations, diamonds that are mounted may not be assigned a “flawless” clarity grade, or “D” colour (highest colour grade on the GIA grading scale).  If a diamond is accompanied by a laboratory report prepared by a recognized independent grading laboratory such as the GIA Gem Trade Laboratory and can be verified as matching the report, the undersigned may defer to that report.

This appraiser uses a fully equipped gemological laboratory.  Depending on the item(s) appraised one or more of the following equipment may be utilized. GIA Mark-V Gemolite Microscope, Fiber Optic Illuminator, GIA Gem Diamond Lite, GIA Duplex II or Rayner Dialdex Refractometer, American Optical or OPL Spectroscope, Presidium A.D. Leveridge Electronic Gemstone Gauge, Austron Digital Diamond Colorimeter and various other gemological instruments of lesser significance GIAGTL: Master Diamond Set #3245

“New” denotes an item that is either brand new or shows minute amount of wear.  All gemstones are secure unless otherwise noted.

“Like new” denotes an item is known to not be new however, its condition is such that does not show signs of normal wear.

“Normal wear” denotes an item that may contain scratches or other wear that would occur in the regular use of an item.  The item might appear “like new” with light polishing and cleaning.  Other characteristics of condition may be described independently of the normal wear designation.

“Extensive wear” denotes an item that contains heavy scratches and/or loose stones.  The item could not be easily restored with light polishing or cleaning.

Appraiser’s Standards of Performance
This appraisal report has been prepared in accordance with general standards for the evaluation of jewelry prescribed by nationaly recognized appraisal organizations.  A statement of qualifications appears on the last page of this appraisal report.

Document Contents
This appraisal report is not complete unless all of the following appears:
a) This two page appraisal information document.
b) The appraisal page(s) for each item.
c) Addendum page for diamonds (only if diamonds appear in the appraised item).
d) Addendum page for coloured gems (only if coloured gems appear in the appraised item).
e) Statement of qualifications.

Certification Statement
The statements contained in this report and upon which the opinions expressed herein are based, are true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief.

I have no direct or indirect personal interest in the item(s) in this report.

My fee for appraisal is in no way contingent upon the values stated herein.

I have no personal or business relationship with the parties involved that would lead a reasonable person to question the objectivity and validity of the appraisal report.

Respectfully Submitted,

Steven A..Knight, GG, RMV, CJI-APP
Registered Master Valuer, Accredited Appraiser

Consumer Guide What You Should Know About Jewellery Appraisals
Consumer Guide What You Should Know About Jewellery Appraisals pt2