What is an Appraisal?
Simply put, an appraisal is an assessment of value. When it comes to jewelry, an appraisal can take many forms, which I will describe in this blog and others to follow.
Offers to Buy or Lend
When a jewelry item is offered to a dealer/broker for sale, or to a local pawnshop for a short-term cash loan, the process of determining the dollar amount to offer is often called an “appraisal.”
The jewelry is examined by the dealer/broker, or a trained jewelry appraiser. The dealer/broker usually makes an offer immediately, and the jewelry owner decides whether or not to accept the offer.
There is no written valuation for this type of appraisal, and the amount offered can vary for each dealer/broker. Jewelry buyers and pawnbrokers customarily examine jewelry and make offers free of charge, because they expect to profit from the transaction if an offer is accepted.
A written appraisal is more formal than the quick assessment that leads to an offer to buy or lend. It is performed by a professional jewelry appraiser who is trained in gemology and has the resources, education, and experience to produce a credible written document.
The process to produce the official written appraisal consists of three steps:
1. Identification: The item is thoroughly examined to identify its materials and quality.
2. Description: The results of the examination are recorded.
3. Analysis: The value of the item in the appropriate marketplace is researched in regards to desirability, marketability, and rarity, and the results are reported.
Written jewelry appraisals are prepared for various reasons, most commonly as Insurance Appraisals or Fair Market Value Appraisals, which I will discuss in my next blog.
About the Author
C. M. St. John is a Graduate Gemologist (GIA) and appraiser at Provident Loan Society. Gems and jewelry are a lifelong interest, and much easier to collect than architecture, which is her other great passion.