Take Control Blog

Jewelry Appraisals

As we all know, some divorces can be long and highly contested. In such cases, some people just “want to forget the whole experience” and even wipe away the memory of their marriage. Such was the case with our client, Betty. For Betty, the first step to putting the marriage behind her was to sell her wedding ring. But to who? How? To answer these questions and others, I turned to Jon Bragman, a certified appraiser with years of gemological and valuation experience.

TBK: What is the process of getting jewelry appraised?

BRAGMAN: The process is simple once you have found a qualified appraiser. The appraiser should be available to come to you. Whether it is a bank, office, or home, the appraiser should work with complete client privacy. Having the appraisal done at your location insures that no property leaves its place of safekeeping. There should be no need to leave any property and clients should always be welcome to watch the appraisal process. The fee for the appraisal should never be based upon the value of the jewelry.

TBK: You speak of a qualified appraiser. What exactly makes an appraiser qualified?

BRAGMAN: 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. GIA does not offer training in appraisal methodology, market research, ethics, the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) compliance or report writing. Only specific appraisal organization designations can provide any assurance of the appraiser’s qualifications. Always seek an independent jewelry appraiser. The appraiser should have years of experience; be properly insured; provide references; show work samples; and be a member of one of the major appraisal organizations, such as NAJA, ASA, AGS, or ISA.

TBK: What does an appraisal involve?

BRAGMAN: An appraisal is an opinion of value for a particular market on a particular date. It is usually in document format, describing all qualitative and quantitative attributes necessary to arrive at the value conclusion. The appraisal should also include photographs of the items appraised. We have all heard the expression that a picture is worth a thousand words. A quality appraisal should be typed, not hand written, and done by an independent jewelry appraiser, not by the seller or store where the items were purchased.

TBK: What options exist for selling the jewelry once appraised?

BRAGMAN: The options are simple. Once the jewelry is inspected, appraised or evaluated, the options become clear. The item can be sold, or, in some cases, brokering the jewelry might be an option. Long term brokering does not apply unless the items warrant the use of a well known auction house. Short term brokerage is measured in days, allowing a broker to get several offers for the jewelry. Once the best option is determined, be sure that your buyer/broker is properly insured (if you are allowing them to hold your jewelry), the items are documented properly, and your agreement is clearly outlined with acceptable prices and the costs involved. Quite simply, know exactly what you are getting into. Experience and professionalism will always show.