What you need to know about appraisals
What is the difference between a gemologist and certified insurance appraiser?
A gemologist is responsible for analyzing, and describing the characteristics and qualities of gemstones. Diamonds, sapphires, and rubies are some examples of gemstones a gemologist may work with. Gemologists typically use microscopes and various grading instruments to examine gemstones or finished pieces of jewelry to determine their quality.
A gemologist can identify a gemstone during evaluation based on specific gravity, refractive index, and crystal structure. They may also specialize in grading a specific type of gemstone, and can identify if it is natural, color-enhanced, synthetic, treated, or damaged. A grading report accesses the quality of a gemstone’s features such as color, clarity, and cut.
The gemologist is concerned with determining whether a gemstone is natural or synthetic and how much it is worth.
Certified Insurance Appraiser
The job of a jewelry appraiser is a meticulous process that involves scrutinizing and examining the jewelry, researching about the item being evaluated and finally making an appraisal report. Most insurance appraisers are also Graduate Gemologists. For appraisers to give accurate and timely appraisals, they must keep themselves updated on the latest trends and developments regarding the world of jewelry, insurance and appraisals. Since many clients have their appraisals done because they want to insure their jewelry, it’s essential that appraisers are kept up-to-date on the laws and regulations governing the insurance industry as well.
Why do I need an appraisal?
There are many reasons to have your jewelry appraised based on current market value. Most people have their jewelry appraised in the event their jewelry is lost or stolen. If this happens, you will need an insurance appraisal.
Other reasons to have your jewelry appraised is to determine the value or authenticity of your jewelry for:
• estate and tax purposes
• divorce settlements
• donations and loans
• resale advice
• or simply to obtain a 2nd opinion
Types of appraisals offered
Insurance Appraisal / Retail Replacement Value Appraisals
If you have a sentimental attachment to your most cherished jewelry pieces, you’ll love them no matter what they’re worth. Still determining a value is important, especially when you’re purchasing insurance.
Here are some things to consider:
- You need to know if your Homeowners Policy jewelry limit will cover them, or if you need a valuable items endorsement or a separate policy.
- If you need a special endorsement or policy, underwriters will base your coverage amount on the appraised value of your jewelry.
- Your insurance premium will be based on that same value.
- There are many different types of insurance companies and policies. Some policies compensate the amount stated in the appraisal, some have the option to pay a lesser amount and others pay for replacement of an exact comparable to the insured item at the lowest cost to them.
- It is very important to establish what type of policy you are purchasing, exactly what is covered and how the insurance company will settle the claim. A sales receipt is not an acceptable form of value. Also vintage, antique, and collectible jewelry go in and out of style, causing the values to go up or down.
- Values rarely remain constant, and your policies should change accordingly.
Quality Confirmation of a New Purchase / Retail Replacement Value Appraisals
This report is to verify that the gemstone you recently purchased is what the retailer represented it as. A complete gemological qualitative analysis is done on the jewelry item and the findings are compared to the major laboratory certificate if accompanied with one. The retail replacement value is determined based on the gemological evaluation and stated in the final report. This report can also be used for insurance scheduling.
Liquidation / (Re-sale Advice) Appraisals
This appraisal value is determined when an owner decides to convert jewelry items into cash by re-selling them.
Estate (Probate) Appraisals
In the event you are named executor of an estate or conservator for an individual, an estate appraisal of their jewelry may be necessary for distribution, settlement or potential inheritance tax liability. Jewelry values for estates are legislated to include specific information and data. Fair market value is used for this type of valuation.
Divorce Settlement/Dissolution of Marriage Appraisals
This report is used for division of common property for divorce. Fair market value is used for this type of valuation.
Damage Report / Post Damage Insurance Compensation
This report can be used to asses and express loss in value or current value of a jewelry item as a result of damage for insurance compensation. The report can also be used for expressing the difference in value resulting from breakage and estimates the cost of the removal, re-cutting and resetting of a gemstone, as well as the value of the re-cut gemstone (loss of weight).
This report is necessary for tax deductions of donated jewelry items.
Post Loss / Hypothetical Appraisals
This report establishes the value of a previously undocumented item that was lost or stolen. This is a hypothetical valuation based on information supplied by the client and supported by photographs and a description of the item.
Casualty Loss / IRS Tax Deduction
This report determines the fair market value of a lost, stolen, or destroyed item not previously documented. The IRS allows an income tax deduction of some portion of the value with a proper casualty loss appraisal.
How often should I have my jewelry appraised?
Over the years, the value of your jewelry and gemstones can fluctuate greatly. If your last appraisal is over two years, old it may be out-of-date and, as a result, your jewelry could be insured for less than its replacement value. That means you risk a substantial financial loss if your jewelry is lost, stolen or damaged.
For your protection, we recommend you have your jewelry appraised every three years.
Our in house gemologist, Victoria King
Vicki is part owner of King Jewelers and is a graduate of the Gemological Institute of America. A recipient of this prestigious degree from the internationally renowned institute, Vicki brings 35 years of experience and expertise to the industry. She is responsible for selecting most of the stones used in jewelry designed for King Jewelers. Statements about jewelry newly purchased at King’s are prepared and written by Vicki for customers based on her keen observations and calculations. Vicki operates a full service gem laboratory on the premises.
To schedule an appointment with Vicki, please call or email her.
Our Certified Insurance Appraiser, Lori Coogan
Lori is a graduate gemologist and jewelry appraiser with over 10 years experience in the jewelry trade. The practice of jewelry appraising is truly an art form. It requires a great deal of knowledge stemming from a base of gemological studies, layered with learning about antique jewelry and history, a thorough understanding of the various jewelry markets, with the appropriate application of rules and regulations, resulting in a logical fact-based conclusion regarding an item’s value.
Lori is currently a Certified Gemologist Appraiser through the American Gem Society, a member of the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers, and a candidate member of the American Society of Appraisers.
Appraisals are scheduled in advance so please call us to set up an appointment.