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Jewelry Appraisals

About Jewelry Appraisals

Anytime you purchase jewelry, you may want to consider having the piece or pieces appraised by a trained gemologist for insurance purposes. By having your jewelry appraised, you can easily insure it for its value in the case of theft or damage. Appraisals are also necessary if you ever consider selling your jewelry as it will ensure you receive a fair price for each piece.

However, not all appraisals are equal and not all appraisals are actually appraisals.

Most jewelers will offer to appraise your jewelry, but as the seller, they have a bias towards inflating the worth of their merchandise in order to sell it at a higher price. Others offer to provide you with a certificate of authenticity to ensure you that it is, in fact, genuine. However, using fancy letterhead and detailed descriptions of your piece is not enough to ensure your review is accurate. Most in-house appraisals are biased. Insurance companies are less likely to honor a claim wherein the piece appraised was done so by the seller and Certificates of Authenticity are merely upgraded receipts. There are numerous unscrupulous practices within the jewelry industry and educating yourself about them is the best way to avoid becoming a victim.

Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

GEMaffair.com Jewelry Appraisal Service

As a member of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC), GEMaffair.com is combating malicious industry practices by offering affordable third party appraisals on any items you purchase from our store. Using a non-affiliated third party guarantees you will receive a fair and balanced jewelry appraisal - without bias from us, the seller - that is respected in the eyes of your insurance provider.

What is an appraisal?
To appraise is to set a value to ; to estimate the worth of and item or personal property - particularly by persons appointed for the purpose - for taxation, loans or insurance purposes.
An appraisal, in reference to jewelry, is a written record of the worth of an item or piece of personal property drafted by a professional that follows standard insurance industry practices.

Who does the appraisals for GEMaffair.com? To avoid a conflict of interest and ensure your receive a fair assessment of your jewelry, we send all items to Norris Smith of Smith's Custom Creations. Smith is a graduate gemologist with a degree from the Gemological Institute of America (G.I.A. and is also a Certified Gemologist from the American Gemological Society (A.G.S.). With over twenty years experience with jewelry appraisals and as a member of the National Association for Master Appraisers, Smith's evaluation of your jewelry will meet all of the standard insurance industry practices by using real time market values and his AGS accredited state-of-the-art gemological lab. He is certified to appraise diamond jewelry, colored gemstone jewelry and lab created gemstone jewelry. Smith is not affiliated in any way with GEMaffair.com. Both parties are private establishments.

What will I get? Every appraisal covers a multi-faceted procedure accurately and fairly describing the value of your piece. Using an A.G.S. certified gemological lab, Smith will conduct a thorough analysis of your jewelry. The appraisal will cover metal type and grade; gem type; an analysis of the gems with reference to color, cut, clarity, and carat; a review of the stone's integrity (natural, enhanced, created); creation; craftsmanship; provenance; notable history if any; and a complete evaluation on how these correlate to its current market value with respect to the fluctuating gold and gemstone markets.

How much does it cost? You will get a thorough point-by-point appraisal that meets standard insurance industry practices from Norris Smith, a G.I.A graduate and an A.G.S. certified gemologist, using an accredited A.G.S. gem lab for $24.95. We guarantee that this appraisal will be an accurate record of the item's actual value. Your piece will appraise for more or equal value should it be appraised by another qualified appraisal service.

How long does it take? Since the jewelry must be sent to Norris Smith of Smith's Custom Creations, as we do not do the appraisals in-house to avoid a conflict of interest, we ask that you allow one week for him to properly review every facet of your new jewelry to ensure a fair and accurate appraisal.

Commonly Asked Questions about Appraisals:

Why should I get an appraisal?
A proper appraisal will completely and accurately describe the piece of jewelry. Having a professional appraisal will ensure that you will pay the proper premiums should you ever file a claim with your insurance provider and receive either its value or a comparable piece of jewelry that matches the original as closely as possible. Having a professional appraisal also enables you to safely sell your jewelry at a fair price should you decide to do so.

What should I ask an appraiser?
Ask if they are an accredited gemologist, preferably with a degree from the Gemological Institute of America or G.I.A. Also ask if they are a member of any certified appraisal committees, as this will facilitate insuring your pieces for the proper amount. Ask if the forms or appraisals method they use complies with standard insurance procedures for jewelry.

GEMaffair.com's third party appraiser is both a G.I.A graduate gemologist and is also a member of the National Association for Master Appraisers.

Why is using a non-affiliated appraisal service necessary?
Often, jewelers will offer an in-house jewelry appraisal for the items they sell. Unfortunately, not all jewelers are honest and will appraise the piece at a higher value in order to raise its price. By using a third party, you can eliminate ulterior motive and guarantee yourself a fair and balanced appraisal that will accurately describe the piece's value. Insurance providers are less likely to honor an appraisal done by the seller due to the conflict of interest.

In short, a professional appraisal is a useful document and a majority of the certificates of authenticity are not.

What is the difference between an appraisal and a certificate of authenticity?
While there are some cases in which a certificate of authenticity is a useful document that can add value to your purchase, they are - for the most part - marketing ploys to raise the "implied value" of a product being sold. Asserting that an item needs a Certificate of Authenticity ingrains the item with false importance. It has no legal worth in most cases. An appraisal is an accurate description of the piece by a trained individual with reference to the piece's actual retail value in the current marketplace. Appraisals are used for both resale and insurance purposes.

When is a certificate of authenticity useful?
In some cases, such as limited editions or autographed paraphernalia, a Certificate of Authenticity is a warranted document as it will assert that the item belongs to a limited series or was created by a noted designer or craftsman. These certificates can add to an item's appraised value and will be noted in the appraisal as such.
While these types of certificates do exist in the jewelry industry, many sellers offer general Certificates of Authenticity for every item they sell; these are simply testaments that the item purchased is as described. It is not an accurate assessment of the item and its true market value; it is not an appraisal. Most Certificates of Authenticity can be likened to fancy receipts.
At GEMaffair.com, our Certificate of Authenticity is our name. We are fully bonded by BuySafe and stand by every item we sell. If an item, like a limited edition Bulova watch, comes with a Certificate of Authenticity, you can be assured that it will add to the value of the piece at the time of appraisal.