Common Questions

credentialsWhat qualifications does a jewelry appraiser need to have?

Absolute first requirement is that the appraiser be a Graduate Gemologist. In this country that diploma is received from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Twenty years experience in the industry doesn’t count. You need the education taught at a proper institution. Twenty years of selling soccer balls doesn’t qualify you to referee the game.

Next you need education in valuation science. The best way to receive this body of knowledge is to study with an appraisal organization. There is only one organization in this country dedicated to jewelry appraisers and that is The National Association of Jewelry Appraisers (NAJA).

I am a Certified Senior Appraiser with the NAJA. That means that I sat for a four hour test and took a practical exam.

That’s a lot of education. Do most jewelry appraisers hold those designations?

Unfortunately, no.  There are other qualifications jewelry appraisers should have. Just like other professionals, good appraisers will constantly be updating their knowledge base and skill set. They will have modern gemological laboratories and the highest quality equipment.

What is an independent jewelry appraiser?

An independent appraiser is one that does not buy, sell or broker jewelry. They do not work for jewelry stores. They work for the benefit of their clients.

Do you follow USPAP standards?

Mostly yes. The Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice were developed to control the quality of all appraisals including real property and personal property. It is a type of minimum standards for quality control, ethical practices and promotion of the public confidence. My appraisals are written to conform to these minimum standards. However I find that my appraisals vary from certain specific points of USPAP. For example, I do not normally paginate my appraisal documents because some of the pages are pre-printed.

Why should I come to see you Kim?

Because you can wait while I do your appraisal. Because I have reasonable turnaround times. Because my prices are fair and competitive. Because I have flexible hours. I am a graduate gemologist from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and a Certified Senior Member of the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers (NAJA). Because I do not work for a jewelry store but rather, I work for my client. I am an independent appraiser and a professional. Because I attend conferences and workshops to further my understanding of gemology, jewelry and appraisal practice. Because I have a top notch gemological laboratory. Because I have a security system and insurance to protect your jewelry. Because helping you understand your jewelry and your appraisal and your choices is my top priority.

contact kimWho needs a jewelry appraiser?

Any person or entity that needs a jewelry appraisal for insurance protection, for estate distribution, tax settlement, charitable contribution or divorce settlement. Anyone that has questions about their jewelry, diamonds, pearls, colored gemstones, watches, antique jewelry, or jewelry repairs. If you would like information before you make a jewelry purchase, after you make a jewelry purchase

What should a jewelry appraisal contain?

Each written appraisal should contain the weight and measurement of the piece, identification, grade and measurements of all gemstones, value factors for each gemstone, the 4 C’s for diamonds, the value of the jewelry, an explanation of how the value was determined and a definition for all trade and technical verbiage used. Every diamond over 1 carat should be plotted. Digital photographs should be included to allow the piece to be identified or copied in the future, if need arises. A statement of the qualifications of the appraiser should also be included.

How much does insurance for jewelry cost?

In general, insurance will cost about 1%. That would be $10 for each $1,000 of jewelry value per year. So a $6,000 ring would cost about $60 per year for a homeowner’s insurance rider. However, speak to your insurance agent for specific costs on your policy.

How can an accurate jewelry appraisal save me money?

Most insurance companies do not write you a check for lost or stolen jewelry. They will try to replace the item for you. Their objective is to make you whole. The most cost effective way for them to do that is to buy a copy of a lost piece of jewelry, or have it made. So if you insure a piece of jewelry for $10,000, but it would only cost $6000 to re-make it, you are over insuring. You are paying about $100 per year instead of the more appropriate $60 per year. In this case, the accurate appraisal will save you $40 per year for many years.

Here are some questions to ask your insurance agent so you understand exactly what your insurance does cover in the event of a loss.

How often should I have my jewelry appraisals updated?

It depends. Like fuel oil, jewelry prices go up and down. Some gemstone prices may be going up while others are coming down. There is no easy formula for the yearly price increase of jewelry. The simplest way to find out if you need a jewelry appraisal update is to call and ask me. I’m happy to help you figure that out over the phone.

If an item can’t be replaced, should I still have it insured?

Often jewelry can hold priceless sentimental value that can never be replaced. But having that jewelry properly appraised and insured will protect the  monetary value of the asset. In the event of a loss, it will help you feel a little better.

What if I don’t need a written appraisal?

There are many instances when someone needs to know more about their jewelry but may not need a written document. I can set up a consultation with you to tell you exactly what you have. This is often very helpful when someone has inherited several pieces of jewelry and doesn’t know what is real and what is not.

Can you help me before I buy jewelry?

This is one of my favorite parts of the job. I know a lot about the jewelry industry, and I can share my insights with you. This is a consultation that we can do even over the phone. I can teach you how to get the biggest bang for the buck and how to avoid getting ripped off. Wondering about investing in jewelry? Call me. You don’t have any idea about what you don’t know!!