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Unlike a car or a home, figuring out how much your jewelry is worth can’t easily be done online or by looking at guides. Understanding the value of a piece of jewelry takes some expertise and finesse, and this valuation should only be completed by a trained, expert jeweler.
But the million-dollar question is, how do you go about that? What does it take to get a value for your jewelry, and what’s it going to cost you? Many of our customers visit our jewelry stores in New Jersey to deal with our expert jewelers and to determine a fair value for their cherished pieces.
Let’s dive into the subject and figure out how much jewelry appraisal could cost you.
By and large, the most common type of jewelry appraisal is an insurance appraisal. Simply put, this is an appraisal for the replacement value of jewelry in case items are lost, stolen, or destroyed.
Depending on where you purchased your jewelry, the appraisal cost may or may not be included in the purchase price of the item. Other jewelry stores make you pay for an appraisal separately.
Here at Braunschweiger Jewelers, when we sell a piece of jewelry, we include an insurance appraisal upon request with the purchase. This is common practice in the jewelry industry because sometimes things get misplaced, and it’s worth knowing what your jewelry is worth the day you walk out of our store with the item.
If you haven’t purchased your item from either of our jewelry stores, you can still bring it to us to be appraised. Our jewelry appraisals start at $125 for one piece and go up from there depending on the complexity of the item.
The thing to consider about jewelry appraisal costs is that most people want a handful of items appraised at once. The way we work is to charge $125 for the first item, and $65 per each additional piece of jewelry. As you can see, if you bring in a dozen pieces of jewelry for appraisal, your costs would exceed $800 to get everything appraised.
That said, the cost of a jewelry appraisal is not set in stone. For instance, if you have paperwork, such as a GIA certificate for a diamond or a previous appraisal from another gemologist, your appraisal costs could be lower. Since the statistics are already laid out by another qualified gemologist, they just need to be confirmed by our own in-house experts.
Another thing to consider is that the cost of diamonds and gold fluctuates, so insurance companies often request up-to-date appraisals every 3 to 5 years. If you need an updated appraisal, your best bet is to go back to the store where you had your original appraisal done. That store most likely can charge a lower price, provided it keeps records of its appraisals. For example, Braunschweiger charges $65 a page for any appraisal we have on file, some of which go back 15 years or more. The descriptions of the items don’t change—and the gemologist can more easily calculate the price of an item because he has the statistics on file regarding that piece of jewelry.
To learn more about getting your jewelry insured, check out our article, How do I insure my jewelry?
Another common type of appraisal is one used to settle an estate or divorce. This type of appraisal reflects the fair market value of jewelry. It’s used as a fair and even way to put value on assets being divided up in an estate or for tax purposes. You’ll see this after someone passes away, if someone is evaluating his or her estate for various tax reasons, or if a married couple needs to divide their jewelry assets.
Since the process is the same regardless of the end use of the appraisal, the costs of the jewelry appraisal here are the same as if it was done for insurance purposes. The difference you will see is the price for which each item is appraised. Since you are not looking for a replacement value on a piece of jewelry, you are looking to see what it’s worth in terms of divvying up an estate or for a divorce as well as what you could get if you
tried to sell it yourself, which is usually a much lower value.
That’s right, some jewelry appraisals are free, but only in two instances: a verbal jewelry appraisal, and an offer to buy jewelry.
You can sometimes walk into a jewelry store and get a verbal appraisal, usually free of charge. However, there are really only two reasons to do this.
The first reason is that you purchased jewelry at another store and want to ensure it’s worth what you paid. We see this when people aren’t sure whether they were dealing with a trusted jeweler when they bought the piece. For instance, if someone bought a diamond ring and had concerns over whether the diamond was the quality they were led to believe, they may come in for a verbal appraisal.
The second reason for a verbal appraisal is simpler. If someone comes into possession of a piece of jewelry, whether they received it, found it, or it was inherited, many people want to know if it’s worth getting it appraised for insurance reasons. Why get coverage on pearl earrings if it turns out they’re fake?
However, you should understand that if your items are complex, with diamonds or other gemstones (and no previous appraisal), a free verbal appraisal may not be possible since the appraiser must do the same work as would be done for a written appraisal to determine the value, such as measuring and grading the gemstones. Therefore, the appraiser should be compensated for his or her professional work.
Technically this isn’t an appraisal per se, but it’s often referred to as one. An offer to buy is when a jeweler looks at a piece of jewelry you no longer want, weighs it, and gives you an offer to buy it.
Should you accept the offer, you’ll most likely be given cash or a check for your jewelry. If you deny the offer, you keep the jewelry.
Again, this is not technically an appraisal, but many people consider it to be a form of an appraisal since someone is evaluating and putting a price on your jewelry.
As you can see, if you need to get a couple items appraised, the cost can start adding up quickly. If possible, get your item appraised when you purchase it, and remember to keep the documentation if possible. This will help keep your jewelry appraisal costs down in the future should you ever need an updated appraisal.
To learn more about jewelry insurance or to get your jewelry appraised, feel free to visit either of our New Jersey jewelry store locations in Morristown or New Providence to see for yourself and talk to any of our expert jewelers.
If you’d like to talk to someone directly about appraisals, you can contact us online anytime by emailing us at email@example.com, or simply fill out our contact form. We’ll answer your questions quickly.