Jewelry Appraisals This article outlines key considerations in the process, and the steps to make along the way

Jewelry Appraisals

Types of Appraisals

There are many types of appraisals available, each serving a different purpose such as tax, insurance or resale. All types of appraisals seek to verify the fair market value of an object; as such, the jewelry appraisal needs to be as objective and as accurate as possible.

Specific to appraisals for insurance purposes, the Retail Replacement Value is only an indication of its value, as a new piece. The amount one might receive in the event of being stolen, damaged or lost is dependent on the following on which of the two following policies they fall under:



  • Agreed Value policies guarantee you the full amount of retail replacement value. Although generally more expenses, this policy represents a transparent understanding between the insurer and the insured of an exact amount that will be paid in case of loss or theft. However, this means that the policy must be adjusted every two years or so to reflect current retail market value and requires fairly regular re-appraisal for accurate re-valuation.
  • Actual Cash Value is defined by insurers as “actual cash value minus depreciation [wear and tear] and obsolescence [being out-of-date].” Although usually cheaper than ‘Agreed Value’ policies, the premium is calculated on the degree of risk, therefore if the insurer must settle in cash, they can pay a lesser amount than the figure on which they’ve based your policy. 

Jewelry Appraisal Cost

How much does a jewelry appraisal cost? Fees associated with jewelry appraisals can vary significantly, depending on the valuer. Some appraisers may charge hourly rates, while others may charge a percentage of the final value of the items appraised. Hourly rates can range from $50-150 per hour. However, if you plan to sell at auction, a specialist will often provide the valuation for free, as the house will ultimately make a percentage of commission on any items sold. There are also online jewelry appraisal services that provide valuations for a nominal fee. 

The Appraisal Process

A great way of getting started in the appraisal process is to send images to your chosen valuer. The images need to be high resolution and offer details of the piece, ideally using a macro lens setting. Valuers will want to see the piece at different angles in order to determine the age of the item and to identify any damage or previous repairs.

An appraiser will often evaluate the piece based on a number of factors, including metal composition, karat, weight, measurement, and whether or not the gems are natural. You can help this process along by providing any relevant documentation such as receipts and certificates of authenticity, which can result in a more accurate figure.

A reliable jewelry appraisal should consist of the following:

  • A process that matches the ultimate purpose of the appraisal; 
  • Clear explanation of the grading process and measurements used; 
  • Definitive statement of value with seal or signature by an authorized appraiser; 
  • Statement of the appraisal purpose on the certificate; and 
  • Offering an open discussion in which you may ask any questions of the appraiser.