1. What is the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice?
The Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) are the generally accepted standards for professional appraisal practice in North America. USPAP contains standards for all types of appraisal services. Standards are included for real estate, personal property, business, and mass appraisal. The Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 recognizes USPAP as the generally accepted appraisal standards and requires USPAP compliance for appraisers in federally related transactions. State Appraiser Certification and Licensing Boards (federal, state, and local), appraisal services, and appraisal trade associations require compliance with USPAP.
2. Why should I get my jewelry appraised?
It depends on the market, what you’re planning on doing with it, and the type of appraisal needed. There are 2 common reasons why people get their jewelry appraised. The first is for insurance purposes. Most insurance companies do offer some coverage (usually $1000) for jewelry in case of theft in a standard homeowner’s policy. For full coverage, insurance companies want an insurance appraisal of your pieces. The second common reason for appraising jewelry is if you are buying or selling pieces. This type of appraisal determines the Market Value of the jewelry. Other reasons to get an appraisal include cash liquidation for a fast sale, for IRS purposes regarding estates, or to determine Market Value for the distribution of an estate.
3. What do you appraise?
Any type of jewelry, antique to modern, including watches, as well as loose diamonds and colored stones.
4. Why do you charge for appraisals?
Appraising is a professional service that takes years of education, specialized training, and unique market skills. Your assurance that you are getting a qualified opinion, can only come from a certified professional. As you would expect to pay for an attorney’s legal opinion or a doctor for medical advice, so you should expect to pay for an expert jewelry appraisal. How much you should expect to pay per hour typically is linked to the appraiser’s level of expertise.
5. How much is my property (piece of jewelry) worth?
That’s always the million-dollar question. The actual value of a piece of jewelry will depend on what you are wanting to do with it. For example, a diamond ring may sell for $10,000 new (Insurance/Replacement Value); but once it is worn, and considered used, it’s retail value maybe $7,000 (Market Value). However, if you were wanting to sell the ring to a jeweler you would probably only get offered $4000 (Wholesale/Cash Value).
6. Is a bid to buy the same as an appraisal?
No. The confusion regarding this comes from jewelry buyers who are trying to make a bid to buy seem better (or more legitimate) that what it really is. Hence, when you see the term “pre-appraisals”, what they are talking about is actually a verbal bid to buy. Obviously this is not a professional appraisal report.
7. What is an independent appraiser?
An independent appraiser acts as an impartial third party. The appraiser cannot act as a buyer or a seller of the piece and can have no relationship with the pieces being appraised (or the parties involved). This assures you that the appraiser is being fair and impartial; that the pieces being appraised are not being artificially inflated or devalued. It is not the duty of the independent appraiser to determine whether you are getting a “good deal” or are getting “ripped off.” It is their job to determine the average “sales” price in the market.
8. Can a jeweler be an independent appraiser?
Yes, if the jeweler is a certified appraiser AND if he/she adheres to a code of ethics.
9. What is the difference between a gemologist and an appraiser?
Gemology is the science dealing with natural and artificial gems and gemstones, and so gemologists are trained to identify and evaluate gems. An accredited jewelry appraiser is a professional who has been trained and certified to place a valuation on the piece. Similar to comparing a realtor to a real estate appraiser. Two separate individuals – one who sells homes, one who appraises. For the record, GIA (Gemological Institute of America) does NOT certify appraisers. They only certify gemstones and award the Graduate Gemologist (GG) degree which shows the individual can identify gemstones.
10. What is the difference between a grading report and an appraisal?
A grading report or identification report is entirely about the geological information of the stone. They do not attach a value or indicate ownership of the stone. An appraisal evaluates the stone and determines the value. Often the two are used in conjunction since grading reports are used to determine the quality of the stone, while the appraisal translates that quality into value. This is especially useful when buying or selling a loose stone.
11. Do I need to have my appraisals updated? How often?
The Insurance Institute of America recommends that you have your jewelry appraisal updated every 2 years, Jewelry Appraisers recommends every 3 years. This is flexible, however, and many people update every 5 years. If you have jewelry that has large gemstones, especially diamonds, we do recommend that you update that appraisal more frequently than an appraisal for an all gold piece.
12. Do I need to make an appointment? How often?
Sometimes jewelry needs to be researched, so it may not be possible to appraise white you wait. For example, watch manufacturers may need to be called for verification.
13. Do I need to bring in old appraisals or paperwork?
Grading reports (such as a GIA diamond grading report) may not be looked at until an appraisal is done, but saves time. Anything that saves time saves you money since we charge by the hour.