What’s the value of your new jewelry?
Imagine you just inherited just a couple of pieces, like grandpa’s gold watch and grandma’s opal earrings, or an entire jewelry box that might—or might not—have some treasures. Or maybe you bought an antique bracelet that you think might be valuable. How do you find what out what they’re worth? Can you get an appraisal for just one or two items? Are there different kinds of appraisals? Here are some of the questions I’m asked:
1. Do you appraise single items or only large collections?
Whatever you have—1, 5, 25, or 150 pieces—that’s what I’m here for! Whether you’ve got a one or two pieces or a whole collection, it starts with a call or email. I’ll ask some basic questions to figure out what your need is and the best way to solve it. For instance, there are several types of appraisals, depending on what your needs are—are you looking for something to use for insurance or for an estate?
No matter which of these you choose, I always use the same methodology and the work is always done in front of you.
Types of appraisal services
- Verbal report (“Silver package”): This can be a starting place if you just want to know what you have (Is it glass or a diamond? Is it a rare sterling silver tea set?). I’ll examine them and tell you what each item is and what its value is in the marketplace. Armed with this info, you can decide what you want to do. This may be all you need for right now.
- Catalog/inventory report (“Gold package”): If you want/need something in writing, this is your basic go-to. Maybe you just need a record of your pieces for estate/probate work or your own knowledge. The catalog includes a brief description of the item, the value of each item, and a digital photo. It’s a great record and can keep track of what you have all in one place.
- Detailed appraisal report (“Platinum package”): This option gives you the information you’ll need for insurance purposes. You get a full description, measurements and grading, a digital photo, and value for each item.
2. What about my jeweler’s appraisal?
It’s always a good idea to check with your insurance company to find out what kind of documentation they need. Some may require a non-biased, independent appraisal. Also, if it’s been 3 or 5 years or more since you bought the item, your insurer will probably want an updated appraisal because prices may have changed so much over that time.
3. What doesn’t need an appraisal?
There are some heirlooms whose value is sentimental rather than monetary. Costume jewelry, non-designer, newer watches, and silver plate don’t have to be appraised if you’re sure that’s what they are.
4. What can I do to protect the value of my jewelry?
The #1 easiest thing is to keep them in good condition. The better care you take of them, the longer they’ll last:
- Rings: Have your prongs checked to make sure the stone is secure.
- Pearls: Have them periodically restrung to make sure you’re not chasing loose pearls all over a room.
- Diamonds: Have them cleaned periodically.
- Watches: Whether they’re battery-operated or mechanical, make sure the jeweler who works on them is an expert in that area; don’t risk expensive damage from a simple repair.