The importance of Appraisals and Insurance


Why do I need an appraisal? 

The three most common reasons for needing an appraisal are:

For insurance purposes - A valid appraisal is required in order to insure your jewellery and should be updated regularly (at least every 5 years). This type of appraisal lists retail replacement value for your item. 

Dividing an estate - To ensure equitable distribution of an estate to its heirs, this type of appraisal provides fair market value of items. 

Liquidation - Cash value is provided by a liquidation appraisal, which is usually the lowest value assigned to an item of jewellery. Jewellery in this category is sometimes sold for scrap value. 


What is included in an appraisal?

A jewellery appraisal should consist of:

  • A description of the item, including weights, measurements and gemstone grades
  • An indication of any treatments to the gemstone, as well as whether the stone is natural or synthetic
  • The manufacturer if available, along with notations of any stamped markings
  • The karat of metal 
  • A photograph 
  • The value (retail replacement for insurance appraisals, fair market value otherwise) 
  • Some may include a plotting diagram of gemstone inclusions, but this is not always done
  • Any limitations that may affect the analysis 


How do I have an appraisal done? 

Avalon Fine Jewellery works with an independent GIA certified gemologist for all of our appraisals. You can make an appointment to sit with her when she is in the store, or leave your pieces here with us for her to value. Written appraisals are provided at a cost of $70. Verbal appraisals are $35. If you decide to leave your jewellery for us to sell in our estate collection, we cut that price in half for you. 

How do I know my appraisal is legitimate? 

Only an accredited gemologist, with letters behind their name noting their certification, should be appraising your jewellery. Anyone can provide a document with a value, but without a certified gemologist's signature, it is not a valid appraisal.  

Many over-valued appraisals are done by jewellers providing inflated values for insurance purposes. This does nothing for you other than increase your insurance premiums. When the time comes to sell or replace these items, many people are surprised to find that actual values are substantially less than the appraisal shows. 

How often should I have my jewellery appraisals updated?

Since metal and gemstone prices fluctuate regularly, the value of your jewellery will fluctuate as well. Updating your appraisals at least every five years will ensure that your items are not undervalued in case of loss, allowing you to replace them at current retail values. It is important to check with your insurance company to see what their requirements are for keeping appraisals updated. 

What if I just want to know how much my jewellery is worth, but don't want a written appraisal? 

A certified gemologist will be able to provide a value assessment of your jewellery without a written appraisal. A consultation of this kind still requires a fairly intensive analysis of your piece(s), so this service is generally not provided free of charge, but at a lesser rate than a full written appraisal. Remember this is a professional with years of training and the skills necessary to value your jewellery fairly.