Preparing For Your Appraisal

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Home Appraisal Information Preparing For Your Appraisal

1. Clean Your Jewelry
  Your jewelry should be cleaned before it is appraised. A conscientious appraiser will clean your diamonds and precious gemstones in order to make the best possible estimate of their color and clarity under the already significant restrictions of grading stones in their mountings. However, you can save the appraiser’s time, and thus cut down on the cost of the appraisal, by doing a good preliminary cleaning at home.  I recommend that you read "Cleaning Your Jewelry" before cleaning your jewelry at home.
2. Inspect your jewelry and get any needed repairs.
  As you are cleaning the jewelry, check for loose stones, sharp prongs, weak clasps, stretched-out strings on beads and pearls, and any other indications that repairs may be needed. The appraiser is obligated to point out any needed repairs on the appraisal. If the appraisal is for insurance scheduling, you would then need to have the repairs carried out, and show your insurance agent a receipt so stating. It is not the insurance company’s function to pay for its client’s negligence in keeping their jewelry in good repair. It is much less trouble to have the jewelry in good repair before the appraiser inspects it. Should any additional problems be noted, your appraiser will point them out.
3. Make an appointment
  Your appraiser may be booked up for a couple of weeks in advance. Be sure to call for an appointment ahead of time, especially if your appraisal involves numerous items. An appraisal by a trained professional appraiser is a detailed documentation of your jewelry, including photographs. It should not be done in haste. Do not wait until a few days prior to your insurance company’s or attorney’s deadline to arrange for your appraisal!
4. Gather your documentation
  Just like real estate appraisal, jewelry appraisal is largely a matter of research. However, real estate appraisers can look up past sales in the public records. You are the source for sales records of personal property such as jewelry. If you withhold documents at the beginning of an appraisal, then produce them for consideration after the appraisal is complete, the appraiser has every right to charge you for the extra time it will take to re-check his original estimates. You will not benefit in the end by playing "mind games" with your appraiser.

Get together any documentation that might be of use to the appraiser. These establish a "paper trail" of your ownership history of the jewelry, and may contain information that will speed up the appraisal process.

At Jewels by Stacy Appraisals, we make copies of significant documents and keep them in your file for five years. This can be of great benefit should your records be destroyed at the time that you suffer the loss of your jewelry.

  • Sales receipts (best proof of ownership)
  • Warranties (very important)
  • Diamond or gemstone certificates from GIA, etc. (also very important)
  • Old insurance summaries listing the jewelry
  • Old appraisals (helpful if previous appraiser took stone measurements, or examined stones before they were mounted)
  • Letters, etc. with facts relating to the jewelry or its history
5. Make an inventory
  You can save even more time (and expense) by making an inventory of the jewelry before you come in for your appointment. This will make it easier for the appraiser during the take-in procedure. Personally, I like to group jewelry in a standard way that makes it easy to locate on the appraisal document. You can help by making your inventory in the same order.
  • Rings first, diamond rings followed by faceted gemstone rings, then opaque stones like opal, lapis and pearls, and then rings without stones.
  • Second, earrings, in the same order of materials. Working down the body, I do
  • Pendants and chains next, then
  • Brooches, pins and tie tacks, followed by
  • Bracelets, cuff links, and watches

I deviate from this order to keep sets of jewelry together. (The value of a set of jewelry can be different from the sum of the values of the individual items.) This arrangement of the jewelry lets the appraiser address the more challenging items during the beginning of the session, when the eyes are freshest, and leaves easier pieces for the end.

If you have access to Microsoft Word, you may wish to download and print a JbS Jewelry Inventory Form by clicking here: Download

6. Inventory Sterling Silver Flatware
  As a convenience to my clients, I can include 20th century sterling silver flatware in your jewelry appraisal. As I am not an expert in silver, I will refer you to a qualified specialist for hollowware and for antique silver flatware.

Many flatware patterns are inactive or obsolete. For insurance scheduling purposes, you will need to decide how you would replace the silver in case of a loss. You could wait for a remanufacturing date for inactive pattern, or you could replace with pre-owned pieces from the secondary market.
With obsolete patterns, you have a choice of replacing the silver from the secondary market or choosing a nearly identical substitute from the many active patterns available. At Jewels by Stacy we have a book showing hundreds of patterns to assist you in your decision.

You can make your own inventory of your silver flatware, or you can bring in the whole box! If you choose to save appraisal time by carrying out the inventory, inventory the pieces and bring in one full place setting, plus the serving pieces. (We do not appraiser silver hollowware, such as tea sets or trays.)
For help in identifying silver patterns and individual flatware pieces, search the databank of Silverwarehouse.

If you have access to Microsoft Word, I have two silver inventory forms you may wish to download and print. The short form covers most common silver pieces. The long form covers almost all possible pieces. Download one or both by clocking on the following links:

7. If you are mailing your jewelry to me
  Most people bring their jewelry to me for appraisal, but sometimes people mail their jewelry to me. Be sure to call me before you send me your jewelry to get special addressing instructions and to be sure I am expecting your package.

Most jewelry mailed within the United States is sent by insured registered mail. The US Postal Service has special requirements for packaging such packages. To illustrate how to prepare your package for mailing, I have posted special instructions. Click here to see instructions for Packaging Jewelry for Registered Mail.