Frequently Asked Questions

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Here you can find answers to some frequently asked questions:

How do I select a jewelry appraiser?
Under current law, no licensing or particular qualifications are required by the government for jewelry appraisers. There are many titles, some of which require extensive training, and others with few if any requirements. Always ask what testing and training the appraiser has undergone to achieve the title. Titles and qualifications to look for are:

  • Accredited Senior Appraiser (ASA) of the American Society of Appraisers. Their advanced designation in Gems and Jewelry is Master Gemologist Appraiser®.

  • The jewelry appraiser should also be a Graduate Gemologist (GG) of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), or an FGA of the Gemological Institute of Great Britain. A gemological degree grants assurance that the individual can identify and grade gem materials. However, it does not by itself provide the training necessary to be a proficient jewelry appraiser.

  • Ideally, the appraiser should also have a background in the jewelry market.

  • Be sure that the appraiser has a GIA graded Master Set of genuine diamonds for color grading. A CZ set is not adequate!

What do you appraise?
I appraise all jewelry, gemstones, watches, bullion coins, U.S. coins and silver flatware.

Do I need an appointment?
Yes, I work by appointment only.

Where are you located?
I am in Walnut Creek near the intersection of Treat Boulevard & Bancroft Road.

How does an appraisal work? What is the process?
When you make an appointment, I will send you a confirmation e-mail containing driving directions to my office. You may sit in my office and watch me appraise your jewelry, or you may leave it with me and return for it later. When I have finished inspecting, describing and photographing your jewelry you can take your jewelry home. I may need additional time to research values and prepare your appraisal report, but you and your jewelry do not have to be present for that. When the report is complete I will send it to you in a PDF file. You can then print as many copies as you like. You can also send it to your insurance agent or other appropriate user by e-mail.

  • I will clean your jewelry, point out needed repairs, and test the metal for content and karatage (fineness of metal).

  • I will test your gemstones authenticity, measure their size, estimate their weights and grade and plot the stones as appropriate.

  • I will photograph your jewelry.

  • I will prepare the appraisal document as appropriate to its purpose and intended use.

Do you do on-site appraisals?
Yes I do, but I charge by the day for work outside my office, as I can’t book other appointments on that day. Most people do not need a full day of my services and find it more economical to visit me in my office.

What does an appraisal cost?
I charge by the hour, so the cost of your appraisal will depend on the number and complexity of the pieces you wish to have appraised. When you call me for an appointment, I will ask you to describe your items. At that time I will be able to give you an estimate of the time required. You can see my hourly rates by clicking here.

Note: A professional appraiser should charge for services by the hour, by a specified amount per piece of jewelry, or for a contracted amount based on an estimate of the time involved. Keep in mind that time will be spent on market research and appraisal writing after the laboratory work is done. In no event should you deal with an appraiser who charges a percentage of value of the jewelry.

Do you sell jewelry, diamonds, watches, etc?
No, I do not. I am an independent appraiser, and do not want to compete with jewelers who, after all, refer many of their clients to me. I do advise buyers when they are making a purchase.

Do you buy jewelry?
No, I do not buy jewelry from the public, but I do help people sell their jewelry.

How can you help me sell my jewelry?
To most people selling jewelry, I provide a quality analysis document that the seller can use in the selling process. For example, if one were selling a diamond ring on eBay, it can be very helpful to have a professional evaluation of the color, clarity, cut and carat weight of the diamond. I will tell the seller what the piece should sell for, but I recommend leaving the price off the document. If your prospective buyers see an appraisal with a recommended selling price of $5000, they will probably offer $2500 at most. I will provide you with photographs, which you can use in your offer to sell. I will also get a provisional offer to buy from one or more jewelry dealers. You will know for sure that you should not accept an offer below the dealer’s provisional offer.

What if I can’t get as much as the dealer’s provisional offer?
I would be glad to accept the jewelry on consignment and sell it to the dealer on your behalf. You would sign a consignment form authorizing me to ship the item for a firm offer. I will take responsibility for it and ship it overnight, insured to the dealer. Usually I have a firm offer within 2 days. If you accept the offer, you will receive a check from me as soon as I am paid by the dealer—usually within 10 days. My consignment fee is 10% of the realized value.

What if I don’t want to sell the jewelry myself? Can I just consign it to you?

Why is it important to know the purpose of the appraisal?
Every appraisal is for a specific purpose. If you want an insurance appraisal, you need to insure your jewelry for enough money to buy a replacement from the type of store you typically shop in. You do not want your Tiffany engagement ring replaced at Joe’s Pawn Shop.

If you need an estate appraisal, there are government regulations that specify the definition of value that must be used. There are many types of appraisals and the purpose determines the definition of value. See a more through explanation at my About Appraisal page.

What about confidentiality?
I conform to professional standards that require all confidential information I receive in the course of an appraisal be kept private and not disclosed to third parties without your consent. The only exception is if disclosure is required by force of law.

I do not sell my mailing list or the email addresses of my clients, and send out only occasional notices when I think they would be beneficial to you—such as a reminder to update your appraisal periodically.

What payment methods do you accept?
I accept cash, check or PayPal. You can use your credit card to pay me through PayPal, but I am not set up to accept credit cards directly.

How do I prepare jewelry for mailing?
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.