How to Get a Ring Appraised?
What would you do if something out of your control happened to your wedding ring? Something like damage, theft, a fire, or disappearance? You might have an insurance plan for it, but unless you have proof of an appraisal, you might not get enough money for a replacement.
Getting your ring appraised is an important part of caring for your ring. The problem is, not all appraisals are equal. To avoid wasting time and money, we've created a guide you can follow to get your ring appraised.
What Exactly Is a Jewelry Appraisal?
When you get a jewelry appraisal, you are taking your jewelry to an expert. This expert will describe its physical traits, assess its condition and quality, and assign a monetary value to it.
This appraiser will provide you with a detailed document describing your item. This serves as adequate proof for legal purposes or buying/selling purposes.
How Important Is It to Get My Ring Appraised?
If you inherit jewelry or anything made of precious metal or containing gemstones, the first thing you'll want to do is get it appraised. The second thing you'll want to do is use the appraisal to get it insured.
If you've just purchased an engagement ring, you may also want to seek ring appraisal for insurance purposes. Once the appraiser assesses the quality and value of the ring, you can assure that it's covered under your insurance plan.
Ring appraisals are also useful for other occasions, such as buying, selling, trading. They're also important for estate settlements, determining liquidation value for bankruptcy, and divorce settlements.
They can also help you understand more about your jewelry, especially if it's antique.
Do I Still Need an Appraisal if I Have a Receipt for My Ring?
If you've recently purchased your engagement ring or wedding ring, you may still have the receipt. You may have an online copy of that receipt as well, or proof in your bank history on how much you paid for it.
This is not sufficient for insurance purposes. To guarantee full insurance coverage for your ring, you need an appraisal.
It's good to keep these documents, in case the appraisal reveals that the seller was dishonest and you want to pursue a refund.
It's a good idea to get an engagement ring appraised when you buy it or give it to someone so that you can get it insured right away.
How Often Should I Get My Ring Appraised?
Insurance companies recommend that you get your ring appraised every five years. This is due to the fluctuation in market values of diamonds, other gemstones, and precious metals. It's a good idea to ask your insurance company if they have specific requirements for updates.
If you've invested a significant amount in diamonds, it's a good precaution to get your jewelry appraised every 20 months.
If you don't have a ring appraisal or you're not up to date on it, you could be spending more than necessary to insure your piece. You could also be underinsured, meaning you'll have additional out-of-pocket expenses to repair or replace your ring.
If you appraise your jewelry every five years, you can avoid overpaying for insurance. This will also make sure that you will get enough money for it, even as market values change.
How to Choose an Appraiser
Before getting an appraisal, you want to be certain what your purpose of the appraisal is. This will help you pick the right appraiser.
If you want your engagement ring appraised, you'll want to find an independent appraiser to determine the value of your ring. They must have training specifically in gem appraisal.
If you want to find out the value of an antique piece of jewelry or if your ring is vintage or has a history to it, you'll want to find an antique jewelry appraiser. They will have the right kind of knowledge to take things like rarity, origin, designer, and style into consideration. A gemologist might assign a lower value to such a ring, not knowing enough about the history.
If your ring contains a diamond that is notable or very expensive, you'll want to find an appraiser who has a lot of experience with diamonds.
You should be able to Google search for appraisers near you, or you might find one who works online. One way to look for appraisers is to contact one of the professional appraisal associations. Members of these associations are required to uphold ethical and professional standards.
What Qualifications Should an Appraiser Have?
There are no state or federal requirements for appraisal services. To make sure you're choosing someone who is qualified, look for someone who has a membership in a professional association. Some examples are:
- the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers
- the Jewelry Judge Network
- the American Society of Appraisers
- the Association of Independent Jewelry Valuers
These memberships provide education and training specific to appraisal. Being an organization member can show that the appraiser is passionate, and stays up-to-date on the industry.
Another good thing to look for is someone who has a gemology certification. A gemology certification is not the same thing as an appraisal certificate, but it shows how knowledgeable the appraiser is on gems.
Here are some examples of some of the top gemology programs:
- Gemological Institute of America (GIA)
- Gemmological Association of Great Britain (Gem-A)
- California Institute of Jewelry Training
- International School of Gemology (ISG)
- Diamond Council of America (DCA)
The Gemological Institute of America is the most prestigious program in the United States. The Graduate Gemologist (GG) credential is the highest credential in the program. They also offer shorter credential diplomas such as Graduate Diamonds (GD) and Graduate Colored Stones (GCS).
It's a good idea to research your appraiser's certification program. You'll also want to look at their reviews to find out if they have any complaints. If you have any questions about their credentials, you can call their program or association to ask for clarity.
For example, you may find an appraiser with a certificate from The International Gem Society (IGS). If you look into it, you'll find that they offer online certification for $350.
This is not a very comprehensive certification, and it doesn't provide appraisal-specific information. Yet, they could still be an expert appraiser, especially if they've taken other courses and have adequate experience.
It's important to find a quality, independent appraiser. They're thorough when it comes to specifying details in the documentation.
How Much Does a Jewelry Appraisal Cost?
This varies depending on the complexity of your item. A diamond appraisal cost for an engagement ring might be less than the appraisal cost for a necklace with different kinds of gems. This is because it takes more time to examine and appraise a higher number of gems.
Some professionals charge a flat fee, while others charge per hour. Those with higher credentials and more experience often charge more than someone with less expertise. It will usually cost around $50-$150.
If you chose a certified expert, you can save money in the long run. These appraisers will take care of all the documentation you need and they can give expert testimony if it's ever needed in court.
Things to Avoid
Not every appraiser will give you a truthful or accurate appraisal. Here are some things to avoid when seeking a jewelry appraisal.
1. Avoid Appraisals From Jewelry Stores or Appraisals Recommended by Sellers
Sometimes sellers offer a "free" in-house appraisal that a staff member will give you. In other cases, a seller will provide you with a free/discounted appraisal from a third-party appraiser.
In either case, there is a conflict of interest, and you cannot trust the appraiser to give an unbiased appraisal. Often, in-store appraisals will give you an appraisal that is much more than you paid for your ring. This way, it makes them seem like they gave you a great deal; they're banking on you coming back or recommending their business to others.
When a seller provides you with an appraiser, they're usually contracted with that person. That appraiser might seem independent, but they will often give over-estimated appraisals to make their employer look good.
You can only trust that your appraiser is impartial if they are independent. They cannot work for any jewelry companies. Even if you get your ring appraised by a different jewelry store than where you bought it, they still have business motivations to appraise it strategically.
2. Do Not Trust Appraisers Who Charge Based on the Price of Your Jewelry
If your appraiser charges more because you have a high karat gold ring, or high carat diamonds, it's a sign something is up. They probably have a conflict of interest. They're probably interested in either selling to you or buying from you.
3. Avoid Appraisers From Pawn Shops
Pawn shops are interested in obtaining jewelry to resell. They're likely to give you a low appraisal in the hope that you'll sell it to them much cheaper. In general, a good appraiser is not a jewelry retailer.
Jewelry Appraisal vs Jewelry Grading
What's the difference between jewelry appraisal and jewelry grading? An appraisal will give you a certificate containing detailed information on the jewelry, as well as an estimate of its value. A grading report focuses on the gemstone and describes its characteristics based on lab examination.
The GIA is the most respected provider of diamond grading reports. They have no financial stake in diamond sales, and they provide consistent grades.
Which One Is Better? Should You Get Both?
Getting a GIA diamond grading report will give you a more in-depth examination of your diamond than an appraisal. This is useful for identifying your diamond in case it gets stolen.
Often, when you purchase a diamond, it might come with a grading report. Getting a second grading report might give you a better understanding of your diamond's grade. Some people get diamond grading reports to determine how accurately the seller described the diamond.
When you take your diamond to an independent appraiser, it's a good idea to bring the diamond grading report if you have it. The appraiser can tell you if the report is accurate. It might help them with paperwork.
A lot of people search for "diamond appraisal GIA", but GIA does not appraise diamonds. They only grade them based on the 4C's.
For insurance purposes, you only need an appraisal. You don't need a grading report.
It's worth noting that not all diamond grading reports are the same. They can vary depending on the lab equipment and the gemologist's assessment.
Are There Grading Reports for Other Gemstones?
Nontraditional engagement rings are really popular right now. An increasing number of people choose to buy colored gemstone engagement rings instead of diamonds. You might wonder if GIA can issue a grading report on something like sapphire.
Currently, there isn't a standard grading report system for colored gemstones. There are many more variables with other gemstones. For example, a high-carat ruby might contain numerous inclusions, which would lower its grade, but its size makes it exceptionally rare and valuable.
An appraisal from an expert is the best way to determine the current market value for your colored-gemstone ring.
Even then, sapphire, ruby, and emerald rings can often fetch for much more than the anticipated value.
Do I Need Jewelry Insurance?
You should check with your homeowners or renter's insurance to see what their limits are on jewelry coverage. Many insurance agencies have low limits (i.e. $1,000) that may not cover the full cost of your engagement ring.
It's important to make sure your diamond ring, wedding band, or other jewelry is protected against damage and loss. To cover the full cost to replace it, you'll most likely need specific jewelry insurance. Known as a "rider" or "floater," it's a policy provision that adds benefits to your basic insurance policy.
How much does jewelry insurance cost? It can vary, but a good estimate is 1-2% of the jewelry's appraised value. For example, a $4,000 diamond ring might cost $40 per year to fully insure.
Ring Appraisal: A Simple Process if You Know the Guidelines
Getting your ring appraised can sound daunting, especially when you realize how easy it is to get deceived. It might seem easier to accept a free in-store appraisal, but you can easily find a certified independent appraiser online. Now that you know what to look for, you won't end up overpaying on insurance.
The greatest value of a ring is its sentimental value. We believe in helping customers find rings that they'll hold onto forever. For more information about ring care, check out our blog.