Where to get a jewelry appraisal
Your first option is to check with your jeweler during the purchase process. A lot of times they offer this service for free or for a small additional fee. It’s at least worth asking. Just remember, a receipt is NOT an appraisal. You need someone, preferably with certified appraisal credentials, to provide an appraisal value. (More on those credentials soon.)
(Did you know there are different types of appraisal value? Don’t worry, your appraiser will know which one you need, but if you’re curious, check out our article, “The different types of appraisal values“)
Next option. If your jeweler does not have an onsite appraiser, they may partner with a jewelry insurance company that provides the service via software. So technically you are still in the jewelry store, but it’s the insurer offering the appraisal via software, not the jeweler. This won’t be an appraisal by a “credentialed” appraiser, but since the insurance company is the one that wants that, their software will work if you choose to insure through them. It probably wouldn’t be usable if you went with another insurer though.
Also, there are only two companies that we know offering appraisal software solutions to jewelers. They are Jewelers Mutual through their Zing® software, and Lavalier. Lavalier only partners with ~450 jewelers out of ~46,000 U.S. jewelers (source: IBIS) though, so it’s unlikely you’ll run across them. Others may be offering a similar service, but they aren’t as public in their promotion.
Where do I get an appraisal if my jeweler doesn’t offer it?
Some jewelers won’t have an appraiser onsite, and they won’t partner with an insurer that offers the service either. In this case, you’ll have to go elsewhere. But you’ll want to make sure the appraiser is credentialed by an organization that is respected and accepted by virtually all jewelry insurers. These organizations are: GIA, American Gem Society, or National Association of Appraisers.
Below are links to these organizations appraiser directories:
How much is the appraisal going to cost?
This question relies on a number of variables. The cost of living of your area, the complexity of your jewelry you’re having appraised, if it’s a modern or antique piece, etc. Some appraisers charge by the hour, or charge by the piece. The hourly rates we’ve seen range from $50-$150, and for a simple modern piece, about an hour should suffice. Other appraisers charge by the piece, and they may offer discounts if they are reviewing a collection of pieces versus just one.
The only thing to be certain of, is to avoiding appraisers that charge a percentage value of the appraised piece. It’s unlikely you’ll find an appraiser that does this, but if they do it should be a red flag. It provides distorted incentives for the appraiser to artificially inflate the value of your piece. It may be flattering to hear a high number, but at the end of the day that will be a higher premium to pay, and the actual cost to replace the piece will likely be much lower.
Want to learn more about the appraisal process? Check out our “How to appraiser your jewelry” page.