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For those interested the JVC Appraisal Standards Task Force
Guidelines for the US jewelry industry are available free of
charge on my web site as I was one of the contributing members
to this over two year effort . It should be read by anyone in
the retail jewelry business who tries to write an appraisal.

Could you please post to the list the URL for your site
mentioned in your message? Thanks bunches.

Joel Kahn <@Joel_Kahn>
Comptroller for Maxon’s Jewelers
Diamond Merchants & Estate Jewelers
2622 S Glenstone, Springfield Missouri 65804 USA
Voice: 417-887-1800 or 417-887-1809
Fax: 417-887-3422

URL is

Adamas Advantage Software: for Gemology, Mineralogy, Inventory
SAS2000 Spectrophotometer Analysis System For Diamond Color
Grading, Diamond Synthetic And Treatment Detection, And General
Gemstone ID Software Demos And Grading Issues at Email Martin Haske
mailto:@Martin_Haske for more information

I need to have a ring appraised in the Temple, TX area. (Area
code 76502) I want someone that I can trust, and someone that is
reasonable. (Trust is more important.) To start with, it will be
a single ring; however, this could lead to many appraisals in the
near future, as I would be interested in knowing what the value of
my creations would be. Any help would be greatly appreciated, as
well as anything to look out for. (If at all possible, the rings
will NEVER leave my sight.) Thanks in advance!

Dwain Coufal
Temple, TX

You can call 1-800-ASAVALU, for the American Association of
Appraisers, a National Organization which happily gives referrals
to its members. You could also call the International Association
of Appraisers (personal property only) in Washington State. ASA
includes personal property and real property (real estate), when
you call, tell them your area and they give you everybody in your
area (no playing favorites). Your appraiser should have their
G.G. (Gradute Gemologist Diploma) from GIA, or their FGA (Fellow of
the Gemological Association/Great Britan). This is not negotiable.
I like to see membership in ASA, ISA. That’s not really
negotiable either. You want an independent appraiser, who does
not made, buy or sell jewelery. Someone who makes thier living
exclusively from appraisal work. Ask your friends for referrals,
check the yellow pages, then call a few places and ask questions.

Most appraisers do the work in front of you, that’s why the work
is done by appointment. When I worked as an appraiser, I once had
an appointment that lasted five hours.

Now, the fact that you want your own stuff (that you made)
appraised…you should get a trade discount/trade price, in my
opinion. What is your work like? Some appraisers are not fully
educated on the contemporary crafts market. As you know,
contemporary crafts/studio made jewelry is valued diferently and is
sold in a diferent market. So I would ask as you called around,
have they worked with contemp. crafts, are they familiar with the
market, etc. Would they charge you research time to research your
market if they are unfamiliar with it? (They shouldn’t charge to
familiarize themselves, though it would be perfectly acceptable, to
do research to accurately price your particular piece.)

Some places give you a better price for volume, so you might want
to tell them you have a whole slue of stuff.

Curious…what is this for? Are you just curious? Do you want
to use the appraisal as a sales tool? To make sure you’re pricing
right? Would not an accountant be better? Or a jewelry associate
you could have consult with you? Anyway, that’s my two cents on
appraising, please let us know how it works out, and good luck.

Chicago, Illinois, US

It’s probably not a bad idea to find someone that is acredited by
a recognized appraisal association, i.e. A.S.A. (American Society
of Appraisers). This way the appraiser is compelled to work within
the legal and ethical provisions of USPAP (Uniform Standards of
Profesional Appraisal Practice). USPAP was established by the
government to prevent questionable appraisal practices, like not
being able to qualify your sources for value, not establishing the
use and intent of the appraisal (resale vs. insurance replacement,
etc.), and use of due diligence (did the appraiser actually use all
realistic means to determine value?).

I know this seams like a lot, but welcome to the anally retentive,
politically correct, legal concious '90s.


I operate a small “Mom and Pop” jewelry store. Occasionally I am
called upon by a regular customer to do a jewelry appraisal for
insurance purposes–on a piece of jewelry I did not sell. My
question is: Should only GIA or AGS trained people do such
appraisals? Also, are there any good books out there on the basics
of appraising? My thanks for any suggestions!

 Should only GIA or AGS trained people do such appraisals?  Also,
are there any good books out there on the basics of appraising?  My
thanks for any suggestions! 

All GIA or other such lab will do is provide and
documentation on a stones quality. They do not put a value on the
item. There are as many good books on the subject of appraisals as
there is on bench work. The problem is that appraising demands a
broad knowledge that does not come easily. I compare appraisals to
bench work in this way; technically anyone with two hands and two
eyes and a brain should be able to size a ring, but it doesn’t mean
they can do it well or efficiently. You should depend on someone
who does this work professionally.

One possible solution would be to find an independent appraiser who
could come to your store once every month or so to do an appraisal
clinic. It is a great way to bring customers into your store and
increase the professionalism of your business. There are about 100
appraisers listed in the JCK directory under estate appraisers
alone. It may take some work to find someone, but it will be worth


GIA and AGS trained persons have the ability to authenticate what
and item may be as to natural or synthetic, etc, but that does not
make them an appraiser. You should get appraisal training with one
of many organizations like ASA, ISA, etc. As to books there are a
few: The Practical Guide to Jewelry Appraising by Cos Altobelli,
Effective Insurance Appraising by Ralph Joseph, The Professional’s
Guide to Jewelry Insurance Appraising, by Geolat-Northrup-Federman.
I hightly recomend that you read one or two of these before you write
any more appraisals. Good luck. jbd

Hello Dale, You should take on appraisals on an individual basis.
First, ask yourself if you really know the current market value of
the piece(s) in question. Then, ask yourself if you are willing to
back up your appraisal in court. Ask your client what are the risks,
and liabilities that you face if you are wrong. The piece of paper
that you sign for “insurance” purposes may end up in Tax audits. Some
situations require two appraisals (different appraisers) and it would
be a good idea if you suggest that your client get a separate
opinion, for Tax purposes. Letters after your name may add
credibility in case you need to defend your opinion, but it is
really about confidence and experience. It wouldn’t hurt if you
checked with your State to see if there are any special laws for the
type of appraisal you intend to do. Otherwise, all you need is a
letterhead, a good loupe, and a killer attorney. Hope this helps, Will Estavillo


Will Estavillo raised some important points: an appraisal is a legal
document, so are you willing to back it up in court? Also,
appraisals are required for different reasons: for insurance, for
tax purposes, or for someone wanting to sell a piece of jewelry.
These are not all exactly the same.

In my store, I am often asked to supply an appraisal for a piece
that I made, for insurance purposes. I need to state, in detail,
exactly what the piece is, and its replacement value in my store.
The last three words are important. It says that I am willing to
replace this item for the amount stated. This is not some inflated
value that makes the customer think that they got a great deal. It
is not what the piece would be sold for at another store. It is
replacement value for my work in my store.

I am also asked to write appraisals for items made by other
designers. If I know the designer, I can simply contact them to
determine the replacement value. If it is a catalog item, and I know
where I can get a replacement, it is easy to determine the value. If
it is a piece that I can create (without violating someone’s
copyright), using my tools, materials, and experience, I can give a
value that I would be willing to receive to replace this item. If
there are stones that I can identify, and I can determine their
replacement value, I feel comfortable writing an appraisal.

If someone bring in items that I am not familiar with, or antique
pieces that I do not know the true value of, or items containing
gemstones that I am not 100% sure that I can identify or replace, I
DON’T DO THE APPRAISAL. I send it to a qualified appraiser. This is
a legal document, not just a wild guess. Stick to what you know, and
leave the rest to someone you trust who can stand behind their

I have seen a lot of poor appraisals written, and you may get away
with it for a long time. Remember, it only takes one poor appraisal
that goes to court to ruin you. It is not worth the risk. The
courts, and the insurance companies, seem to really like to go after
jewelers…they think we’re all crooks. They are the ones you’re
really writing the appraisal for, not the friendly person who is
standing across the counter.

Doug Zaruba

Hello to all I have been reading your posts and learning much from
all the talented people on this site. It is now my turn to attempt
to assist you with a problem. There has been much well meaning, but
incorrect material concerning appraisals lately. The post stating
that an appraisal must be made according to its intended purpose is
correct. I recently retired as the director of a state insurance
fraud unit and have many years of experience in dealing with
insurance problems. Insurance policies are written in many
different ways. Many state that they will pay the “actual cash
value” of an item. This is usually taken as being the amount a
willing buyer would have to pay a willing seller for the exact same
item being replaced. This means in the same condition, etc. Not a
new item for an old one. Other policies state that they will pay the
"replacement value" of the item. This is what it will cost you to
replace with the exact same, to the closest degree possible, item as
that which is lost. Now, insurance companies also place limits on the
items. If a ring is insured for $5,000.00 then this is the most the
insurance company will pay. They will not hand you this amount in
cash unless it is less than they can replace the item for and this
is not likely. If the item to insured for $5,000.00 is a worn out
piece of junk then the insurance company will not insure it.
Homeowners insurance has been mentioned. Most insurance companies
now prefer to write your coverage based upon the replacement cost of
the building. If the replacement cost is $100,000 but the actual
cash value is only $75,000 then they will not insure it. There is
too much chance of the building being sold with a match when the
replacement cost and actual cash value differs by a large amount. The
same is true of jewelry. If the actual value of the item is scrap
price (the example of the used wedding band) then the insurance
company will not insure for replacement value. The condition will
mean much to the company as to how much, and if, they will insure
it. Now, this may sound like a lot of double talk, and to some
degree, it is. In truth the company will normally be able to
replace the item with “like kind and quality” (the best possible,
not necessarily an exact copy, check your policy) for far less than
you can do so. They have contracts with jewelry companies that
specialize in this work and they sell for a much lower margin than
does a normal store front jeweler. They do not have the horrible
business expenses you have. Also they merely profit from the
additional sales that are not known to the public. If I can provide
anything else please contact me off line as this is getting too
long. Lewis F. Elrod, CFE (Certified Fraud Examiner)