This is an issue that we have been grappling with for a while. “Back
in the day…” appraisals were often pretty loose, and often
over-inflated sales tools. Jewelers have become increasingly more
liable for the quality and contained on their appraisals.
For anyone who started out in this business as a designer/goldsmith,
this is not something that most of us anticipated (like
We do a Retail Valuation Certificate, for items purchased in our
store. If a customer has a designer piece that they purchased
elsewhere, AND I know the designer (so I can establish a true retail
value of the piece), I will do a Retail Valuation on an item like
that. MOST customers want an “appraisal” for their insurance company,
for an item that they just purchased from me. I hate doing them,
since it ties up so much of my time that I would rather be spending
at the bench, doing what I love. After looking at the ACCORD form, I
find that I am following MOST, but not all, of their requirements. I
don’t go into as much detail on proportions, other that to mention
that the stone is an Ideal cut, or similar description. I don’t have
a proportion scope in the store. Most of my stones are certified, so
I will note this on the Valuation. I use only Russian-cut melee, but
I don’t mention this on the Valuation either.
When I’m working on a $5000.00 mounting, for a $30,000.00 stone, it
is not so much of a problem to weigh melee, baguettes, etc. as I
work. It is more of a problem for $1000.00 ring, especially when the
customer expects to get this service for free. I do include this
certificate with the price of the piece ONLY when the piece has a
retail value of over $7500.00 AND the stones were purchased from me.
Under $7500.00, we charge a modest $40.00. I looked at he Retail
Receipt that ACCORD suggested, but that would be a monster for most
of the jewelry that we sell. We give a VERY descriptive receipt, but
not as descriptive as the ACCORD model. Customers would not wait long
enough after the sale anyway, for us to fill out such a lengthy form.
My sales receipt also states (in the fine print at the bottom) that
custom designs do not include the right to reproduction. If a piece
of jewelry should become lost or damaged, the customer MUST return it
to me if they want a repair or replacement. If the insurance company
tries to have it copied elsewhere, I will take action.
I would question the JRCS view that insurance valuations should be
done by someone else other that the shop or designer who made the
piece. How would they know what went into the design and creation of
the piece? This would be like having someone else decide the price of
a surgeon’s bill or an architect’s drawings. I should mention that I
ONLY do Valuations on my work, or work that I am familiar with AND
qualified to appraise. I don’t appraise antiques or commercial
jewelry. I am also a GG, with appraisal training.
I would like to hear from you, and others, regarding how you price
your appraisals. Do you include it in the price of your piece? Some
pieces? David Geller states in his “Repair Pricing Guide” that he
includes the appraisal at No Charge with every piece sold directly
from the showcase.He suggests charging $65.00 for the first
appraisal, and $35.00 for each additional appraisal. I don’t think
that I am willing to grade, test, measure, weigh, and describe every
gemstone in a mounting PROPERLY for only $65.00, and become liable
for any errors or perceived errors. My attorney charges $150.00 just
to write a letter, and there’s no liability assumed there.
35 N. Market St.
Frederick, MD 21701