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[Opal] appraisal


#1

A good appraisal will always identify the market the item was
placed and the approach to valuation. This isn’t my opinion,
it is from the Appraisal Institute’s Uniform Standards of
Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).

Real property (real estate) appraisers are testing on this as a
matter of law. Personal property appraisers (including jewelry)
may be tested as part of an ASA/ISA training course. Many
organizations also offer USPAP-only courses and tests many times
per year.

You can look for an appraiser who has taken USPAP (it is updated
every year, so you have to keep taking the new test) test. Those
people are likely to advertise the fact, and say in their
literature that they “adhere to the standards and practices as
described in USPAP.”

Furthermore, if one wants more about how one’s opal
was priced for the appraisal, (though it should all be documented
in the report), one needs only to ask during the appointment, or
later with a follow up phone call.

Despite the good work of the Antiques Roadshow, many people are
not adequately informed about what an appraisal is and includes.

Though gemologistsalone may be able to identify the opals,
without appraisal training the valuation of the opal is very
subjective and in a lot of cases the appraisal is done in a way
that you can not trace the methodology used to value the item.

I would remind eveyone again that you need someone who is a
gemologist and has appraisal training, and USPAP, and has
experience with opals, or has an opal expert with who to consult.

(Why not go directly to the opal expert yourself? Because then
you would have a verbal opinion, not a written appraisal, and not
a gemological evaluation.)

-Elaine


#2

A good appraisal will always identify the market the item was
placed and the approach to valuation. This isn’t my opinion,
it is from the Appraisal Institute’s Uniform Standards of
Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).

Valuation theory is taught beyond the groups mentioned by
Elaine–she brings up some good points, but also some that are
not universally agreed upon. USPAP is designed for federally
related appraisals and not insurance appraisals for personal
property. While USPAP does address personal property and the
guidelines are foundationally correct, they are still being
modified. The basics of Valuation theory are also being taught
by the American Gem Society (AGS) as well as other groups. AGS
stores have an advantage in the market as they are deeply
entrenched in the retail and wholesale business and see the
transactions of everyday commerce. As an ISA member and AGS
member and independent appraiser I can state that there are just
as many ASA (I know quite a few of those well), ISA and AGS
people who still provide an incomplete report with improper
documentation. The questions Elaine brings out are important
but don’t expect all the appraisers that you talk with to pay
attention to the important details–many take the classes and go
on doing what they have always done (unfortunately)–and doing
it wrong. Elaine’s points about methodology and valuation
pruposes are right on!! However, I for one do NOT state that I
adhere to USPAP due the fiduciary liability they espouse (which
is counter to law in most states unless one takes on the
liability) and since the functions are federal, USPAP seldom
applies. I bring this up since I would differ with Elaine–you
don’t need someone who has agreed to follow USPAP. Appraisal
science is a growing specialty–what we know now will change and
evolve. However, there are a number of those trying to do it
right.