Perhaps you’ve heard a few popular bits of information about jewelry appraisals. Don’t believe everything you hear, though! There’s a lot of misinformation out there.
If you’re unaware of what is fact and what is fiction, your expectations might not be met. Or worse, you could get scammed.
Avoid this by learning about the common myths about jewelry appraisals and the truth behind them.
Myth: Appraising Jewelry Is Simple
TV shows might make jewelry appraisals look simple, but there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes. An appraisal involves research, laboratory tests, and evaluations. The appraiser will look at several factors that affect the value of a piece, such as metal composition, weight, grade, and whether or not the gemstone is lab-made or natural.
Because appraisals require in-depth knowledge of jewelry, gems, and even market conditions, appraisers are often certified gemologists. They may also have years of additional education under their belt as well as memberships in trade organizations. For instance, the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers has different membership levels, indicating varying levels of education and work experience.
Myth: Jewelry Consistently Appreciates
Jewelry sometimes decreases in value depending on market conditions, exchange rates, and fashion trends. Other contributors to the market value of a piece are its scarcity, quality, and brand.
For instance, there is a finite supply of genuine, fine, and unheated Burmese rubies. These rare stones are considered a solid investment by gemstone collectors, and jewelry adorned with them may hold their value even better than diamonds over time.
Myth: Jewelry Should Always Appraise the Same
A piece of jewelry can be valued differently as there are many kinds of appraisals meant for various purposes, and time and trends between appraisals can also affect this!
For example, appraisals for replacement jewelry insurance vary depending on the store that a piece is to be replaced at. Retail outlets have different overheads. If the overhead costs associated with replacing a piece through a specific store is high, they will value the piece higher.
Myth: Heirlooms Are Always Valuable
Unfortunately, just because a piece of jewelry is particularly old or has been handed down through generations doesn’t necessarily mean it’s more valuable. Also, if family knowledge tells you that your piece contains a rare, natural gemstone, but you don’t have an appraisal to back it up, be prepared to find out that it might not be as valuable as you believe.
Myth: Jewelers Can Switch Gemstones to Make Money
Some unscrupulous jewelers may this, but it happens so rarely that you have little to worry about. Generally, jewelers attract business through their reputation, so they have a lot more to lose than to gain from gemstone swapping.
If you’re still worried, there are ways to avoid having your gemstone switched. Only hire certified appraisers with a good reputation and know your gemstone’s inclusions well, as inclusions are as unique as a gemstone’s fingerprints.
Myth: A Purchase Price Lower Than the Appraisal Indicates a Bargain
Be wary of this as it could be a scam. The appraisal could be overstated or not suited to your local market conditions so as to convince you that you’re getting a good deal when you would likely be overpaying.
If the piece comes with an appraisal certificate “from a laboratory,” that’s an immediate sign that they’re likely not being truthful. Internationally recognized gemstone grading laboratories issue reports, not appraisals. Reports confirm the characteristics of a gemstone, but they don’t give its value.