Updated: Apr 22, 2021
There are several instances in which an appraisal is required. The first and most common is insurance coverage or Retail Replacement Value. This value is not necessarily what was paid for a piece nor the tag price, but the current retail value should it need to be replaced. Insuring your pieces for the proper value gives not only peace of mind, but allows you to feel secure knowing should something catastrophic happen such as fire, flood, theft, or loss, your pieces will be covered and can be replaced. Due to market conditions, this is a value that should be reevaluated every 3-5 years.
The second most common appraisal type is Fair Market or Estate Value. This is the value used to distribute an estate. While the same facts about the jewelry are included in an appraisal of this type, the value given is a percentage of wholesale.
Appraisals are also required for the dissolution of marriage, trusts, and wills. The values are all slightly different, so having an appraiser who knows which value to use for each application is imperative. Having an appraisal is also helpful should families want to divide jewelry or gemstones up evenly before a loved ones passing, a preemptive estate, if you will.
It is also helpful to have your pieces appraised, or at least assessed before attempting to sell. It is important to tell your appraiser why you need the piece valued so the correct estimate and advice can be given with respect to the asking price, etc.
A detailed appraisal by a knowledgeable appraiser is the difference-maker regarding all jewelry values and is imperative regardless of the reasoning behind that value. Bottom line: If you need a value, you need an appraisal.