Preparing For Your Appraisal
||Clean Your Jewelry
||Your jewelry should be cleaned before it is appraised. A conscientious
appraiser will clean your diamonds and precious gemstones in order to make
the best possible estimate of their color and clarity under the already
significant restrictions of grading stones in their mountings. However, you
can save the appraiser’s time, and thus cut down on the cost of the
appraisal, by doing a good preliminary cleaning at home. I recommend
that you read "Cleaning Your Jewelry"
before cleaning your jewelry at home.
Inspect your jewelry and get any needed repairs.
||As you are cleaning the jewelry, check for loose stones, sharp prongs,
weak clasps, stretched-out strings on beads and
pearls, and any other indications that repairs may be needed. The
appraiser is obligated to point out any needed repairs on the appraisal. If
the appraisal is for insurance scheduling, you would then need to have the
repairs carried out, and show your insurance agent a receipt so stating. It
is not the insurance company’s function to pay for its client’s negligence
in keeping their jewelry in good repair. It is much less trouble to have the
jewelry in good repair before the appraiser inspects it. Should any
additional problems be noted, your appraiser will point them out.
Make an appointment
||Your appraiser may be booked up for a couple of weeks in advance. Be
sure to call for an appointment ahead of time, especially if your appraisal
involves numerous items. An appraisal by a trained professional appraiser is
a detailed documentation of your jewelry, including photographs. It should
not be done in haste. Do not wait until a few days prior to your insurance
company’s or attorney’s deadline to arrange for your appraisal!
Gather your documentation
||Just like real estate appraisal, jewelry appraisal is largely a
matter of research. However, real estate appraisers can look up past
sales in the public records. You are the source for sales records of
personal property such as jewelry. If you withhold documents at the
beginning of an appraisal, then produce them for consideration after the
appraisal is complete, the appraiser has every right to charge you for
the extra time it will take to re-check his original estimates. You will
not benefit in the end by playing "mind games" with your appraiser.
Get together any documentation that might be of use to the appraiser.
These establish a "paper trail" of your ownership history of the
jewelry, and may contain information that will speed up the appraisal
At Jewels by Stacy Appraisals, we make copies of significant documents
and keep them in your file for five years. This can be of great benefit
should your records be destroyed at the time that you suffer the loss of
- Sales receipts (best proof of ownership)
- Warranties (very important)
- Diamond or gemstone certificates from GIA, etc. (also very
- Old insurance summaries listing the jewelry
- Old appraisals (helpful if previous appraiser took stone
measurements, or examined stones before they were mounted)
- Letters, etc. with facts relating to the jewelry or its history
Make an inventory
||You can save even more time (and expense) by making an inventory of
the jewelry before you come in for your appointment. This will make it
easier for the appraiser during the take-in procedure. Personally, I
like to group jewelry in a standard way that makes it easy to locate on
the appraisal document. You can help by making your inventory in the
- Rings first, diamond rings followed by faceted gemstone rings,
then opaque stones like opal, lapis and pearls, and then rings
- Second, earrings, in the same order of materials. Working down
the body, I do
- Pendants and chains next, then
- Brooches, pins and tie tacks, followed by
- Bracelets, cuff links, and watches
I deviate from this order to keep sets of jewelry together. (The
value of a set of jewelry can be different from the sum of the values of
the individual items.) This arrangement of the jewelry lets the
appraiser address the more challenging items during the beginning of the
session, when the eyes are freshest, and leaves easier pieces for the
If you have access to Microsoft Word, you may wish to download and
print a JbS Jewelry Inventory Form by clicking here:
Inventory Sterling Silver Flatware
||As a convenience to my clients, I can include 20th century sterling
silver flatware in your jewelry appraisal. As I am not an expert in
silver, I will refer you to a qualified specialist for hollowware and
for antique silver flatware.
Many flatware patterns are inactive or
obsolete. For insurance scheduling purposes, you will need to decide how
you would replace the silver in case of a loss. You could wait for a
remanufacturing date for inactive pattern, or you could replace with
pre-owned pieces from the secondary market.
With obsolete patterns, you have a choice of replacing the silver from
the secondary market or choosing a nearly identical substitute from the
many active patterns available. At Jewels by Stacy we have a book
showing hundreds of patterns to assist you in your decision.
You can make your own inventory of your silver flatware, or you can
bring in the whole box! If you choose to save appraisal time by carrying
out the inventory, inventory the pieces and bring in one full place
setting, plus the serving pieces. (We do not appraiser silver
hollowware, such as tea sets or trays.)
For help in identifying silver patterns and individual flatware pieces,
search the databank of
If you have access to Microsoft Word, I have two silver inventory
forms you may wish to download and print. The short form covers most
common silver pieces. The long form covers almost all possible pieces.
Download one or both by clocking on the following links:
||If you are mailing your jewelry to me
||Most people bring their jewelry to me for appraisal, but sometimes
people mail their jewelry to me. Be sure to call me before you send me
your jewelry to get special addressing instructions and to be sure I am
expecting your package.
Most jewelry mailed within the United States
is sent by insured registered mail. The US Postal Service has special
requirements for packaging such packages. To illustrate how to prepare
your package for mailing, I have posted special instructions. Click here
to see instructions for
Jewelry for Registered Mail.