Inhereting antique jewelry

How to Value Inherited Jewelry

Posted by Grogan Jewelers By Lon on Aug 16, 2021 9:00:00 AM

In antique jewelry

Whether you are planning to sell or hang on to your inherited jewelry, one of your first priorities should be to have it assessed to find out what it's worth.

If you've decided to sell your inherited jewelry, getting a professional appraisal can help you understand what you may be able to list it for. On the other hand, if you choose to keep it and either wear or for its sentimental value or stow it away for safekeeping, you'll want to have it appraised so you can obtain the correct amount of insurance coverage on it.

Age Isn't an Indicator

The pieces that you inherited are most likely to be vintage, and you may assume that the piece's age alone may impart an inherent value. However, that's not always the case. For example, if it's fallen out of fashion, wasn't a high-quality piece to begin with, or the workmanship isn't up to standard, it will still be of less value despite its age.

The market prices of precious metals and gemstones can also change over the years, which is another reason to get your inheritance professionally appraised, even if your beloved relative had previously obtained an appraisal. What the piece was worth even a few years ago may have increased or decreased depending on the current market for the stones or materials it's comprised of.

What to Look for in an Appraiser

While walking into a jewelry store may seem like a good place to start, keep in mind that while anyone can say they can appraise your jewelry, nothing is farther from the truth. When looking for a reputable appraiser, here are some tips to keep in mind.

  • Reputation: A reputable jewelry appraiser should have verifiable gemological training, i.e., be a Gemological Institute of America graduate.
  • Association: They should be associated with one of the many professional jewelry appraisal associations (you can find one in your region or area of focus via an online search).
  • Training: Do they have any professional jewelry appraisal training, and can they verify it?
  • Experience: What is their experience level with appraisal, and what is their area of expertise?
  • Conflicts: You should find out if the appraiser you are considering is independent or employed any party that may be a conflict of interest; for example, someone who wants to buy your jewelry
  • Reviews: Make sure you check out any online reviews that they may have or referrals from others who may have had their jewelry appraised before.
  • References: You may also want to ask for references; can you contact others who have had their jewelry appraised with them?
  • Fees: Ask what their appraisal fee is, and avoid any who charge a percentage of the value of the piece itself.

What Your Appraisal Should Include

What should be included in your jewelry appraisal report? According to the American Society of Appraisers, a qualified jewelry appraisal should include the following elements.

  • State clearly the reason for the appraisal (insurance coverage, estate distribution, etc.)
  • Specify and define the type of value provided (replacement cost, fair market value, marketable cash value, etc.)
  • Include the effective date of the appraisal
  • State any issues that limited the appraiser's ability to perform an accurate assessment
  • Describe the jewelry in detail appropriate to the type of appraisal performed
  • Have photos of each item
  • Put a dollar value on each piece of jewelry appraised
  • Explain the methods used to determine the value
  • Have the appraiser's signature and contact information included
  • Describe the appraiser's qualifications

What else can a jewelry appraiser help me with?

Beyond providing you with an appraisal report, a reputable appraiser may also be able to provide you with additional information or options that can help you get the most out of whatever you have planned for your inherited jewelry.

  • Ideas on how to potentially repair, modify or rework your piece for more value, beauty, or function.
  • Insight into the jewelry market and information on what's trending or currently popular.
  • Tips on how to properly care for, store, or wear your jewelry so that it retains its value and beauty.
  • Reputable ways to market and price your jewelry should you choose to sell.

Jewelry Appraisals in Nashville, Franklin, and Brentwood

A qualified professional is your best resource for determining the value of any pieces that you may have inherited. To find an appraiser to work with, start by contacting one of the major industry associations that focus on jewelry appraisal and do the recommended homework to ensure you are working with one of the good ones!

Because jewelry prices tend to fluctuate based on market values, you should get your jewelry reappraised every few years to ensure your insurance policy is up to date. If you ever decide to sell your inherited jewelry, knowing its value will also help you set a fair asking price for it.

If you live in the Franklin, Nashville, or Brentwood areas and are looking for jewelry appraisals near you, contact us at Grogan Jewelers by Lon at (615) 716-8626. At our Cool Springs location, we carry on the same tradition of excellence we have had since our founding in 1915!