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When it comes to jewellery, regular appraisals are an absolute must. At European Goldsmith, we firmly believe in educating our customers and ensuring that they have the knowledge they need to protect their investment, and to make an informed decision on the long-term care of their precious pieces. For more than 20 years, our Kelowna jewellery store has been helping customers navigate the sometimes confusing world of diamonds and jewellery, including why jewellery appraisals are such an important, necessary investment.
The following is an excellent guide to appraisals, originally posted on jewelryappraisalservices.com. If you are looking to purchase jewellery or already own a piece (no matter the value!), please read the FAQ below and give us a call if you have any questions.
By far, the most important reason is for insurance purposes. Over the years, the value of your jewellery and gemstones can fluctuate greatly. If your last appraisal is over two years old, it may be out of date and, as a result, your jewellery may be insured for less than its replacement value. That means you risk a substantial financial loss if your jewellery is lost, stolen or damaged.
For your protection, we recommend you have your jewellery appraised every two years. You need accurate appraisal reports based on current market values so that you can obtain adequate insurance coverage. You may also want to determine the value or authenticity of your jewellery for estate and tax purposes, divorce settlements, donations and loans.
Though some merchants may offer you free appraisals with your purchases, it is advisable to have a “second opinion” to confirm the value of your jewellery. An independent appraiser will take the time necessary to write an accurate, in-depth appraisal that will help you avoid paying excessive premiums or underinsuring your jewellery. We bring in an independent jewellery appraiser. Therefore our reports are completely unbiased, whose only purpose is to provide you with accurate documentation and realistic replacement values.
Most homeowner’s insurance has a jewellery component with a modest limit, often around $6000. If you have a piece valued over that, you should have it scheduled separately. You also need to be diligent and read the fine print of your policy. You may be covered for up to $6000, for example, but the fine print may read “up to $1000 per piece”! Many insurers will not cover you for loss or damage unless you have your jewellery appraised and, in some cases, scheduled separately.
Each appraisal includes complete laboratory testing of your jewellery and an appraisal report for your records. The report contains such information as:
This is probably the most important question of all! An appraisal is an opinion. When you are having your jewellery appraised, you want the most educated, accurate, and honest appraiser you can find. GIA (Gemological Institute of America) is reputed to have among the most highly regarded standards in the world. Our appraisal clinics are performed by G.I.A. Graduate Gemologists using the industry’s most precise scientific instrumentation. Appraisals are based on current market values derived from a computerized networking system that constantly monitors prices through the industry and compares retail prices.
There are many appraisal labs out there that have become notorious for overstating the quality and therefore the value of a diamond. Why? Because then when you are comparing two diamonds from two different retail stores, the one overstated looks like a bargain! There are some diamonds, accompanied with appraisals from those “overstaters” that we will not allow into our store. Period. And neither should you allow them into your jewellery wardrobe, unless of course, you have them reappraised by someone reputable to determine the real quality and value.
Some appraisals, commonly seen in online sales, are abbreviated too, leaving out some less desirable characteristics and stating all the strong ones.
No. At our appraisal clinics, you do not have to leave your jewellery with us. Our gemologist will gladly appraise your jewellery while you watch, with an appointment. Your jewellery need not leave your sight. We also respect your privacy; all appraisals are strictly confidential.
Diamonds and other gemstones do not have to be removed from their settings during an appraisal. All lab tests are perfectly safe and will not damage or alter your jewellery in any way.
Charges are at a flat fee per item for each appraisal. This fee is based only on the time needed to perform the tests and calculations. Fees are in no way determined by the value of the jewellery. The cost of jewellery appraisals is $75 for the first piece and $60 for each additional piece.
During our appraisal clinics, we do require an appointment to ensure that the appraiser can do the necessary assessments while you wait and right in front of you. Most pieces take 20-30 minutes to assess.
You can pop in the store any time prior to the clinic and book in your jewellery with us, as you would if we were repairing it. We will then provide the appraiser with your jewellery at the appointment time we’ve set aside for you, and then return it to our safe until you can pop in again to pick it up.
Because diamonds can vary greatly in quality, it is a good idea to talk to an expert before making your purchase. We have built our business on teaching our customers the difference between the quality grades, so that you can be confident you are making a wise and beautiful purchase. We can show you how to recognize the characteristics that give them their value and how modifying your choice will change its value. This knowledge will help you make an informed decision.
In addition, the grading of diamonds is based on the opinion of the appraiser, which means that two diamonds may look identical on paper, but have very different characteristics in person. You will often hear people in the jewellery industry talk about the ‘fire’ within a diamond, and this is something that can only truly be assessed in person. There is more to diamond and jewellery education than some blog posts that break down the 4C’s (though that’s still a great place to start).
If you are in the market for a diamond engagement ring, we invite you to visit us at our Kelowna jewellery store, located 109 – 2900 Pandosy Street. Our family owned and operated business strongly believes in the education of our staff and, therefore, our customers. Our sales staff do not work on commission, so you can rest assured that you are getting the best information, while working with someone that respects your budget, style, and needs.