When my grandmother passed away last year, I inherited part of her jewelry collection. While some pieces are treasured family heirlooms, others reflect my grandmother’s taste for the eccentric, flashy and – I’m sorry to say –slightly tawdry. (Sorry, Grandma, but we have different styles!)
Assured by family members that it was OK to sell these pieces (we’ve all seen those billboards and late-night TV commercials advertising gold resale), I needed a jewelry appraisal to determine their value.
My appraiser told me that recent skyrocketing gold prices may have substantially increased the values of my jewelry. Which is why many insurance carriers recommend an appraisal every three to five years; routinely getting appraisals helps ensure that your policy is providing adequate personal property coverage.
So, where can you find an appraiser? Unfortunately, just working in the jewelry industry doesn’t make someone a fair or accurate appraiser. Be wary of jewelers without accreditation or those who work out of temporary mobile offices.
Instead, choose an appraiser licensed by your state’s licensing board. The appraiser should also be an accredited member of a nationally recognized appraisal organization, such as The American Society of Appraisers, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and the Gemological Association of Great Britain (Gem-A). Ask to see credentials, and confirm that they are still valid.
Any reputable appraiser will charge a flat fee for his or her service. Never agree to a percentage fee based on the jewelry’s value. Not only is a percentage fee unethical, but it may result in an inflated assessment for your pieces.
Once you receive your appraisal, you should review your homeowners or renters insurance policy. A typical policy includes personal property protection that covers the loss of your belongings if they’re stolen or damaged. But many categories of coverage – like jewelry – have set a maximum dollar limit your insurance carrier will pay if an item is lost or stolen. If you have valuable jewelry, such as an engagement ring or other recently appraised gold pieces, it makes sense to review your coverage limits and make sure they’re enough.
I ultimately discovered that my grandmother’s gold jewelry was of some value, and I decided to keep her pieces rather than sell them. Gold prices may still have room to rise. And who knows? Maybe my style will change over time, too!