jewelry appraisalIt should be understood by our clients that an appraisal is not an all inclusive document; rather, there are many specific types of appraisals suited for different needs. The five most common types of appraisals are:

INSURANCE APPRAISAL: Appropriate for a client who wishes to insure their gems, jewelry, watches and silverware against damage, loss or theft, with the appraisal reflecting the retail cost to replace any of the items in ‘like quality’ or new condition. It is the most detailed type, and usually includes a picture of the item(s).

ESTATE or INHERITANCE APPRAISAL: To determine the fair market value of items of jewelry, gems, watches and silverware for the purpose of state and federal estate tax liability.

The definition of fair market value as set forth in the Internal Revenue code is as follows: “The price(s) at which this item(s) would change hands between a willing buyer and willing seller, neither being under any compulsion to buy or sell and each having the relevant facts” (i.e., the price in the market place in which this item(s) are most commonly sold to the public).

HYPOTHETICAL APPRAISAL: The values and descriptions are based on the information received from the customer in as much detail as possible. The item is ‘presumed,’ and has never been viewed by the appraiser. The information contained here, however, gives an accurate enough view to make the valuation possible.

WRITTEN OFFER TO BUY: The item(s) are listed with enough description to identify the piece to the client with price(s) which represent a formal offer of purchase by Ballew’s or Reussilles’.

DISTRIBUTION OF ASSETS: The item(s) are listed with enough of a description to identify the item to the client with price(s) that realistically represent the fair market value of the item(s). Similar to an Estate Appraisal, but best used for distribution of pieces of jewelry without a death being involved.

In any appraisal, there are a few important points to keep in mind:

Any appraisal report is an opinion and valuation of the characteristics of the appraised articles, and not a guarantee of values, since opinions may reasonably vary as to characteristics and values;

Weights and measurements for mounted stones are approximate, unless otherwise noted. All estimated weights have been determined by measurement and formula. For more tips to getting an appraisal, read this:

We recommend that you give a Photostat copy of your appraisal to your insurance company and keep the original along with any pictures in a safe place;
We also recommend that you have the jewelry you regularly wear checked every 6 to 12 months. We would be pleased to clean and check your pieces of jewelry as a free service;

We will update your appraisal at a fee of $5.00 per article, with a minimum of $25.00, provided the update is performed within 5 years of the date of the original appraisal. Pieces of jewelry purchased through us will be updated without charge;

If you do have a loss, most policies give the insurance company the option of paying you in cash for the damage incurred, or replacing the article with `like quality’. You should state that it must be replaced with exactly the same quality as described in the appraisal. Make it clear that you want to have it checked by a Certified Gemologist Appraiser to verify that it is exactly the same quality.