A quick Google search for appraisers will show that there are plenty of companies out there willing to pass judgment on your jewelry; how can you make sure your engagement ring appraisal is on the up and up? You want an accurate appraisal so you don’t underinsure (or overinsure) your ring. If you see one of these red flags, turn and run the other way!
The appraiser doesn’t have the proper training.
A Graduate Gemologist from a certified organization like the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) knows plenty about the specifics of gemstone grading and gem identification. But he or she may not have any knowledge of appraisal methodology, market research, report writing, or compliance with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP). There is more to an engagement ring appraisal than identifying and describing your jewelry. You want to find an appraiser who is trained in valuation science and understands the marketplace for your item. Look for someone who has been specifically trained in the art of appraisal. A gemologist-appraiser will give you the best of both worlds. Contact the American Society of Appraisers, the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers, or the International Society of Appraisers to find one.
The cost is based on the appraiser’s findings.
The cost of an appraisal should be based on how long it takes the appraiser to do the evaluation, how complicated the jewelry is, and how much experience the appraiser has. Before you agree to an engagement ring appraisal, ask if there is a minimum fee. Does the appraiser charge a flat rate for all items? Does he charge by the hour? You don’t want someone who will charge you based on a percentage of the appraised value. In that case, the higher he values your jewelry, the more you’ll have to shell out for the appraisal! It’s a clear conflict of interest.
The appraiser tries to buy your jewelry – or sell you something.
The person who appraises your jewelry should give you a completely unbiased opinion of what it’s worth. If he’s looking to score a great deal for himself, it’s in his best interest to tell you it’s not worth much. In some cases, a shyster may say you’ve been duped by whomever sold you the jewelry, and offer to sell you a ‘real’ diamond for a ‘bargain price!’ Yeah, right. The only transaction you should be doing with a jewelry appraiser is paying for an appraisal of the item you have brought in.
While it may make you feel good to think you got a ‘steal of a deal’ on an engagement ring, a hyperinflated appraisal is bad for everyone in the long run. Your insurance company will be less likely to approve an obviously inflated appraisal, and you’ll have to pay higher premiums based on the artificial value of your item. As usual, honesty is the best policy, so look for an appraiser you can trust.
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