You may want a jewelry appraisal for several reasons: to make sure that your jewelry isn’t underinsured, to see how the value has changed over time, or to assess the value of a previously owned piece of jewelry that you’ve purchased or been given. “Where can I get my jewelry appraised?” is one of the most common questions we hear at Lavalier, so we’ve compiled a set of guidelines to use when selecting a jewelry appraiser. Start your search by focusing on jewelers who have top-notch credentials. Each of the following gemological associations offers highly respected courses in gem identification and valuation. Use their online databases to locate professionals in your area who have the appropriate education.
American Gem Society (AGS)
The American Gem Society offers courses in both gemology and appraisal. Members of the American Gem Society may be registered jewelers (RJ), certified gemologists (CG), certified gemologist appraisers (CGA), or independent certified gemologist appraisers (ICGA). You’ll want an appraiser with either CGA or ICGA after his/her name, as that indicates the person is experienced in both gemology and appraisals. Find an American Gem Society appraiser near you.
Gemological Institute of America (GIA)
The Gemological Institute of America is a non-profit gem research institute that is “dedicated to protecting the public by providing education and objective, unbiased gem evaluations.” They offer several courses for aspiring appraisers, but the most comprehensive is the Graduate Gemologist program. If an appraiser tells you that he or she is a GIA gemologist, ask which program he or she completed. You want someone who has finished a program rather than just one or two classes. GIA gemologists should be able to analyze and grade your diamonds, gemstones, pearls, and precious metals. Use the GIA Alumni Online Directory to find a graduate near you.
Gemmological Association of Great Britain (Gem-A)
Gem-A is the oldest established gemological teaching organization. Although they are based in Great Britain, they are internationally recognized experts in gemology, and graduates work all over the world. The most advanced graduates can apply to the Fellowship of The Gemmological Association or to become a Diamond member of The Gemmological Association. These appraisers will have FGA or DGA after their names; you can find a list of members on the FGA and DGA Register.
Remember that experience is invaluable when it comes to appraising jewelry. Ideally, look for an appraiser who has a combination of experience and education. If you’re evaluating several pieces or a high-value item, don’t be afraid to ask for references. Ask about educational background in both gemology and appraisal techniques – a good gemologist doesn’t necessarily make for a good appraiser. Use one of the tools above to find a qualified appraiser, so you can feel confident in your jewelry valuation.