Do you have fine jewelry pieces you’re thinking about selling? Or do you need to learn the value of the jewelry you own for insurance or tax planning purposes?
If they’re worth a decent amount of money, you might want to know how to get a jewelry appraisal. Notably, there is a lot to understand about the different ways to learn the value of your gold, diamonds and other fine jewelry pieces.
We’ll share what you need to be aware of and where you should look to get an accurate value on your jewelry.
In This Article
- What to Know Before Having Jewelry Appraised
- Jewelry Appraisal vs. Lab Report
- What is a Certified Jewelry Appraiser?
- Where to Get Your Jewelry Appraised
- Appraised Value vs. Retail Value
- Best Places to Sell Your Jewelry
What to Know Before Having Jewelry Appraised
There are several things you should try and find out before you have your jewelry appraised. Knowing details about your jewelry pieces will help you tell whether an appraisal is realistic.
Is Your Diamond Mined or Lab-Created?
The origin of your ring’s gemstone is important, especially if it’s a diamond. Cubic Zirconia (or CZ as it’s often referred to) stones often pass as real diamonds. However, a jeweler can easily spot them.
At home, you can perform several tests to see if your diamond is real or fake.
The Fog Test
Real diamonds won’t fog up for long when you breathe on them. If you breathe on your diamond and the fog only lasts for one or two seconds, it’s probably real.
However, if the fog lasts for three seconds or longer, most likely it’s fake.
The Loupe Test
Most CZ diamonds are identifiable with a jewelry loupe (a small magnifier used especially by jewelers). When you look at the diamond under a loupe, look for imperfections called “inclusions.” Real diamonds almost always have inclusions and are rarely perfect.
Cubic Zirconia stones will more likely look perfect, although some manufacturers are making CZ stones with imperfections now. However, jewelers will quickly tell if a stone is Cubic Zirconia as opposed to a real diamond.
Traditionally Mined Diamond or Lab-Grown Diamond?
Another question you might have is whether your diamond is traditionally grown or lab-grown. Lab-grown diamonds are genuine diamonds in every sense of the word.
However, lab-grown diamonds can be created in a matter of weeks. Traditionally mined diamonds have been sitting beneath the earth’s surface for much longer than you or I have been around.
For that reason, traditionally mined diamonds are more valuable than lab-grown diamonds, even though they’re both real diamonds.
However, because the two types are so similar, a sophisticated lab such as the one at the GIA is often needed to tell the difference.
If your jewelry piece contains a lab-grown diamond instead of a traditionally mined diamond, expect it to be worth less money.
Find Out Whether Other Jewels and Gemstones Are Authentic
You will want the same tests done for other types of gemstones, such as rubies. Bring them to a local jeweler to find out if they’re authentic before wasting time and money to get them appraised.
Is The Gold Real or Fake?
Another essential step as you assess your jewelry’s value is to find out whether the gold in it is real. Real gold is marked on the back or inside with a purity stamp.
The purity stamp tells you how much gold is in the piece. The imprint usually has a karat number (18k, 10k, 24k) or a purity number that correlates to the karats (999 for 24k, 750 for 18k, etc.).
Note that if you have had your gold for a long time, especially rings, the stamp may be partially or fully worn off. In that case, you’ll have to take the piece to a jeweler for assessment.
The more your gold weighs and the higher in purity it is, the more money it will be worth.
What is the Current Gold Price?
Another important fact you need to know is the current price of gold. Gold prices are high as of this writing, but that can change depending on the economy. The cost of gold can also fluctuate based on supply and demand.
Investor behavior can influence the price of gold, as well. Therefore, knowing where and when to sell your gold jewelry for money is important.
Companies such as CashforGoldUSA might be helpful if you’re looking to sell gold jewelry without any gemstones.
CashforGoldUSA is easy to use. Just fill out their online form, and they’ll send you a mailer pack so you can send your gold (or silver or platinum) insured and free of charge.
Once CashforGoldUSA gets your precious metal jewelry, they’ll give you an offer price. If you accept the offer price, they’ll pay you within 24 hours, either via PayPal, check or wire transfer.
If you don’t accept their quote, they’ll send your jewelry back to you free of charge.
Here’s some other information you need to know if you’re still looking for a jewelry appraisal.
Average Jewelry Appraisal Costs
The cost of a jewelry appraisal can depend on many different factors. For this reason, the price will depend on the piece of jewelry you would like appraised.
The more complex the piece, the more it will cost to get the piece appraised. When you ask a jeweler for an appraisal price, you’ll typically get one of two answers.
They’ll either quote you a flat fee or an hourly fee rate with an estimated number of hours. Hourly fees for jewelry appraisers tend to run between $50 and $150.
To be sure, you’ll want to ask their estimated number of hours it will take to appraise the piece if they charge by the hour. That way, you’ll have a better idea of the total cost of the appraisal.
Remember, too, that cost can vary based on experience and certifications. An inexperienced appraiser may charge less than what a certified appraiser with years of experience would charge.
But in my opinion, you’re probably better off paying the extra money and getting your piece appraised by an experienced appraiser.
Jewelry Appraisal vs. Lab Report
When it comes to knowing how to get a jewelry appraisal, the first thing you need to learn is the terminology. While it’s common to get a jewelry appraisal, there’s also another method of valuation for jewelry called a lab report.
Here’s some information detailing the differences between a jewelry appraisal and a lab report.
A jeweler at a jewelry store typically does a jewelry appraisal, which is simply a statement reporting the opinion of the jeweler regarding the worth of the piece.
The purpose of the jewelry appraisal is to determine the approximate value of a jewelry piece. For example, you would use a regular jewelry appraisal when you want to know the value of an item for replacement, estate or insurance purposes.
Remember that jewelry appraisals don’t necessarily decide how much you can get when you sell a piece of jewelry. Instead, they’re all about determining replacement value.
In some cases, appraisal amounts for the same piece of jewelry can differ greatly from one jeweler to another. For this reason, jewelry appraisals aren’t as well-respected in the industry as a grading or lab report.
A jewelry grading or lab report is a much more detailed valuation of a jewelry piece. Experts perform gradings and lab reports at the two premier gemological laboratories:
- Gemological Institute of America (GIA)
- International Gemological Institute (IGI)
When you get your gemstone graded by a gemological laboratory such as the ones mentioned above, you will get a detailed report. It will outline the cut, clarity, color and size of your stone. Plus, the report will show the authenticity of the metals within the piece.
For instance, is it 24 karat gold? 18 karat gold? What is the cut, color and clarity of the diamond or gemstone? And so on.
Finally, the report will include a picture of your jewelry piece and verify every detail of its character. Some laboratory reports will also consist of a resale estimate value.
Lab reports typically hold much more value than an appraisal when trying to sell your jewelry piece.
However, it’s important to note here that there are other gemological laboratories besides the two mentioned above. And they may or may not be legit or trustworthy.
The two companies listed earlier are well-known in the jewelry industry in terms of their trustworthiness. If you want to get a lab report from a gemological institute other than those mentioned here, it’s vital to check the Better Business Bureau and other sources for reviews.
Research the laboratories you’re considering using and find out how much they charge before sending your jewelry piece in for a lab report.
What is a Certified Jewelry Appraiser?
A certified jewelry appraiser is a jewelry appraiser who has earned certification, typically from one of three organizations:
- American Gem Society
- American Society of Appraisers
- International Society of Appraisers
The appraiser wanting to earn certification must pass classes and exams about the skill of jewelry appraisal.
When searching for a jewelry appraiser, be sure to ask if they’re certified and where they obtained their certification. The appraiser should have documented proof of their certification.
I think that the extra training required for certified jewelry appraisers makes them a better choice when you’re looking for a jewelry appraisal.
Also, it’s necessary to know some things about your jewelry piece before you have it appraised.
Where to Get Your Jewelry Appraised
So, where can you get your jewelry appraised? You have a few options.
You likely have a local jeweler in your area who performs jewelry appraisals. Whether or not you have a certified jewelry appraiser near you will most likely depend on how big your city or town is.
However, you will likely be able to find a certified jewelry appraiser not too far from home. You might want to consider asking around for referrals as well. People you know will be happy to share their opinions if they’ve had experience with local jewelry appraisers.
Online Jewelry Appraisers
You could also look online to find a jewelry appraiser. Now, if you choose an online jewelry appraiser, please be careful. Internet crimes are running rampant these days.
So be sure when considering sending your jewelry to an online company to be appraised that you choose a reputable one.
For instance, Worthy is a reputable company for buying and selling jewelry online.
When you look to sell your jewelry through Worthy, the first step they’ll take is to have an industry expert from the GIA, IGI or another reputable source grade the piece.
After Worthy gets the official grading for your item (at no charge to you), they’ll photograph it and place it for sale on their online auction house.
Before your piece goes on auction, if you decide to back out of the selling process with Worthy, you can do so at any time.
Appraised Value vs. Retail Value
So you’ve got your appraisal. Now what? If your goal is simply to have the value for insurance or estate purposes, store it away where it’s safe.
But what if you want to sell your jewelry piece? It’s important to note that the appraised value of your jewelry items doesn’t usually translate into the sales price.
The price you can get when you sell a jewelry piece is often lower than what the piece appraised for, sometimes as much as 75% lower.
Sadly, jewelry is one of those markets where the first seller makes the most money—kind of like the automobile market. So, just because your jewelry piece appraised for $4,000, doesn’t mean you’ll get anywhere near that when you sell.
Note that unique and rare stones or other characteristics in a jewelry piece may get you a higher retail price than more common stones or pieces.
I know this may be a disappointing truth to learn. But it’s better to find out about it here to avoid disappointment when you go to sell your jewelry and get offered a price much lower than its appraised value.
Because jewelry sells for so much lower than what it appraises for, some people choose to keep it instead. They decide that the sentimental value is worth more than what they’ll get by selling it.
Best Places to Sell Your Jewelry
We’ve already talked about using Worthy to get your jewelry appraised and sell it. Here is some more information on Worthy and some other companies you could use to sell your jewelry pieces.
You already know that Worthy will provide you with a free lab report when you send your jewelry to them to put up for sale.
Once you’ve agreed upon the beginning auction price, your piece goes up for sale on the Worthy website. When the auction period ends, your item goes to the highest bidder that meets or exceeds your reserve (minimum) price.
After it sells, Worthy takes a commission and sends you the rest of the sales price. Commission rates start at 18% and go down depending on the sale price of the item.
The Diamond Valet
The Diamond Valet is an online company that buys diamond items and high-end watches. After you fill out the company’s online form, you’ll send in your items insured and free of charge. GIA trained graders will determine how much The Diamond Valet will pay for your piece.
You’ll receive your offer price within ten days, and if you accept their offer, you’ll get paid within 24 hours. There’s no auction piece with The Diamond Valet. They’ll buy your jewelry straight out.
If you don’t like their offer, they’ll ship the item back to you.
Here’s another company that buys jewelry directly from you. WP Diamonds will give you an initial valuation of your jewelry by email or phone after filling out their online form.
If you’re happy with that price, you send in your pieces for free. When received, WP Diamonds will evaluate your jewelry and give you a final valuation price.
If you’re happy with the final valuation price, WP Diamonds will send you a check that same day. Oh, and WP Diamonds has locations in New York, Hong Kong and the UK if you want to sell your jewelry to them in person.
Whether you want to know your jewelry’s value so you can have it insured or sell it, learning how to get a jewelry appraisal or lab grading report can help.
The right resources for finding your jewelry’s value will ensure you get the most correct information.