Jewelry appraisal is not just a necessity, it’s an advantage. Being able to find out or receive an estimate on the value of a piece of jewelry, either for insurance purposes or just general curiosity, is nothing but beneficial. We sat down with our in-store appraiser, Megan White, to find out everything possible about jewelry appraisals and the specifics of her job.
“I chased a passion,” Megan explains as her reason to becoming a jewelry appraiser. “I’ve always been interested in jewels and I appreciate their emotional value.” As a graduate gemologist from GIA (Gemological Institute of America) and an AGS (American Gem Society) certified appraiser, Megan has been a professional jewelry appraiser for over seven years.
While it’s not a requirement, a jewelry store truly benefits from having a jewelry appraiser, as more and more clients are seeking out this service from trusted names. “Getting something appraised is mostly used for insurance purposes,” Megan said. “You need to know what you have so you can be prepared for anything.”
She explained how sentimental jewelry could never truly be replaced, but putting a value on a piece makes it easier to try.
“You could lose your wedding ring in a car crash and that can never be replaced,” Megan said. “You don’t have to insure your jewelry, but you should be prepared for those situations and know their value.”
Potential jewelry appraisers have more on their plate than just knowing the ins and outs of every gemstone. In addition to knowing all the legal jargon that comes with working close with insurance companies, one must realize they are dealing with very personal pieces of jewelry for the owner. “You need to be able to deal with emotion,” Megan said. “[Potential appraisers] don’t realize yet how much bedside manner you need to have in this job.”
Staying up to date on jewelry trends is also in her job description, as the prices for certain metals and pieces fluctuate on a daily basis.
“Staying informed of the latest gem news as well as trends is necessary,” Megan said. “A pocket watch is not as valuable anymore because they aren’t very popular, but that could change very quickly — it all comes back to supply and demand.” There are some challenges to overcome in the industry, mostly with trust. When a client brings pieces of estate jewelry (pieces that have been previously owned and are usually antique or vintage) to be appraised, they trust the appraiser to give them an honest and accurate value.
While there are certainly pros to getting jewelry appraised, there are relatively few cons. The only downside to getting a piece appraised, according to Megan, is having too high expectations for the value and the piece being worth a lot less than expected. (That would definitely be a bummer to those with a diamond ring that turns out to be cubic zirconia!)
One of Megan’s favorite memories of being an appraiser involves working on a 75 piece set of jewelry belonging to a client’s mother-in-law, which was brought in for insurance purposes. “At the end it felt like I knew her,” Megan said. “I could see she traveled to China and Brazil from specific gemstones like jadeite, I saw all the rings her husband gave her – I got to follow her life journey through her jewels.”
It’s a smart move to get your jewelry appraised, whether it’s for insurance or you’re just intrigued by the potential value. There’s a story behind every piece, and while there may be a price on the piece itself, the story can never be replaced.