Professional Documentation

A proper professional appraisal should have the following elements present:

1) Description

A description of the item that clearly describes the piece of jewelry in sufficient detail that someone reading that description can recognize the item. Simply stating “One ring with diamonds” for example is not sufficient. In fact, today, many insurance companies will not accept an appraisal without an adequate description.

2) Photograph

While not required, it makes it much easier to identify and replace the item once it no longer exists.

3) Value

The value conclusion should reflect the market. It should not be inflated, nor undervalued, as these would be detrimental to the client and could greatly affect premiums and settlements. The appraised value should be an amount that can adequately cover the jewelry should it be lost. Having a high value may make you feel good but generally will only increase your premiums while providing no additional coverage in a loss. It is not the dollar amount that protects your insured interest it is the thoroughness of the description that will be relied upon by an adjuster should a claim be made.

4) Sales taxes

are a consideration that should be discussed with both your insurance agent and your appraiser. It is important to know whether or not taxes are included in appraised value.

5) Plotting or Laser inscriptions

6) Treatment information

According to the Federal Trade Commission in the Unites States, almost all treatments – that is any process done to improve the appearance of a the gemstone other than cutting and polishing–needs to be disclosed to the consumer. If the seller has not done this, it may be in violation of the codes. Appraisals should also contain this important information. The jewelry industry tends to be lax regarding disclosure of treatments but not always to be deceitful. For example, since nearly every ruby and sapphire has been heat treated to improve color, and this practice has existed for more than 100 years, jewelers tend simply to accept treatment as fact and do not disclose this information. However, the information should be given to the consumer. On appraisals, this information is also helpful to have because it is a value factor. Treatment information can be provided on the report directly or as part of addendums that some appraisers use.

7) Other documentation

Some appraisers will add several other forms of information to the appraisal. Limiting conditions may be included which discuss issues such as the limitations of fully grading diamonds or other gemstones if they are set into the jewelry. For example, the weights of the gems are only estimates or stated weights by the seller. Other documentation may include addendums such as treatment information and the appraiser’s qualifications (curriculum vitae).