With a new year, most of us are looking to make positive changes in our life. To lose weight, stop a bad habit, get organized seem to be on the top of the list for many people. I often take this time of the year to review contracts and policies I have within my personal life, one of which is my insurance policies. I often “cut the fat” from areas I feel that I might be over covered and “beef up” on areas I am lacking. You might be just like me. I am a little embarrassed to say, but for many years there was an area that I was seriously lacking in my coverage, my jewelry policies. Like many, I just assumed that it was all covered under my homeowner’s policy. But I learned the hard way that it is not the case for most.
I often see standard policies allow a very little limit on jewelry, which isn’t enough to cover the cost of a single piece, yet alone the whole lot. This is why an additional rider on your policy is a good product to investigate. But how do you start? What do you need in order to make a well-informed decision to add the additional cost to your budget? The answer is an appraisal by a graduate gemologist.
To help you better understand the importance and process of having a proper appraisal, I interviewed Krisztina Bagyula, a graduate GIA gemologist, for better incite to common questions on this subject.
What is an appraisal?
A jewelry appraisal is a detailed description of a piece of jewelry for the purpose of insurance replacement. The information should cover the 4cs of diamonds and other characteristics of the piece, such as gemstones type, quality, approximate carat weight, and metal purity and weight. Craftsmanship is also taken into account with details of setting styles and intricate design elements. These factors are taken into account and the replacement value is determined based on current industry supply and prices.
What qualifies a person to be an appraiser?
A true appraiser has the education appropriate to lend them the skills to identify the materials. Often a 4 year degree by distance education, the completion of a graduate gemologist course should qualify the individual. They should also have the proper lab equipment needed to preform proper identification processes.
Do you have to keep my piece to perform an appraisal?
Yes, I have to be able to inspect the piece, take measurements, as well as test the materials. This process takes time. I am often able to complete the appraisal within 24 to 48 hour.
How long will it take to apprise a piece?
That really depends on the complexity of the piece. Multiple factors equate to longer time. On average 30 to 45 minutes per piece, but sometimes longer.
What kind of equipment do you use?
There are many different pieces of equipment used. Polariscope with Interference Figure Sphere, Hand-Held Diffraction Grating Spectroscope, Calcite Dichroscope, Refractometer with Polarizing Filter and Refractive Index Liquid, Refractometer, Microscope, jewelers loupe, tweezers, millimeter gauge, gold tester, diamond tester, and a huge reference book that is like my gemstone bible.
Why do I need one? Wouldn’t a receipt due?
Simple answer, no. The amount of details listed in the description are often lacking on a receipt. Also the price that is paid may not meet the actual market value, example items on sale. Appraisals need to be updated every so often to reflect the changes in the market place.
Can the value of a piece go down?
Yes it can. The metal markets fluctuate daily and gemstone’s market value do as well. This can be factors that decrease the overall value. Also damage to a piece can decrease the value, such as chips and abrasions to a gemstone or diamond. This is often where we see a large decrease in the value to an item.
How often do I need to have them updated?
I recommend every 3 to 5 years to compensate for market fluctuations. This is really something that is between you and your insurance provider. They may have different policies and timelines requirements.
A little preventive is worth its weight in gold, take steps today to make the decision to protect your valuables. Don’t let a bad event become even worse with bad news from your insurance company.
Thank you for reading. Let me know what you thought and some topics you would like to learn more on. - Kelli Mayfield
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