Just as an appraisal is an important part of the process of buying a home, appraisals also play a very important role in your jewelry investments.  A real estate appraisal is most commonly performed to estimate the market value of a home you’d like to purchase, or perhaps to establish the value of property you’ve inherited.  Yet the topic of jewelry appraisals is far more extensive.  And interesting!  Did you know there are actually twenty-six types of jewelry appraisals?!


While it would be interesting to learn about all twenty-six of those appraisals, the scope of this article will only include the most significant appraisals we do for our clients here at Maxon.  In general terms, an appraisal is a document that describes an item and gives the value for which the piece should be insured.

The value on the appraisal shouldn’t be confused with resale value.  It will be expressed as New Replacement Value for newer pieces, and Second Hand Replacement Value for vintage jewelry.  This number represents the value needed to replace the piece through a calculation of its materials and the added profit for the jeweler needed to recreate it.


These four types of appraisals are the most common our customers need throughout a lifetime of jewelry collecting and investing.

  1. Fair Market Value: Often used in dissolution of marriage, this value is determined by what a willing buyer and seller agree upon that results in a sale.
  2. Estate Appraisal: Similar to Fair Market Value, a value for which a knowledgeable buyer and willing seller (within their own local marketplace) agree that an item may be sold.
  3. Insurance Replacement Appraisal: Ideally, this is the amount needed to replace an item with exact replica of age, condition and quality.
  4. Statement of Replacement Cost: Given when the establishment preparing the document is also the seller of the item.


One word – insurance.  There are many compelling reasons to get an appraisal, but the most practical reason is so you may be adequately compensated for its replacement if your jewelry were to become damaged, lost or stolen.  An insurance company will compensate you based on the value determined by an up-to-date appraisal.  On the subject of insurance, it is important to know whether your homeowner’s insurance policy covers your jewelry.  If coverage is included, your carrier will likely insist on an up-to-date appraisal.



Perhaps you received a piece of jewelry as a gift, or maybe you purchased something special for yourself while on vacation.  Only an appraisal will inform you of its value.  A purchase receipt stating the price you or your gift-giver may have paid for the item is not a meaningful document.

Receipts do not provide useful information because the item may have been sold at an inflated price, far more than what it’s worth.  Alternatively, you may have gotten a great deal on a very special piece for far below its true value.  You need to know this for more than the obvious bragging rights!  You’ll need to be able to prove it.  When you shop for insurance for your new jewelry, your up-to-date appraisal will protect you from overpaying for insurance, and it will keep you from under-insuring a very valuable piece.



Why do we keep saying this phrase, “up-to-date?”  An up-to-date appraisal is critical.  Consider the following example.  The value of precious metals and gems fluctuates over time.  The value of gold in 1973 was $112 an ounce.  Today’s price is $1,826.30 (AMPEX).  You need an up-do-date appraisal so your insurance company can adequately compensate you for its loss.

An up-to-date appraisal proves you actually own it.  Some people wear their jewelry investment for all to see, while others may enjoy it privately.  An appraisal proves ownership of the asset even if your closest friends never saw you show it off.


At Maxon, we share your interest in protecting your valued jewelry investments.  We’d like to see your jewelry investment properly insured and grow in value over time.  As an American Gem Society Certified Gemologist & Gemological Institute of America Graduate Gemologist, our in-house appraiser has over 45 years of experience.  We’ve built a great reputation by serving our customers, clients and friends throughout all of life’s special moments.  Please give us a call, or stop in and request an updated appraisal on your treasured pieces.  The peace of mind will be priceless.