James Rambur Presents

About appraisals

  When having a piece appraised it is important to keep in mind that there are several different values to be considered. The one most used is retail replacement cost. This value is used for insurance purposes. It should reflect the price that an item would cost in an average store. It should never be the inflated  "regular prices" some stores use to offer 50-60% off. That would only result in higher premiums on insurance. Wholesale value is rarely used but will be explained here to eliminate confusion. Wholesale is the price that the store pays for their wares. these prices vary quite a bit depending on terms. When a jeweler buys in quantity for cash the price is usually less than if one piece is ordered in on approval. Liquidation value is the price that would be offered by a secondary buyer and is below wholesale. There are risks in buying from the public such as stolen merchandise. The amount of discount from wholesale will also depend on demand. Used jewelery is often bought as scrap to be refined and made into new jewelry and stones often have to be recut.
   There are many other other issues that should be taken into account in appraisals. An accurate and complete description is important. Custom designed pieces should be described as such and if possible give the designer's name. The value should also reflect this as Custom work is much more expensive than mass produced. If your appraisal just says "Watch $5'000.00" Your insurance company might want to replace your Rolex with a Timex.
   Quality and origin of stones can also make a big difference. For instance inky blue sapphires can be had for as little as $20.00 per carat while fine pure blue stones bring at least 10 times that. Also sapphires from Yogo gulch in Montana carry a big premium because of their quality and rarity. I have heard many times of jewelers getting complaints when their Yogos were appraised out of state using prices of Asian stones. See Rolex Timex above.
   Cutting is the most overlooked aspect in appraisals. Most stones are cut overseas using cheap labor. While they are getting better most have no idea what you are talking about when you tell them 41 degree mains. Most cut for maximum weight rather than beauty. Even the G.I.A. colored stone grading course says to ignore obvious windows, shallow angles, that an American cutter would not allow.

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