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
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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