Insurance Appraisals

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I have seen an increase in the number of insurance appraisal requests so far this year. Many clients are worried about theft of their valuable jewelry. Also, some insurance companies are wanting their policy holders to have their appraisals uddated due to the increase in the price of gold, platinum, diamonds, and colored gemstones that has transpired over the past three years. I also see a lot of appraisals that clients bring in for me to update. Many meet the standards set forth years if not decades ago, but few meet the current standards set forth by the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers today.

The process normally begins with an appointment with the appraiser. For me, it requires you to call or email me to set up a time. I request at that time for clients to bring in any paperwork they have for the items, such as grading reports, former appraisals, etc. These are copied and put in the addendum of the appraisal so as to create a chain of history for the items. The items are partially cleaned and an inspection of the condition is done while the client is here with me. If I find a problem, such as broken prongs or chipped gemstones, this is addressed at that moment and the client is shown on a monitor attached to my microscope what the problem looks like and how to correct it. Also, at this time a price is given for the work. Once approved by the client, detailed information is taken from the client regarding name, address, and contact information.

Next, a receipt is given to the client which has a photograph of each item left with me to be appraised along with a basic description of the item. Then, over time each item is cleaned and the inspection begins. Notes are taken on each item concerning how it was made, weights of the metal, and setting style. If it is a diamond ring, all diamonds are inspected under the microscope and measurements are carefully taken to estimate the diamond weight. Each diamond is graded for clarity, color, and cut. All of this will be in the narrative of the appraisal.

If it is a colored gemstone, the gemstone is identified, graded for clarity and color. The color is graded for hue, intensity, and saturation as well as how even the color is across the gemstone. Measurements are taken and an estimated weight is determined.

All of this information is then compiled onto the narrative of the report. Usually I take two photographs of each item and this is printed on the appraisal beside of the narrative. A new retail replacement value is computed and listed along with the total estimated gemstone and diamond weights as well as the weight of the metal.

If the diamond is 3/4ct or larger, I usually conduct a grading report as well which has a plot. The plot is a drawing of the diamond showing location, size, and type of identifying charateristics visible under the microscope. I have attached a sample copy of a grading report. If the diamond was graded loose, then a Sarin report of it’s proportions will be included. A Sarin machine is made in Israel and it takes high resolution photographs of a loose diamond and then computes all of it’s measurements, angles, proportion grade, and symmetry. It is usually found in larger laboratories. I purchased one a few years ago and have found it to be invaluable in proportion grading loose diamonds.

Finally, the entire report is put together. The newest reports that I now conduct will usually have a minimum six pages. If it is a larger diamond solitaire ring, seven or eight pages would be in the report. The first page is the cover letter stating client, purpose, function, and preparer. The second page is a table of contents. The next page is a list of any limitations and assumptions. The next page lists appraiser qualifications and a my privacy policy. The next page is a certification of appraisal practice. Then, the narrative of the appraisal with photographs. I have conducted an appraisal earlier this year that was 25 pages and one that was 53 pages. So, they can be very time consuming.

If you are interested in learning more about an insurance appraisal or would like to have your jewelry appraised, please call Mark Goodman at 276-676-3110 or email me at

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