What is a Valuation?

First of all, ‘value’ is not ‘price’. The ‘price’ of something refers to a single transaction. The value of something is determined for a certain purpose, in a certain place and by researching multiple transaction prices, not just one.

Appraisal

In order to value something, you have to know what it is.

‘All that glisters is not gold’ (Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice, Act II scene VII, Prince of Morocco)… or silver, or diamonds, or sapphires, or rubies etc., and this is where the Appraisal comes in – to determine the precise nature and quality of the materials used in an item of jewellery and the quality of its manufacture.

In order to appraise precious gemstones they have to be scrupulously clean, so your jewellery will be cleaned as part of the service.

Gemstones

Not all gemstones are all they appear to be. They could be natural or they could be treated in some way, or they could be synthetic (man made versions of natural gemstones), or they could be imitations (glass, plastic or something else).

Telling the difference and assessing differing qualities is the highly specialised job of a gemmologist and the most prestigious qualifications in this field are the Fellowship of the Gemmological Association (FGA) and the Diamond Member of the Gemmological Association (DGA).

Valuation

A modern, professional valuation is fully researched and is wholly justifiable. This means that enquiries are made for current gemstone, precious metals, and manufacturing costs, or through major jewellery makers (Cartier, Tiffany etc.), or, where appropriate, through auction houses.

In this way direct comparisons can be made with like items in the appropriate markets at the time of valuation and are therefore less susceptible to being challenged (e.g. in the event of an insurance claim, or by HMRC).

Metals

Thanks to the best part of a thousand years of the British Hallmarking system, appraising metals is relatively straightforward. Where British hallmarks are absent however, tests have to be carried out to try and identify precisely what an item of jewellery has been made of – another highly specialised skill.

Description

The description of your jewellery is of course a major part of the valuation and this comprises both a narrative description (e.g. “A modern brilliant cut diamond cluster ring in a handmade platinum mount”), and a data record of dimensions, gross weight, estimated weight of individual gemstones, age, makers’ marks etc.

Photography

Naturally photographs are expected,
usually front and back at least, so that
a comprehensive record of the items
is kept. It is not normally required to
photograph items for a Probate Valuation

Jewellery Valuation - how long does it take?

How long does it take?

Most appraisals, including cleaning, gem testing and photography of under 10 items can be completed in 2-3 working days, although it may be as long as a week or even 2 to schedule-in a mutually convenient time. Sometimes additional research may be required, extending this timescale.

Jewellery Valuation - what do I need to bring?

What do I need to bring?

As well the items to be be valued, for Insurance valuations, please bring the most recent copy of your Insurance policy and policy schedule. For all valuations, please bring all existing paperwork relating to the items to be valued: original purchase receipts, previous valuations, receipts for past repairs and any diamond, or coloured gemstone grading reports. Failure to bring all relevant paperwork may result in a second, chargeable consultation.

Jewellery Valuation - how much does it cost?

How much does it cost?

Initial consultations are free of charge and will establish the Purpose, Function and Intended Use of the valuation, and the appropriate Market Level and the Categories of Value (New replacement Value, Second Hand Replacement Value, etc.). Items will be examined for any damage or wear and tear, which will need to be rectified before the valuation is undertaken and we can advise on this.

Insurance

The idea of Insurance is to put you back in the same position you were before the ‘Insured Peril’ happened; you’ll see the word ‘indemnify’ in your policy.

A valuation for Insurance provides proof of the value of your jewellery, usually on the basis of what you would have to pay for it, if you had to buy a similar item from a retail shop, either second hand or new, depending on the item.

A fully researched and justifiable valuation enables a fair premium to be calculated and should reduce the chance of a challenge by Insurers in the event of a claim.

N.B. It is not considered proof of ownership.

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Probate

Under Section 160 of the Inheritance Act of 1984, the estate of a deceased
person is required to be valued so that “Death Duties or Inheritance Tax can be calculated, as applicable” by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.

The value should represent the ‘open market value’, and is therefore completely different to the Insurance value and is usually considerably less. It is therefore important to have an appropriately calculated Probate valuation in order to mitigate tax liabilities, whilst remaining within the letter of the law.

The rule of thumb at HMRC appears to be that you do not need to have a professional value items under £500, but take advice from your solicitor.

A 2012 article from the Guardian discusses the dangers of incorrect Probate valuations for bricks and mortar property, but it could just as easily be referring to jewellery. Read more HERE

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Division of Assets or Family Division

An independent jewellery valuation is often required to aid the fair division of assets in the event of divorce.

The value is usually based on the Open Market Value – what the item is likely to achieve at auction – rather than what was paid for it, or what it would cost to replace.

Before asking us to provide a valuation for Division of Assets, check that the court doesn’t require a Single Joint Expert to act for both sides.

We will gladly provide a valuation, but it would be prudent to check that all parties agree to our appointment.

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How much does it cost?

If you are happy to proceed with the valuation after this consultation, the items will be retained and a receipt provided.

By leaving your items for valuation, you agree to our take-in explanatory notes and limiting conditions, which are the standard notes and limiting conditions of the Institute of Registered Valuers. We particularly draw your attention to item ix of our Terms & Conditions.

Valuation Fees:

Insurance, Probate, Private Treaty etc.
Standard document fee: £60
Charge per item or group of up to 5 lower value items*: £50

*Items with a value under approximately £500 are grouped as ‘miscellaneous’ and treated as one item.

Diamonds over 1 carat: £60 per carat

We regret that we do not undertake the valuation of watches

Exceptional items (tiaras, parures, civic regalia etc.) will be charged on a time spent basis at £60 per hour.

All our valuations are bound in a high quality folder and contain digital images of your jewellery together with a full description including stone weights and dimensions, hallmark details, gross weight and current value.

They are prepared by a Fellow of the Institute of Registered Valuers

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Division of Assets or Family Division

An independent jewellery valuation is often required to aid the fair division of assets in the event of divorce.

The value is usually based on the Open Market Value – what the item is likely to achieve at auction – rather than what was paid for it, or what it would cost to replace.

Before asking us to provide a valuation for Division of Assets, check that the court doesn’t require a Single Joint Expert to act for both sides.

We will gladly provide a valuation, but it would be prudent to check that all parties agree to our appointment.

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Post Loss Assessment

Unless you’re here out of curiosity, we’re sorry you’re on this page, because it means that your Insurers have asked you to provide estimates to replace jewellery that has been lost or stolen but for which you don’t have any recent purchase receipts or valuations – now widely known as a Post Loss Assessment.

We valuers do not refer to this as a valuation because we are unable to inspect the items and the figures we arrive at are highly speculative, but hopefully we can arrive at a suitably justifiable figure that will enable you to get your claim settled as quickly as possible.

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