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.
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.
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).
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).
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.