Buying Tips / Jewelry

Jewelry Appraisal 101

Briana Briana 22 Nov 2019 3384

As a child, and into young adulthood, you probably had a jewelry collection that was comprised of costume jewelry. In fact, you likely still have a large assortment of costume jewelry, and there is nothing wrong with that! We know we do. 

While costume jewelry is great because it is affordable and allows you to try out different, fun trends, it is not incredibly valuable from a monetary perspective. The stones, such as moonstone used are not real gemstones, and the metal is of lower quality. 

What happens, though, when you get your first piece of real jewelry? Perhaps you get engaged, inherit something from a family member, or are gifted a piece as a birthday or graduation present.

Now that you have something more valuable in your jewelry collection, you have to think about a jewelry appraisal.

You’ve likely heard about jewelry appraisals before, but you may not know why they are needed, or how to go about getting one.

Does all real jewelry need an appraisal? Is it expensive? What even is involved in a typical appraisal? We are answering all of your questions today. Here is everything you need to know. 

What Does Jewelry Appraisal Mean?

jewelry appraisal cost
Source: WP Shelton Jewelers

No question is too simple! Are you unsure what jewelry appraisal actually is? No worries.

It’s an examination of a certain piece of jewelry by a professional.

The key here is that the appraisal has to be performed by a certified professional.

The professional will write up a report, the appraisal, that describes the quality of the piece of jewelry and assigns it a dollar value, what the piece is actually worth. 

A full jewelry appraisal will analyze all parts of a piece of jewelry, including the metals and gemstones used. Factual information is recorded, such as the type of gemstone (or gemstones) found, the quality, rarity, and more.

You should have a full idea of why your jewelry is given the value it is assigned. You may think something is incredibly valuable, get it appraised, and find out that it is not.

Upon reading the appraisal, you may find out that the gemstones are fake, the gold is a lesser quality, or the overall construction of the piece is poor. 

Keep in mind that an appraisal is simply analyzing the monetary value and quality of the jewelry. A piece of jewelry may have a high level of emotional value to you, and just because it may not end up also having a high monetary value, doesn’t take away the significance of the piece.

However, as we get into top reasons for needing an appraisal, you will start to understand why knowing the monetary value of the jewelry is important.

How to Get an Appraisal?

So, how do you go about getting an appraisal? Like we said above, a true appraisal needs to be performed by a certified professional that has the knowledge and tools needed to properly analyze the jewelry.

You may know someone who knows a lot about jewelry, but unless they are a certified professional, they won’t cut it when it comes to getting an official appraisal. 

To get an actual appraisal, you simply need to find a professional in your area. Thankfully, thanks to the Internet (we love you!), finding a jeweler near you that performs appraisals is much easier than it used to be in years past.

You will want to make sure that the appraiser you select is a legitimate, qualified appraiser who can handle appraising your jewelry.

In many cases, you should look to see if they are certified by an appraisal organization, such as the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers.

In fact, you can even go to their website and search for a certified appraiser in your state, and with a certain specialty!

If you are looking to have a fairly simple piece of jewelry appraised, you don’t necessarily need to worry about the appraiser having a specific specialty.

However, if you are dealing with a large collection of jewelry or perhaps a very intricate or vintage piece, you may wish to select an appraiser that has a specialty in the main type of gemstone the piece has. 

For jewelry that you purchased at a jewelry store, the store itself may have a certified appraiser on staff or available that could help you get a certified appraisal. 

Typically, an appraisal is not a super long process. Simple pieces may take around an hour. More detailed pieces may take a couple of hours, but in most cases, not more than 2 or 3 hours.

In many cases, you can drop off your jewelry and pick it up the same day with the finished appraisal. 

Top Needs for an Appraisal

Now for the important question, why do you need an appraisal? After all, if a piece of jewelry has major emotional value to you, do you need to know what the monetary cost of the piece is?

That answer is yes when it comes to ensuring the piece. Insurance is the number one reason why people get a piece of jewelry appraised.

Whether you want insurance for your new engagement ring or an inherited piece from a family member (or anything in between), you will need to have an appraisal for any piece looking to be insured


While jewelry insurance is not something that is required by law like say car insurance, it is something that is highly recommended for these valuable pieces of jewelry.

Should something happen to them; without insurance, you may be out of luck. If the jewelry is something you purchased, you may have some options if you were in luck to receive any type of warranty.

Jewelry insurance
Source: Pinterest

If the warranty has expired or something outside the scope of the warranty happens, you will be incredibly thankful to have had the jewelry piece insured. 

In this case, the purpose of the insurance is to assign a monetary value to the piece that could be awarded in the event of the jewelry being damaged or stolen.

The appraisal will seek to determine the current value of the jewelry and assign a value. 


The other main reason for needing a jewelry appraisal is when you wish to sell a piece of jewelry.

As you already know from a consumer perspective, there is an incredible range in jewelry prices, and without formal training, you will have no way to know what a piece of jewelry is actually worth, and therefore, have no real guidelines for how to price the jewelry to sell. 

If you are considering selling some of your jewelry, getting an accurate appraisal is always highly recommended. You might think that some of your jewelry is not worth much, and you can sell it for a low cost without an appraisal.

While that is true, there have been plenty of instances where people have sold jewelry they thought was fake or of low value, only to have the new owner appraise it and find out it is worth far more!

Don’t take that risk unless you are positive the jewelry piece in question is costume jewelry. 

An appraiser can also give you some valuable information on how to get the most money for your jewelry. In some cases, selling the jewelry as is will get you the most money.

In other instances, selling the jewelry for scrap may be more valuable. This is based on things like the quality of the individual elements of the jewelry as well as who designed the jewelry. 

Keep in mind as well that the appraisal cost that you get is unlikely to be the price you can sell the jewelry for. This is pretty much true when reselling anything.

In addition to advising you on whether to sell the jewelry whole or for scrap, the appraiser can also help guide you on what a fair price would be for your particular piece of used jewelry.

Bonus: Catching an Issue Early

While this is not the reason that you get an appraisal, it is something to keep in mind. Because the appraiser will be closely analyzing the jewelry, they will be able to catch if something is wrong with the piece; say a stone has come loose or is cracked.

Catching the issue before it gets worse (or something bad happens like a stone falls out and you cannot find it) is a great positive side effect of having jewelry appraised.

This can especially be important when appraising vintage necklaces or other tipes of jewlery. The last thing you want is to damage a family heirloom.

Getting the piece appraised will help protect the value of the item, and may also alert you if you need to look into getting it repaired. 

Average Jewelry Appraisal Cost

how much does jewelry appraisal cost
Source: Nelson Coleman

If you’ve got some jewelry pieces that you think you want to have insured or are looking to sell, by this point, you understand that you need to get them appraised. However, are you worried about how much that is going to cost you?

Especially if you are looking to sell some jewelry to make some extra cash, you might be frustrated at having to spend some money to get it appraised.

While we can understand your frustration, do know that the money you spend on the appraisal is well worth it so that you can get the most money possible for your jewelry. 

What should you expect to spend on an appraisal? Like we mentioned earlier, a lot of it comes down to how intricate the jewelry is. Most appraisers will work based on an hourly rate. Therefore, more simple pieces will cost less to appraise because they can get appraised quicker.

Hourly rates will vary greatly but are typically ranging from $50-$200 per hour.

You should know this cost upfront and should be able to get a rough estimate on how long it should take before agreeing to the appraisal so that you will have an estimate of what it will cost. 

Wrapping Up

Jewelry appraisals assign a monetary value to your jewelry. This value is needed when it comes to insuring the jewelry or attempting to resell it.

If you need an appraisal, be sure to find a certified professional who will properly handle your appraisal.

After all, if you are looking to have something appraised, it must be valuable. You want someone who can properly handle the jewelry and assign it the value that it is worth. 

While appraisals do cost money, they certainly cost less than the price of the jewelry itself. The cost for the appraisal is well worth it so that you can sell the item for a fair price, or to have it properly insured.

Should something happen to the piece, having the right insurance will grant you get the value for the jewelry.

We hope we have answered all of your jewelry appraisal questions today! Be sure to check out your jewelry collection and see if anything is worth appraising.

It is always better to be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to things of value like jewelry.