Jewelry Appraisal vs. Selling Price: What's the Difference?

Perhaps you are the new proud owner of a luxury watch, or maybe you're fresh off a large purchase for a diamond engagement ring, ready to pop the question. Or, it could be that you have been eyeing a nice set of earrings or a new necklace that drips with elegance, and you're just treating yourself to something nice. 

Whatever your most recent jewelry purchase is, you may be confused about jewelry appraisal vs selling price. We get it. After all, why do you need to get a piece of jewelry appraised when you have the receipt in your hand? Shouldn't it be the same price? Not exactly, and before we jump into exactly why, we're first going to look at why you should get an appraisal in the first place. Follow along for the CJ Charles guide to jewelry appraisal vs selling price.

Why Get a Jewelry Appraisal?

What is a jewelry appraisal? Getting a jewelry appraisal serves multiple purposes, each of which speaks to how you deal with your jewelry moving forward. Many people feel that having their jewelry appraised offers security for the future. 

While an appraisal cannot offer security in and of itself, it can help you secure your purchase by giving you a baseline estimate regarding the item. 

An appraisal is a common first step in having that piece of jewelry professionally insured, which offers a different type of security. 

Let's take a look at how an appraisal creates financial stability and emotional security both as a necessary component for ensuring the item and as a method of creating a baseline diamond resale value for future sales.

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As A Method For Ensuring The Item

Any time you want to insure a piece of jewelry, you will need to get an appraisal first. An appraisal is an official document that your insurer will use to establish a baseline value for the jewelry. 

Unlike a jewelry store or private party diamond buyer, your insurance agency will use the appraised value of the item as the appraisal value represents the retail replacement of the item. Typically the maximum worth of the item is used so that should the item be lost, damaged, or stolen, the insurance agency can write you a check to replace the item without fear of the claimant coming back enraged that they could not replace the piece of jewelry due to something like a price increase, unavailability, etc. 

The resale value of your jewelry, which is often less than the appraisal value, would not offer the same security as an appraisal for insurance purposes. That is why insurance agencies require an appraisal for almost all pieces of fine jewelry.

To Create A Baseline For Resale In The Future

As you will hear several times in this article, an appraisal is a good way to establish the jewelry value, but it is not necessarily a reflection of the true value of the item. 

Think of an appraisal as the maximum price that someone would pay for your piece of jewelry. Essentially an appraisal is a reflection of the top-dollar, wherein the right market and economic circumstances, you could sell this piece of jewelry for the maximum.

Sometimes appraisals fall short of what a piece of jewelry turns into. For example, used luxury watches that become a rare collector's item can exceed their appraised value because of shifts in supply and demand. 

Similarly, a gold necklace can lose value compared to its appraisal due to excessive wear over time. 

As we delve into what an appraisal is and is not through the course of this article, it is important to remember that an appraisal is a sliding scale against which you can test the market for the true value of your jewelry.

Retail Price vs. Appraisal

One thing to keep in mind is that while retail price influences and is reflected by the appraisal, the appraisal does not reflect or influence the retail value. In other words, retail value is set by the retailer, and an appraiser's work is to take the retail value of the jewelry and then establish the maximum possible value, i.e., the appraised price. 

In jewelry, there are two great factors that determine the retail price of a certain item. The first is the manufacturing cost. In other words, what did it cost to create this piece of jewelry? 

There will almost always be a markup on jewelry that exceeds the actual cost of materials and the cost of labor. After all, making and selling jewelry is a business, and the artisans who create such fine jewelry pieces deserve to be compensated for their work.

The second factor that determines retail value is the market for that particular piece of jewelry. Gold necklaces tend not to cost as much as diamond rings because the market surrounding diamond rings is much more limited. 

For one, diamonds are a limited commodity, and two, the symbolism of a diamond ring speaks to a much bigger life event than a simple gold chain, despite how pretty the necklace may be.

As we mentioned before, this type of appraisal is done to protect your piece of jewelry should something happen to it. 

The diamond ring appraisal is simply a measurement that expresses what the absolute maximum that ring could be worth is. This method helps protect you and your jewelry, especially if and when you were to get it insured. 

Diamond Grading Reports vs. Appraisals

In the world of fine jewelry, diamonds are in a league of their own. So much so that diamonds have their own grading system. Diamonds are judged on the four "C's," which refer to a carat, cut, color, and clarity.  

To learn more about the 4 C's of diamonds or to learn about how to sell your engagement ring, check out the CJ Charles blog for all the information you could want about diamonds, their resale value, and how to resell your engagement ring.

Much like the relationship between retail price and appraised value, a diamond grading report influences the final appraised price. The diamond grading report will show the appraiser what a third-party assessor has already established are the pros and cons of the stone. 

While a diamond grading report doesn't establish a price, it does help paint a picture of the diamond's value. And, because they are a limited commodity, diamonds tend to hold a value that is much closer to their appraised value. 

A diamond grading report, like a GIA report, is not essential, but it is highly recommended and will ensure that you are getting the best price for your diamond. 

Independent Resale Price vs. Appraisal

Earlier in the article, we discussed that the appraisal could sometimes help establish resale value. While there are certain situations where an appraisal can help during resale, the appraisal is not a bottom line. As we know, the appraisal is not a minimum for what the item should be sold for; rather, it is the maximum value of the item at the time it was appraised. 

Independent resale price is largely due to personal circumstance, the current economic value of the commodity in question, and the market value of the item. This is why an item can be sold so much higher or lower than its appraised value. When it comes to the resale of jewelry, the resale value is often slightly lower than the original retail value due to various contributing market factors.

While independent release price is volatile due to the many contributing factors dictating value, appraisal value is a more consistent standard of value. The appraisal value of your item is essentially the maximum value of that item in a vacuum. 

Why You Should Get An Appraisal Every Couple of Years 

Depending on how long it has been between the original purchase and when you resell the item, you may want to have your jewelry reappraised. It's typically a good idea to have your jewelry reappraised every 5-10 years to keep up with market value. 

As we said earlier, some items depreciate in value, whereas others gain significant value. Having your fine jewelry appraised every 5-10 years keeps you in the know about what has appreciated and what has depreciated. That way, if you are ever really in the market to sell, you aren't taken by surprise.

Jewelry Appraisal Cost

Any reputable jewelry store should have a jewelry appraiser in-house, or at the very least, an appraiser they trust to do the job. At CJ Charles, we are happy to appraise your jewelry, and often appraisals are free with your purchase. 

For those seeking an appraisal on items not found in the CJ Charles catalog, you should expect to pay $150 per item. 

Appraisals require examination of the jewelry piece, research to determine the current market value of similar pieces, possible laboratory work to determine authenticity, and finally, writing the appraisal report. All of these aspects require thorough attention and a wealth of knowledge

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