Dealing with jewelry appraisals

Whether you’re giving a new ring or receiving a necklace, that gift is an investment you’ll want to protect.

Megan Wright spent nearly four days searching her home for her missing engagement and wedding rings.

“I was physically sick over this,” said Wright. “I overturned everything in the house that I could think of looking for them.”

Wright finally found the rings in her closet.

“My four year old daughter had been in there playing dress up,” she added. “Swiped my rings, probably tried them on herself and she left them in the toe of my shoe.”

Wright recently had her jewelry appraised, so she was prepared had her rings been gone for good. If an item is lost, damaged, or stolen, an appraisal provides a detailed description of the piece.

“When you want to recreate the piece, there will be enough detail: the stones, the metal, the weight, the quality of the stones, that you’ll get back exactly what you had,” said jeweler Greg Bires. “If you have a vague appraisal, then it’s possible you’ll end up with a ring, but it won’t be the same quality or value you had originally.”

You will also need an appraisal if you want your jewelry insured.

“Having your jewelry appraised can make sure you have it valued at the correct amount, especially with the fluctuation we’ve seen in gold prices,” said Angie’s List founder Angie Hicks. “The pricing and value of your jewelry can and does change over time so you want to be sure you’ve got it insured for the right amount. If it does end up lost or stolen you get the right return.”

Because the value of precious metals and gemstones changes over time, you should have your items appraised at least every three to four years. Expect to pay anywhere from $25 to $65 per item.

“It’s very affordable and creates great piece of mind in the event that your rings end up in the bottom of your shoe,” Wright added.

Angie’s List says you should choose your appraiser wisely. Check for certification by a group like the American Gem Society, and steer clear of any appraiser who charges you a percentage of an item’s appraised value. Appraisals shouldn’t take much more than a day, so be wary if the appraiser wants to keep your jewelry much longer than that.