How to find the right gem appraiser

There are four main reasons why people choose to have their jewelry appraised.  The first is because they need it done in order to have it insured.  The second reason why people have their jewelry appraised is because they want to ensure that they got a good deal when it was purchased.  After all, no one wants to get ripped off.  The third is due to taxes and the last reason why people have their gemstones appraised is just plain curiosity.   Regardless of the reason, the first step is to find a professional jewelry appraiser.  This can prove difficult due to the fact that the only appraisers that need to be certified are those that are working in real estate.  Therefore, anyone working in the jewelry business can say they are a gem appraiser.   However, only those that are educated and members of a professional appraisal organization should be considered.  This is a result of the fact that most agencies require their members to take and pass courses and exams in evaluation and valuation, as well as principles and business practices, appraisal ethics, standards and report writing. Furthermore, many of these groups will also require their members to keep up with the standards and changes. In addition to finding out what professional memberships your gem appraiser holds, how they received their membership and how they stand within the association.  Furthermore, you should also question where he or she obtained a degree, and when they were last retested.  This information is important because not all federations are the same and some only require membership dues.  Therefore, it is best to go beyond asking how much they charge and ask what makes them qualified to appraise your jewelry.   Another thing you need to ask before handing your prized possessions over for a jewelry appraisal is what stones he or she is qualified to assess.  No one is an expert in everything and like other professions, those in gem appraisal often find a specialty.  The same way a podiatrist cannot participate in brain surgery, an appraiser that specializes in watches cannot give you the value of your engagement diamond.   Once you have the above information, you should then enquire as to how the appraisal will be done.  This includes what instruments he or she will use and in what lighting.  You can also ask the markets and standards used.  In order to be 100% certain you are getting a reputable appraisal, you can also ask if he or she will stand behind the appraisal in court and if you can check references.   Once the appraisal is complete, in addition to the valuation, you should receive a cover document which explains the purpose and function, as well as the dates and standards used.  Your appraisal should also include an explanation of the grading system used and the appraiser’s background information.  You should also receive the results of any lab work done, copies of pictures taken and any other supporting documents used.