Jewelry Appraisals

Do you have the information you would need to submit an insurance claim on lost or stolen jewelry?

Doug McLeanTake a moment, get pencil and paper, can you list the jewelry you currently own? Chances are you like most of us have forgotten about an item or two. When it comes down to writing a verbal description of your jewelry the task could becomes much more difficult. For example, do you own an engagement ring and wedding band? What metal are the rings made of? Are they of cast, fabricated or of hand wrought construction? How many gemstones are in each? What do the gemstones weigh individually. What quality are the gemstones (color, clarity)? If you can’t answer these questions I suggest you get speak with your insurance agent to determine if there is a need to have the item appraised.

Generally, I recommend if a piece of jewelry has a value in excess of $500 you should have at a minimum a detailed description of the piece. If there are gemstones in the item you will need to list the number, size, weight, color and quality of the gemstones. You may be able to find this information on a sales slip. If you have this information and the documentation is less than a couple of years old you are in pretty good shape. If you lack proper documentation or the documentation is several years old I recommend you speak with your insurance agent.  Perhaps an appraisal or an update to an older appraiser is recommend.

You’ll likely want to get your more valuable items appraised by a jewelry appraiser. Performing a jewelry appraisal takes special skills. An appraiser should have formal training as well as practical experience in evaluating and pricing similar items.

Gemological knowledge is the first requirement. Each gem has it own physical properties or clues that a trained gemologist uses to determine the species of gemstone. Once gemological knowledge is applied to identification, a second step is performed. The appraiser applies appraisal methodologies to establish value in a specific market. For example, if the function of the appraisal is obtaining insurance, the appraiser must establish how much it would cost to the replace the item in a market similar to that in which the was originally purchased in.

If of the other hand, the function of the appraisal is to establish tax liability for an estate, the appraiser must establish the Fair Market Value in the most common and appropriate jewelry market.

I recommend you look for an appraisers who is a member of one of these professional organizations: American Gem Society, The National Association of Jewelry Appraisers, The International Society of Jewelry Appraiser or The American Society of Appraisers.  

As a Certified Gemologist Appraiser I am qualified to assist you in these matters. If you should have any question please call me at 229-7333.


If you have any questions about your insurance policy I recommend you speak with your insurance agent. Generally speaking, your more valuable items should be listed on a separate rider. Coverage under your home owner's policy or renter's policy typically only offers general or limited coverage. This coverage may not be adequate for your needs.

At Laney's our appraisal fees are based on an hourly charge. When you leave your jewelry for appraisal we will provide you with an estimated cost. Complete jewelry appraisals are typically performed in under 5 business days. Your appraisal will include a typed detailed report that will include pictures of the items appraised. Your appraisal will be performed in house by me. I hold tiltes of Graduated Gemologist and Certified Gemologist Appraiser. If you should have any questions please contact me.

Our Hours:
Tues-Fri  11:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Sat 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM

5121 Center Street, Suite 103
Williamsburg, VA  23188
(757) 229-7333