Why do I need an appraisal of my fine jewelry and precious objects?

There are a variety of reasons why people seek jewelry appraisals. Insurance and tax purposes are the most common; it is also required when estate planning and/or dividing up estates. It is also useful when deciding if you want to sell a specific item, as an appraisal gives you a fair assessment of the value of your item and thus prepares you for what to expect when selling your item in the secondhand market.


What is the first step in seeking a jewelry appraisal?

The most important factor to be concerned with is choosing the correct appraiser. A professional appraiser will be able to identify and provide a value for your property.


What should I look for in an appraiser?

Don’t be fooled by what you may have seen on TV—professional appraisals cannot be done in ten minutes or less, and they are not free. The training received through personal property appraisers requires similar training and education largely following real property case law. Accredited personal property appraisal organizations include: American Society of Appraisers (ASA), National Association of Jewelry Appraisers (NAJA), and International Society of Appraisers (ISA). These appraisers should comply with the testing and standards of the Uniform Standards of Professional Practice (USPAP). Because there is no national license for personal property appraisers, it is an important credential and one that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) uses to measure appraisals as acceptable for tax purposes. The appraisal experts at Joseph DuMouchelle have been trained by all three organizations and hold current accreditation with ASA and NAJA.  They are also current with USPAP training. 


How can I tell if my jewelry is worth appraising?

Many times, clients have no idea that their item is worth anything significant until he or she brings it to a professional. Based on an initial phone or in-person consultation, we can give you a quick response as to whether or not you should move forward with the appraisal process.


Are appraisals done in person or can I mail in my jewelry for an off-site appraisal?

Ideal circumstances require that the appraiser physically inspect the property to conclude accurate value, based on identification and condition. If the item is damaged or lost, a photograph might be the only surviving documentation. This extraordinary circumstance is a limiting condition that the appraiser must disclose in the report. If the item is not lost, it must be inspected physically by the appraiser, either through a one-on-one appointment or via shipment of the item to the appraiser.

For clients who are unable to meet in person, we offer the option of shipping the item to one of her four office locations: Manhattan, NY; Palm Beach, FL, Naples, FL; and Grosse Pointe Farms, MI. Appraisals and corresponding shipments will be done in a timely matter.


How much will a personal property appraisal cost and how long will it take?

Most appraisers charge an hourly or daily rate. Fees generally include time expended to inspect, photograph, research and identify, analyze, conclude value and prepare the appraisal report. Appraisal rates can vary depending on level of accreditation.

The time it takes to fulfill the appraisal depends on the nature of the property. A proper, accurate valuation can take several weeks.


What can I do with my jewelry appraisal once I obtain it?

After your appraisal consultation, you will receive an appraisal report. This is a document that clearly states the kind of value being determined (such as fair market for taxes; replacement, which is often used for insurance coverage; liquidation for bankruptcy or business dissolution), the property that is being valued, and details of the procedures used to estimate the value, which can include an analysis of comparable sales; estimation and analysis of income (if applicable) and relation of the appraisal values to a specific point in time. The appraisal report should also include the signature of the appraiser responsible for validity and objectivity, along with the personal qualifications of the appraiser.

What a client chooses to do with an appraisal report usually depends on why he or she sought an appraisal in the first place. While there are no official expiration dates on appraisal reports, many appraisers suggest an update every two to three years, depending on the item and circumstances. But remember: The most important appraisal is the first one. Once property is lost, stolen or destroyed, it is much more difficult to determine its value.

If the client is looking to sell an item through Joseph DuMouchelle, it must be discussed only after the appraisal process, in order to provide a fair and unbiased appraisal of the item or items.


Are jewelry appraisals confidential?

Absolutely. Consultations and meetings can be done in private rooms within one of our four locations or even in the privacy of a client’s home, if necessary. Once the appraisal is done, the appraisal report is kept confidentially between the appraiser and the client; you are not obligated to share it, and the appraiser cannot disclose the report without the client’s written permission.


What percentage of the appraised value can I expect my item to sell for?

Appraisal valuations vary and can often fluctuate significantly from the selling price. There is no easy formula that can be used to estimate what your item might sell for, based on the insurance appraisal. Many jewelers sell an item for one price and send the customer out the door with an insurance appraisal stating the item is valued at double the purchase price. This results in the customer paying too high a premium on insurance.


If there was government standardization for the training of personal property appraisers in jewelry and objects, the valuations for each individual market – retail or estate – would be based on ACTUAL sales transactions, instead of what the appraiser randomly decides to estimate. Currently, training for personal property appraisers requires education similar to that of real property case law.


For more information regarding the leading personal property appraisal organizations please visit their websites at:

ASA-American Society of Appraisers
ASA specializes in real property and personal property appraisers. It is the oldest and only major appraisal organization that represents all disciplines of appraisal specialists.


ISA -International Society of Appraisers
ISA specializes in personal property appraisers only. The four main divisions are: antiques and residential contents, fine art, gemstones and jewelry, and machinery, and equipment.


NAJA-National Association of Jewelry Appraisers
NAJA is only appraisal organization specializing solely in the gem appraisal and jewelry education.


AAA- Appraisers Association of America
Established in 1949, is the premier national association of personal property appraisers who focus on fine and decorative arts.


The effectiveness of the second-hand market depends on how unique your item is, which affects the price the next buyer is willing to pay. If your item is antique, signed, or one-of-a-kind, it may fetch record prices at auction.