Jewelry appraisal is necessary for insurance purposes, and it can also be an interesting way to find out more about jewelry that you inherited from family or that you found in an antique shop. While everyone dreams of finding that wonderfully rare piece that is worth a lot of money, a lot of times jewelry has a different worth. For example, the worth could be more sentimental but still worth a lot less than you thought. It's best to be prepared for anything when you take a piece of jewelry to an appraiser.
It Could Be Costume
A particularly old piece of jewelry from a family member could be an antique or it could be a piece of really nice-looking costume jewelry. For people who did not have a lot of money, costume jewelry and paste jewelry provided a cheaper alternative that looked just as nice. Your grandmother's wedding ring, for example, may look like a classic diamond ring that could fetch quite a bit of money, but in reality, it could be a piece of costume jewelry.
The appraiser will be able to spot this quickly, but don't be discouraged, by the way. That ring still holds sentimental value, and that's really what counts. While "paste" refers to gem-cut glass that mimics the look of real gems, paste from Edwardian, Victorian, and similar eras have become a collector's item that can be worth quite a bit, so don't lose hope.
It Might Be Worth Less Than Your Family Thought
Still, you could have jewelry that has stones that are very real but the piece could also be very common. Real pearls, for example, aren't that hard to find, and a strand of pearls for a necklace won't necessarily be worth a lot, despite any store markup you paid when you bought the strand. A diamond ring could have a flawed stone that drops the value. None of this is meant to depress you—it's just a factor that you have to be prepared for when you get something appraised.
Second Opinions Are a Good Idea
If you are told that all of your jewelry seems to be worth nothing, or that a piece that you could have sworn was real is supposedly not, go to a second appraiser. It's totally fine to look for the best two out of three appraisals. If you need a certificate showing the appraised amount, you may want to have unofficial appraisals done first and then go back to one of the appraisers later for the official appraisal. A good appraiser will get it right the first time, but if you get a weird feeling, listen to it.
With luck, the pieces that you have appraised will be authentic and worth a lot. When you're prepared for anything, however, finding out that you have items of high monetary value is all the more sweet.