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How and where to get an honest jewelry appraisal

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A jewelry appraisal is a statement that includes a detailed description of your fine jewelry as well as its retail value. A jewelry appraisal is performed by a certified appraiser after a detailed inspection.

A jewelry appraisal is useful for insurance purposes, estate planning and other legal matters, as well as to satisfy your own curiosity.

If you need a jewelry appraisal now for insurance purposes, you can get one from BriteCo for $26 >>

If you want an appraisal because you’re going to sell, consider Worthy, an online jewelry marketplace that offers a free GIA lab report if you send in your item.

Here’s what else you should know about jewelry appraisals:

Types of jewelry appraisals

Fair market value appraisals

Per the IRS and U.S. Department of Treasury, a fair market value appraisal of a piece of jewelry is the same as for any other asset (real estate, vehicle, etc.) — it is a reasonable sum you can expect to fetch should you sell your jewelry on the open market. A fair market value of a diamond engagement ring recently purchased is what the retail market value of that same ring would be should any member of the general public buy that same ring at retail — not on the resale, wholesale or used jewelry market.

A jewelry appraisal is typically for insurance replacement purposes, which would be akin to fair market value. If you were to replace your old Rolex watch today, should it be lost, stolen or destroyed in a house fire, what would a similarly positioned new Rolex cost at a store today?

However, if you have a used piece of jewelry, you likely cannot sell it for a retail value, but in most cases, for the secondary value of the stone and metal — about 30 to 50% of the retail value, accounting for the buyer’s own markup. This information is not included in a jewelry appraisal, though it is included in a lab grading report (more details below).

Estate appraisals / Financial planning

You may be preparing your own estate with your attorney, or working through the estate of a loved one, and estimating the value of various items for resale or to fairly divide up the items among loved ones. 

Jewelry, watches, coins, flatware and gold are often part of an estate. 

An appraiser will value these items based on the fair value market price.

Charitable donations appraisals

Often, old jewelry is donated to charity for auction or other fundraising purposes, and the donor is given a receipt to use to write off the donation on their federal taxes. The jewelry can be appraised at fair market price for this purpose.

Grading report

Many people misuse the term jewelry appraisal and apply it to other, related documents.

For example, there is a big difference between a certified jewelry appraisal and a jewelry grading report, also known as a lab report or jewelry certification.

Jewelry grading is a highly scientific process, and only certified gemologists can give you an accurate report on the dimensions, quality and monetary value of your diamond, ring, jewelry or watch.

These laboratories are recognized around the world for their accurate, unbiased grading, and rely on very advanced technology to assess and price your item.

Also, there is a big difference between a certified jewelry appraisal and a jewelry evaluation — even though these terms are often used interchangeably. An evaluation is an informal overview of your jewelry and used typically in a resale transaction.

AppraisalEvaluationLab report/
ProfessionalGIA certified appraiserLocal jeweler, pawn shop, etc.GIA, IGI or another internationally recognized laboratory
Length10-15 pages1-2 pages1-2 pages
Useful forTechnical detail of item + replacement valueUnderstanding resale or replacement valueTechnical detail of your jewelry

If you’re going to sell jewelry worth more than $1,000, it is helpful to first get a certified jewelry grading from a recognized lab like GIA or IGI.

How does a jewelry appraisal differ from jewelry grading?

An appraisal can be done in less than an hour, and is typically used to determine the “replacement value” in insurance claims, or for tax or estate planning purposes, and is always much higher than the purchase price.

A grading is conducted in a third-party laboratory like GIA or IGI by certified gemologists, and will give you a definitive determination of the cut, clarity, quality, origin and exact measurements of your diamond or other jewelry (GIA does not provide resale values).

If you are seeking resale information about your jewelry, a grading report is most helpful.

Keep in mind that an appraisal is often inflated above what you might pay for the same item at a jewelry store, but can be useful for insurance or tax purposes.

How does a jewelry appraisal differ from jewelry evaluation?

Often, a local jeweler, gold or diamond exchange or pawn shop near you will provide an evaluation for free.

Keep in mind that an evaluation may be lower than actual resale value, especially if the person giving it is interested in buying your jewelry.

How much does a jewelry appraisal cost?

The cost of a jewelry appraisal depends on several factors:

  1. The complexity and rarity of the jewelry. A solitaire engagement ring is easier to appraise than an elaborate brooch with a dozen rare stones made by a known brand like Cartier or Bulgari.
  2. The qualifications of the appraiser. A GIA-certified appraiser will charge more than a diamond or gold buyer who may give you an evaluation for free and call it an “appraisal.”

If you are getting your jewelry appraised for insurance purposes from a local jeweler or appraiser, expect to pay a flat or hourly rate, based on $75 to $150 per hour, according to the insurance company Jewelers Mutual.

For a certified laboratory report from an independent association like the Gemological Institute of America, or GIA, a one-carat diamond ring will cost an average of $200, with prices varying on the size, rarity and other factors of the jewelry.

A gold wedding band, by comparison is not likely worth the cost of an appraisal, since it's value is for melt value, and the resale value likely less than $200.

How much do jewelry appraisers charge?

A certified jewelry appraiser, including at a local jewelry store, will provide an appraisal for resale or insurance purposes, but expect to pay between $50 and $150 per hour for jewelry appraisal services.

How much does it cost to appraise a piece of jewelry?

Unless yours is a very special, valuable piece of jewelry, an appraisal should cost you around $100 for most items. This Reddit thread has some personal experiences:

Does anyone have info about ring appraisal? Are appraisers motivated to appraise high or low? What are the pros and cons? Has anyone used multiple appraisers? A lot of questions – just feeing like the whole thing is a scam.
by u/kittycarousel in weddingplanning

Where to get jewelry appraised

A jewelry appraisal requires a certified appraisal who will provide a detailed report of your item, along with a retail value estimate. Here are your options:

Where to get a jewelry appraisal “near me”

To find a reputable local jeweler for a certified appraisal of your vintage, antique or estate jewelry, the trans association Jewelers of America recommends searching the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers website.

Jewelry appraisals is largely an unregulated industry, so it is on the customer to ask for:

  • Credentials: A professional jewelry appraiser should be certified by the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers, or a Graduate Gemologist diploma from the GIA.
  • Continuing education certificates
  • Jewelry appraisal experience
  • Adherence to legal standards: Among other laws and standards, intentionally over-valuing on appraisals is illegal under Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines and unethical.

To find a trustworthy appraiser, a search Yelp, Better Business Bureau and Google:


Jewelers aren’t your only option.

You can always get a second opinion, whether through a GIA lab report or on in the event that you chose to sell through that site.

Where to get a jewelry appraisal online: BriteCo

BriteCo is a startup jewelry insurance company that allows you to get an appraisal and insurance up to 125% of the value of your jewelry within minutes, at very affordable prices. They also offer online jewelry appraisals for $26 within a few minutes.

BriteCo has just one review on Trustpilot and is backed by A-rated global reinsurance carrier A.M.

Here are some jewelry insurance policy examples from their website:

Jewelry appraisal pricing on Briteco.

Where to get jewelry appraised for free

Some local, reputable jewelers will give you an evaluation for free, but expect to pay for an objective appraisal report from a certified appraiser.

Any gold or diamond buyer will offer a free appraisal, but keep in mind that they are motivated to quote you a low valuation.

Check the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers for recommendations on professional appraisers. Yelp reviews can also be helpful.

What is involved in a jewelry appraisal? 

The essence of a jewelry appraisal is understanding the components of the precious metals and gemstones in your item, as well as any special design, brand or history that may contribute to its value.

Before you head to a local jeweler near you, or send your jewelry into an online jewelry buyer or gold buyer, you can take these steps to understand the value of your item:

  • Learn whether your diamond is real and its characteristics like weight, clarity and cut
  • Understand if the gold is real, and its weight and karat
  • Educate yourself about the jewelry market. For estate and antique jewelry, understand that there are four ways to value the piece:
    • Replacement price: how much it would cost to buy the same item, in the event your piece is lost, stolen or destroyed
    • Estate value retail: what it would sell for in a store
    • Estate value wholesale: the price you would receive from a wholesaler or at auction
    • Intrinsic value: the market price of the gold, platinum, diamond or gemstones

However, keep in mind that the only way to get a useful jewelry appraisal is through a certified appraiser.

Understanding a diamond ring appraisal

Like most jewelry, your engagement, wedding, diamond or other ring has both metal and gemstones in it. Typically, a jeweler or the GIA will evaluate the stone, and scrap metal valuations for any gold or platinum setting.

Also, it is important to understand that typically, the large center stone is the only diamond in most engagement rings that counts towards the carat weight. Side stones are typically not worth more than a few hundred dollars, unless they are of high quality and of at least .3 carat each.

A skilled appraiser or diamond buyer can also offer a quality estimate of the replacement value of your diamond, though there are many other ways to appraise a diamond and understand its value.

Learn more about how to sell a piece of Tiffany jewelry or engagement ring you no longer want.

Here is how and why I sold my engagement ring after divorce, and what I did with the money.

Understanding gemstone appraisals

In order to get the most money for your gemstone, you must understand what they’re worth. While there are a number of factors that will influence the value of your gemstone, the most important are the same as for diamonds: 

  • Color: What specific color or hue is your stone? The rarer and deeper the color, generally speaking, the more valuable your gemstone.
  • Clarity: The clearer your stone, the more valuable it will be.
  • Carat: The larger your gemstone, the more valuable it will be.
  • Cut: If your gemstone is processed, the specific cut and quality of cut will impact its value.
  • Treatments: Is the gemstone color natural or achieved by other means, such as heating? For the most part, non-treated stones are more valuable.

While it may be possible to reference online charts and resources to conduct some sort of assessment for yourself, in order to get an accurate picture of your gemstone’s worth you need an appraisal.

Note, however, that unless your gemstone is of significant size and quality, most gemstones are worthless in resale.

Understanding antique and estate jewelry appraisals

A professional appraiser does an in-depth inspection to determine the value of your antique, vintage and estate rings, brooches, necklace, earrings or whatever piece you take in.

Usually, this is done to get the “replacement value,” so you can make sure you bought enough insurance, or to help you with a tax or estate plan. If you’re looking to sell your item — including any silver, gold or semiprecious gemstones, like a moonstone, tiger eye, lapiz lazuli, or an onyx — a jeweler can give you an idea of their value.

An appraisal is not the same as a “grading” (sometimes called a “lab report”). Grading takes place in a laboratory, such as the International Gemological Institute of America (GIA) or the International Gemological Institute (IGI).

Certified professional appraisers with extensive, scientific training in metals and gemstones will produce a 15-20 page report that details a gem’s size, clarity, color and cut, along with information about metals, market value, name brand and estimated resale price. Only a certified gemologist can give the correct value of your brooch, ring, necklace or other jewelry.

There are several ways to value antique or estate jewelry:

  1. Intrinsic value if your antique jewelry. What is the market rate for the weight of the scrap gold, silver and platinum, plus the market rate for any loose gemstones in the piece?
  2. Estate jewelry retail value. How much could this item sell for in a consignment, antique or jewelry store?
  3. Wholesale jewelry value. How much could you sell the item for to a wholesaler or retailer, who would then apply their markup when they put the estate jewelry to market?
  4. Replacement value. An appraisal for estate planning or insurance purposes seeks to set a value on antique jewelry that would help you replace the item were it lost or stolen.

Understanding the difference between jewelry appraisal and selling price

You might wonder why your sales receipt showing what you paid for your jewelry doesn’t suffice as an appraisal. Well, here’s why:

  • Jewelry appraisal establishes what the piece is worth
  • Takes into account factors like authenticity, condition, age, or rarity
  • Conducted by a certified jewelry professional
  • Worth assigned is mainly for insurance purposes and is often higher than retail or resale value because it also reflects the cost of the jewelry’s replacement1 

The selling price is different from your jewelry’s worth. It simply represents the jewelry’s fair market value to give you an idea of what you can expect to receive should you decide to sell it. 

How to sell your estate or antique jewelry for the highest price

Jewelry appraisals FAQs

What is the best way to appraise jewelry?

A local jeweler who is GIA certified is a good way to get an appraisal for insurance or estate-planning purposes — or if you just want to know more about your jewelry.

Can I get a jewelry appraisal online?

BriteCo offers online jewelry appraisals for $26, within a few minutes. Their main business is jewelry insurance.

Can I get a free online jewelry appraisal?

Any online jewelry buyer will give you a jewelry evaluation for free.

Bottom line: Are jewelry appraisals worth it?

Yes — jewelry appraisals are worth it, but only for high-value jewelry pieces. A typical appraisal costs about $100, so unless your piece is worth significantly more than that, spending money on an appraisal might not make sense.

If you simply want to understand what your jewelry is worth and what its qualities are, then a free evaluation by a local jeweler or trusted pawn shop may be helpful. Similarly, if you need your jewelry appraised for insurance purposes, go ahead and pay for one locally or online through a site like BriteCo.

If you have a significant piece of branded or large diamond or gemstone jewelry, then a lab report or grading from GIA or another laboratory is a good investment for purposes of insurance, legal documentation for an estate plan, divorce proceedings or to best help you assess resale opportunities.


  1. “Guide to Jewelry Appraisals” Jewelers of America
What is a jewelry appraisal?

A jewelry appraisal is a statement of value that spells out the worth of your item. The person doing the appraisal, the appraiser, does a thorough inspection of your jewelry to determine the value.

How do you get jewelry appraised?

The main way most people get their jewelry appraised is through a local jeweler, who can give you a decent estimate of how much your item would get at retail value.

How much does a jewelry appraisal cost?

If you are getting your jewelry appraised for insurance purposes from a local jeweler or appraiser, expect to pay a flat or hourly rate, based on $75 to $150 per hour. Some appraisers charge based on a percentage of the appraised value.

How much do jewelry appraisers charge?

Many local jewelers will provide an appraisal for resale or insurance purposes, but expect to pay between $50 and $150 per hour for jewelry appraisal services.

Is it worth getting jewelry appraised?

If you have a significant piece of branded or large diamond or gemstone jewelry, then a lab report or grading from GIA or another laboratory is a good investment for purposes of insurance, legal documentation for an estate plan, divorce proceedings or to best help you assess resale opportunities. founder Emma Johnson is an award-winning business journalist, activist, author and expert. A former Associated Press reporter and MSN Money columnist, and National Jeweler editor, Emma has appeared on CNBC, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, TIME, The Doctors, Elle, O, The Oprah Magazine. Winner of Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web” and a New York Observer “Most Eligible New Yorker," her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was a New York Post Must Read. As an expert on divorce and gender, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality and multiple state legislature hearings. Her next book, The 50/50 Solution, is out March, 2024 with Sourcebooks. More about Emma's credentials.

Yingjia Puk is a GIA-certified gemologist and CAD/CAM jewelry designer as well as a member of the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers. Yingjia has worked extensively with jewelry since 2006, with positions at Harry Winston, celebrity jeweler Lorraine Schwartz and Good Housekeeping and BlackBook magazines. Previously, she managed the gemological laboratory at Yingjia is originally from Singapore.Yingjia's LinkedIn profile


I have a question, if you have a rock that looks like a rock from your yard, but the center is quite obviously a gemstone (purple in color), what type of person do you take it to in order to identify/appraise it? Thanks!

I inherited a lot of jewelry that I think is valuable based of my research. Please help. I need the money for my masters degree, a house, and possibly health complications. I am a 5’3” man that won’t ever marry because of that fact. I need help so I can jumpstart my career. I have a couple presidential Rolex’s that have been confirmed but not appraised plus more watches that are vintage. Please help me if you can

How would you go about getting raw uncut diamonds/& gemstones appraised? Or just find out if they are in fact diamonds ? I Inherited quite a few gemstones/ diamonds, all I know is they came from Alaska in the late 1940s from my great grandpas brother( my great uncle ) he mined gold there from what I understand.. iv did all the tests myself at home on the ones I believe to be diamonds and all the test point to diamonds. I don’t know what I can do from here tho, I took them to a local jeweler and he said he didn’t know much about diamonds in the rough but he would like to find out more about them! that he was both. Intrigued& wanted to find someone who did know more about raw diamonds to tell me & him more about them, and it was the first time he had seen anything like what I had , he said well ya just don’t get to see these type of gems everyday it’s a once in a lifetime thing for sure. but being he is a busy man, not much help! So if you could point me in the right direction that be great! Any help thank you !

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