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.
An appraisal from a local jeweler, for example, may be useful in determining insurance replacement value, or helping you create an estate or tax plan, but is not useful in understanding exactly the quality, specifications and other attributes inherent to your item.
A jeweler or pawn shop, however, can easily weigh and measure your gold, silver or common gemstones stones for the purpose of scrap metal value.
However, if you want to sell your jewelry for the most money and get a free appraisal, go to Worthy now >>
- How much is my jewelry worth?
- How do appraisal prices compare with actual selling prices?
- How do you get jewelry appraised?
- How much does a jewelry appraisal cost?
How much is my jewelry worth?
You might guess that solid gold and silver jewelry is worth more than costume trinkets. Yet, many jewelry owners still wind up wondering, “Is my costume jewelry worth anything?” Some vintage costume pieces have gold plating, but is gold plated jewelry worth anything?
Typically, the answer is no. Some name-brand vintage costume jewelry may have retail value at a specialty resale shop, but you may be better off donating unused plastic and costume items to a local charity, and enjoying a tax deduction.
It’s difficult to get an answer to these questions without an appraisal. If your goal is having a general idea of your jewelry’s value, consider working with Worthy to get an estimate and then lab report from a gemologist.
At the same time, always remember the golden rule of resale: Your stuff is only worth the amount someone else is willing to pay.
That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t sell if you don’t make a lot of money. In this post, I write about all the emotional value of selling engagement jewelry, as well as all the life-changing ways women have invested profits from jewelry sales.
After all, if you’re not enjoying it, it is lost money.
Jewelry appraisal vs selling price: How do appraisal prices compare with actual selling prices?
It is a common mistake to confuse jewelry appraisal price and the selling price. However, a value given for insurance lists the retail replacement cost, which is very different from what you’d get in the resale market.
If you’re curious about the value, sometimes local jewelry appraisers give you an appraisal for free, which may serve as a good benchmark, but this won’t match what you’d earn if you sell your valuable — whether to a local jeweler, an online jewelry buyer, pawnshop, gold exchange, diamond exchange, eBay or another source.
Some recent surveys found that you will get approximately 25-40% of the retail value of your diamond jewelry. So, for example, if you paid $5,000 for a diamond solitaire ring, it should be appraised for approximately $5,000 for replacement purposes. That same ring will sell for about $1,250 to $2,000 or less to a diamond or jewelry buyer.
Keep in mind that the most valuable — by far! — part of a ring is the center stone. If your jewelry is highly designed with many smaller stones, the retail price will be disproportionately higher than the resale price, as nearly all buyers will only resell the center stone — and the metal and smaller stones are considered scrap.
If selling your jewelry is the ultimate goal, consider Worthy.com — the largest online jewelry marketplace. Every item sold on Worthy.com is sent to the IGA or GIA where it receives a certified lab report from a certified gemologist — including an accurate resale price based on real-time market values.
Keep in mind that the sales price will be lower than the purchase price.
How to appraise jewelry
A common concern among jewelry owners is how the jewelry appraisal actually works. You might wonder how to appraise jewelry yourself, but the process requires in-depth, scientific knowledge of gemstones and metals.
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 — retail value is how much that jeweler could sell your ring, gold, diamond or earrings for in his or her store. This price is different from the price the jeweler will pay you today for your valuable — which will be far less than the retail value.
A jewelry appraisal is useful for insurance purposes, estate planning and other legal matters, as well as to satisfy your own curiosity.
How do you get a jewelry appraisal for insurance purposes?
A jewelry appraisal for insurance purposes can be had at these locations:
- A local jeweler near you.
- A jewelry laboratory, such as GIA or IGI
- Worthy.com provides each item mailed in a copy of a lab report (which is different than an appraisal) as well as an estimated resale price range from GIA or IGI — for free.
Note, there is a big difference between an appraisal and a grading, also known as a lab report.
The internationally recognized laboratories at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) or International Gemological Institute (IGI), will grade your diamond or other gemstone jewelry, determining the cut, color, clarity and exact size, as well as other attributes like name brand, and market value, to give you a certified lab report with detailed information about the metal, diamonds, and gemstones. The lab report will also include an estimate resale price.
If you have an engagement ring or other diamond jewelry, and already have a lab report with specific details of the cut, color, clarity and carat of your jewelry, check out WP Diamonds’ valuation. WP Diamonds ccepts diamonds of at least .5 carats, as well as fine gemstones, branded jewelry like Tiffany, Cartier and David Yurman, watches and luxury handbags.
If you have gold or silver jewelry, or diamonds or gemstones worth less than $1,000, CashforGoldUSA is a better fit. If you know the weight of your item or coin, you can use their online calculator to get an estimate, since the value of precious metals like gold, platinum, and silver change every day. CashforGoldUSA has an A+ Better Business Bureau rating and pays within 24 hours.
How to appraise jewelry yourself
Before you head to a local jeweler near you, or send your jewelry into an online jewelry buyer or gold buyer, you can do a jewelry appraisal at home to better understand the value of your item:
- Learn whether your diamond is real
- Understand if the gold is real
- 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, and intrinsic value (the market price of the gold, platinum, diamond or gemstones).
How to appraise a ring
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 offer scrap metal prices 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.
Here is how and why I sold my engagement ring after divorce, and what I did with the money.
How to appraise a diamond
Appraising a diamond is one of the most standardized, and scientific parts of the jewelry world. With the exception of very large or rare diamonds, a laboratory like GIA can create an objective grading report, based on these common criteria. A skilled appraiser or diamond buyer can also offer a quality estimate of the replacement value of your diamond.
How to appraise gemstones
Understand your gemstones and what they’re worth
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.
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.
How to appraise antique or estate jewelry
A professional appraiser does an in-depth inspection to determine the value of your rings, brooches or whatever piece(s) 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 silver, gold or semiprecious gemstones, like a moonstone, tiger eye, lapiz lazuli, or an onyx, a jeweler can give you an idea of their scrap metal value. (So can a pawn shop.)
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).
There a certified professional with extensive, scientific training in metals and gemstones will produce a lab 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.
(Already have a lab report? Get a feel for the current market by visiting Worthy and viewing the list of recent sales.)
Even if you’re not a gemologist or professional jeweler, you can try a little appraising at home. This can give you some idea of what you have before you take your rings or necklace or other baubles to the jeweler’s or send them to an online gold or jewelry buyer.
It can also be fun – sort of like a science experiment. For example, you can breathe on the stone and then check it quickly; a real diamond will not hold the fog from your breath for more than a couple of seconds. A true diamond will also not break apart in extreme temperatures, or float if you drop it in water.
If you hold a flame next to your “gold” jewelry and it turns black, it’s probably not really gold. Ditto if your skin turns black (or green) when you wear the jewelry. Gold won’t attract a magnet or float.
Real gold should have a “purity marking,” often a carat number such as 14k or 22k. Or the purity might be shown in terms of parts per thousands, such as 585 (58.5% gold) or 999 (99.9% gold).
How to get antique or estate jewelry appraised? So glad you asked.
Antique and estate jewelry can be a little trickier, especially if the gemstones are of an older cut, such as an old mine cut diamond that is less popular than modern cuts, the condition of the item, and the style, which may affect the retail value.
There are ways to value antique or estate jewelry:
- 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?
- Estate jewelry retail value. How much could this item sell for in a consignment, antique or jewelry store?
- 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?
- 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.
Where can I get estate jewelry appraised for free?
Sometimes local jewelers will provide an appraisal for free, especially if you are a long-time customer, or you are in the process of trading or selling an item, or the retailer has other reasons to nurture the relationship.
Reputable online diamond and jewelry buyers and marketplaces such as Worthy.com will include a lab grading report from the IGI or GIA for 100% free. Start your process of getting your free lab report at Worthy.
Where can I get an accurate estate jewelry appraisal near me?
Sometimes it makes sense to find a local jeweler to provide an appraisal. Again, this can work for insurance purposes, or if you want an initial quote to consider in your resale journey.
To find a reputable local jeweler for an appraisal of your antique or estate jewelry, a search on Yelp, as well as the Better Business Bureau, is a good idea. Keep in mind that you can always get a second opinion, whether through GIA or on Worthy.com in the event that you chose to sell through that site.
Where can I get a free online estate jewelry appraisal?
Reputable online diamond and jewelry buyers and marketplaces such as Worthy.com will include a lab grading report from the IGI or GIA for 100% free. If at some point in the auction process you decide not to go through with the sale, a copy of that lab report is yours to keep, with no charge at all. It is important to note that IGI and GIA are objective, third-party laboratories, not an in-house technician or jeweler at Worthy, so you can trust there is no ulterior motive to inflate or deflate the price quoted.
Also, because the Worthy auction promotes the fact that it comes with an IGI or GIA certificate, that improves the buyer trust, and increases resale value. This transparency is one of the reasons Worthy has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau — which is useful for both the buyer and the seller (you).
Before you try to sell, get a grading report (not just an appraisal)
Regardless of whether you sell to an old family friend, or one of the trusted, quality online wholesalers or marketplaces for jewelry, it is important to get a certified jewelry grading first. Jewelry is a highly scientific product, 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.
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 professionals, and will give you a definitive determination of the cut, clarity, quality, origin and exact measurements of your diamond or other jewelry, as well as an estimated resale value.
If you are seeking resale information about your jewelry, you need a grading report.
How to appraise Tiffany jewelry
Tiffany jewelry is known for its simple, elegant styles and high-quality materials and diamonds. For this reason, Tiffany jewelry tends to maintain a high resale value, especially if the engagement ring or other jewelry is in good condition, and a style that is currently in demand.
Tiffany & Co. does not offer appraisals, but a reputable auction house will appraise a Tiffany item, or auction site like Worthy will provide a GIA lab report on your Tiffany jewelry.
Learn more about how to sell a piece of Tiffany jewelry or engagement ring you no longer want.
Keep in mind that how you get jewelry appraised can make a big impact on the sticker price of your pieces. If you have an item that includes diamonds, finding a certified appraiser who understands how to appraise diamond jewelry is your best chance at a clear value.
How to find a reputable jewelry appraiser to get an appraisal
How old your piece of jewelry is can also impact what it’s worth, making estate jewelry appraisals a little tricky. While some of your heirlooms could become valuable showpieces with larger price tags, others go out of style and lose their value.
Sometimes a local jeweler can help with general inquiries about how much your valuables are worth. But to know how to get jewelry appraised and sold, partnering with a reputable online jewelry buyer like WP Diamonds can help.
Other leading online jewelry and diamond buyers advertise that their appraisers are GIA certified, but that is very different than sending your item to the GIA or IGA laboratory, where it will be inspected and receive a full laboratory report — for free.
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
Where to get jewelry appraised for free
Most local, reputable jewelers will give you an appraisal for free. Check the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers for a recommendation. Yelp reviews can also be helpful.
For lower-end items such as gold chains and rings, and smaller jewelry, a local pawn shop can weigh your items and offer a price that may shock you — pawn shop prices reflect around 13% to the dollar of original price paid.
Reliable online diamond and jewelry buyers like WP Diamonds will offer an appraisal or valuation for free. WP Diamonds has an A+ Better Business Bureau rating, insures your item up to $100,000 with free FedEx door-to-door shipping, and pays within 24 hours of an accepted offer.
Are jewelry appraisals accurate?
Insurance appraisals may serve the purpose of buying coverage for your jewelry collection, but when selling your valuables, we recommend taking extra steps to get the most detailed report about the specifications of your item. This gives you the confidence that you are getting the highest price for your diamond, gold or other jewelry — as well as providing true value for whoever buys your jewelry.
As a general rule, update your appraisal every two to three years is a good idea, as the price of gold, platinum and silver fluctuate daily, and the market value for all jewelry ebbs and flows.
In the end, the market dictates how much your item is worth. With most online jewelry sites like eBay or Etsy, just 5% of jewelry posted is actually sold. Worthy is a live, online jewelry marketplace where hundreds of vetted buyers around the world bid on your item, based on the information from the lab report from GIA or IGA — so everyone involved in the process understands exactly the quality of the item up for sale — including you!
How much does a jewelry appraisal cost?
The cost of a jewelry appraisal depends on several factors:
- The complexity and rarity of the jewelry. A solitaire engagement ring is easier to appraise than an elaborate brooch with a dozen rare stones.
- The qualifications of the appraiser may charge less than a lab report from the GIA, since the latter is recognized as the industry standard, and their laboratories are equipped with sophisticated grading equipment to ensure accurate grading. Plus, because GIA conducts huge volume of jewelry appraisals, their market resale estimates are extremely rare and based on thousands of recent sales.
Often, a local jeweler, gold or diamond exchange or pawn shop near you will provide an appraisal for free, especially if you are a regular customer. 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.
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.
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 GIA grading and lab report will cost about $200 for a simple diamond ring, and up.