Maybe you want to get it insured. Perhaps it’s important to know how much it is worth for tax purposes. Or do you want to sell it? Whatever the reason you want to get your gold jewelry appraised, it is important that you get it done right.
You see, the price for an appraisal can differ a lot. In some cases, you can get it done for free. At other places, it might put you back hundreds of dollars. Now that’s a big difference!
It doesn’t stop there. You see, there are appraisals and then there are appraisals. Sometimes they’re going to be spot on and give you the value down to the second decimal place. On other occasions, however, they will give you some much lower figure that underestimates the item’s worth.
When do you need an appraisal?
Okay. Before we get into all that, let’s take a step back and answer when you actually need to get your jewelry appraised.
Well, you don’t really need to get it done if you’ve still got the original appraisal from when you bought the item. Similarly, if it’s only gold, you know the karats and the craftsmanship isn’t fantastic (or it’s a gold bar) then you can calculate the price on your own.
Only if the craftsmanship is outstanding or there are precious stones, like diamonds, involved do you need to make sure that you get it appraised. That’s because these things can be difficult to quantify when you’re not a professional.
So, what is an appraisal?
A lot of people think that the answer to this question is so straightforward they forget to ask it. That’s unfortunate, as it’s actually not what most people think it is. People assume that when they get an appraisal done, they’ll get quoted a value, which they will then get paid at the shop.
But that’s not how it works.
An appraisal gives you the retail value or what it would be worth if you would buy it in the shop (big difference). It includes several markups from whoever sat there with the eyepiece in crafting it, to what the shop puts on top. This price does have its uses. For example, when you’re getting it insured, this would be the amount used as that would be the ‘replacement cost’. Similarly, the tax man would care about this number.
If you’re trying to sell it, though, then this price isn’t as useful, as gold buyers aren’t going to pay you the same. They are probably going to offer you around the wholesale price.
Watch out for conflict of interest
They might not even offer you that. For example, if the item was made by a competitor they might lowball the number to make the other person look bad. Similarly, if they want to buy it, they might be tempted to give you a low offer, so that they can buy it on the cheap.
You can avoid both these situations by looking for appraisers that have the right qualifications. For example, they should have a diploma in gemology from an accredited school, like the GIA. Note the word diploma there. If they’ve only taken one or two courses, that doesn’t cut it.
You’ll also want whoever they’re working for to be accredited by the BBB. That way, if they lowball you they’ll run the risk of losing their accreditation. That might kill their business, so they’ll be a lot less likely to do that.
Why most people now use online appraisers
In fact, that’s why many people now use online appraisers. After all, the information about what accreditation the company and their appraisers have is right there on the webpage. In that way, you can make an informed decision long before you get in touch.
Another advantage of the online appraisers is that often much less expensive. This is because your local appraiser will only be able to reach a limited market with their store. If they want to reach a bigger audience, they’ll need to build more stores and hire more appraisers. That’s expensive.
This is not a problem for online appraisers. Their one website will reach all of the country. And because of such high-quality services like FedEx, DHL and UBS, things can be shipped to a central location with a minimum of fuss. All that means lower overheads. That means they have to charge you less for the same high-quality service.
Not bad, right?
What about the free appraisals performed by online buyers?
That’s a good question. Can you trust these kinds of appraisals? Won’t there be a conflict of interest, like I mentioned above? Yes, there might be and you do want to protect yourself from that as best you can.
A good way to do that is to check out the testimonials that the site has. Read through them and see if they’re positive. Also, check for links outwards, as then you can see if the people who wrote the reviews actually exist.
Also, check for external sites to see how the company is rated there. This is important, as they can’t affect these scores. That means these ratings are more likely to be objective.
You can check out our ratings of different gold buyer on our main page.
If you follow those two strategies, then you’ll get a good idea if previous customers were happy with the service. And the happier they were, the more confident you can be that you’ll be happy too.