How to Appraise and Value Pearls and Other Jewelry Gifts

The four standards used for jewelry appraisal are: replacement price, estate value retail, estate value wholesale, and intrinsic value.

Our customers sometimes ask about the appraised value of their pearls, which we’re happy to provide. However, they don’t often realize that there’s more than one jewelry appraisal standard and that each standard applies to a specific situation.

To put it simply, just because you receive one jewelry appraisal doesn’t mean it will match your goal. For example, if you want to sell a piece of jewelry in the future, then an appraisal you received for insurance purposes likely won’t hold up with a potential buyer.

In this blog post, we’d like to describe the different jewelry appraisal standards, so you can become a more informed consumer and understand how an appraisal may or may not reflect the actual value of your custom pearl necklace.

Reasons for getting an appraisal

A person may seek a jewelry appraisal for a number of reasons. For one, if you hope to insure a piece of jewelry, then the insurance company will require an appraisal that’s typically less than three-to-five years old. Next, you may want to appraise a piece of jewelry if you received it as a gift or purchased it in pre-owned condition, since you may want to identify any unverified gemstones. In addition, an appraisal can be useful for a piece of jewelry you’ve had for a while, since values can change over time. Finally, if you think you will sell the jewelry at some point in the future, or you’ll need to prove that you’re the owner, then an appraisal can be useful.

Four jewelry appraisal standards

The four standards used for jewelry appraisal are: replacement price, estate value retail, estate value wholesale, and intrinsic value. Replacement price is the most commonly-used jewelry appraisal standard, and it’s used for insurance purposes.

Of the four standards, the replacement price will be the highest dollar amount, since it’s a theoretical value that refers to how much it would cost to replace the jewelry in the event that it’s stolen. You would likely not be able to resell your jewelry for the replacement price.

The estate value retail refers to the price that the piece would sell to a retail customer. So, if you are interested in selling your jewelry directly to a buyer in the future, then you would want to know the estate value retail so that you could set a fair price in the market price. Similarly, the estate value wholesale refers to a fair selling price, but it’s the price at which a person could sell the jewelry to a business rather than directly to a consumer.

Finally, the intrinsic value is the lowest monetary amount, since it estimates the value of the raw materials and doesn’t take things like craftsmanship, beauty, rarity, brand, and other factors into consideration. Unless the jewelry piece is badly damaged, then the intrinsic value would not reflect the price at which it could be resold.

Determining the appraised value of your jewelry does require some special skill. Not only will you want to work with an appraiser who specializes in jewelry, but you’ll also want to choose someone who is knowledgeable about your type of jewelry. For example, if you have an antique pearl necklace, then you’ll want to find a GIA-certified appraiser who specializes in pearls and/or antique jewelry. To search for reputable appraisers in your local area, you can visit the American Gem Society’s website.

Regardless of whether or not you get your jewelry appraised, we’d also like to reinforce the fact that sentimental jewelry pieces like a personalized pearl necklace are priceless, since they carry emotional weight and many memories. An appraisal done by even the most experienced professional can’t possibly take into consideration the meaning and history of a piece.


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