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Types of Jewelry Appraisals in the USA

Specifically for the Gem and Jewelry Disciplines

Please remember that some laws relating to appraisal and valuation terminology can vary with geographic area and jurisdiction. The nomenclature used here is that which most commonly occurs or minor detail that varies greatly between jurisdictions has been omitted.

The definitions are not intended to be legally exhaustive. The information noted here is intended to offer guidance to consumers to assist them to better understand the purpose and function of each appraisal type and to bring some clarity, when needed, to terminology used by a jewelry appraisal professional.

We are indebted to Mark Cartwright, ASA, MGA, CMA NAJA, GIA GG of Gemologically Speaking Albuquerque NM for his assistance in compiling these US appraisal categories and definitions.

To view valuation types used in other countries, please go to the Worldwide Jewelry Appraisal Definitions page.

Appraiser USA


Jewelry appraisal for Divorce Settlement

Appraisal for Divorce Settlement

Occasionally Requested

Divorce appraisals are used to help the parties involved divide the tangible assets of a marital estate. The type of value provided in the appraisal report will typically be determined by specific State statutes, by agreement between the parties or by the trier of fact (the Court). Commonly requested types of value include fair market value, liquidation value, replacement value and/or marketable cash value. The level of detail provided may also be a matter of agreement or decree, and some States’s laws may make the need for an appraisal much less likely.

Equitable Division

Jewelry appraisal for Equitable Division

Appraisal for Equitable Division

Commonly Requested

This type of appraisal is used to divide an estate among its heirs in an impartial and financially fair manner. One or more of several different types of value could be requested by the estate administrator depending on what the heirs have agreed to or the specific needs of the estate. In general, the level of detail provided in the report is sufficient to identify the property being appraised and highlight the primary characteristics on which the value was based. However, more or less detail may be requested by the client as their needs require. Marketable Cash Value is the most common type of value requested by estate administrators, but Fair Market Value, Market Value and Liquidation Value are also possible value type that may be requested.


Jewelry appraisal for Estate Tax

Appraisal for Estate Tax

Commonly Requested

Estate appraisals prepared to help determine estate tax must meet specific standards outlined in the Code of Federal Regulations and / or the specific regulations of each specific State. For Federal estate tax purposes, the fair market value, as specifically defined in 26 CFR §20.2031-1(b) of the tax code, is provided based on the methodology and to the level of detail required by the IRS. Recent changes to Treasury regulations require that appraisals for estate tax must meet the standards of a ‘qualified appraisal’ provided by a ‘qualified appraiser’ (as defined in IRS Code, Section 170). These same Treasury regulations now specify the education and experience a ’qualified appraiser’ must have and they also delineate the minimum content a ’qualified appraisal’ must contain. This type of appraisal is very demanding and requires an appraiser with a high level of education, training and experience in order to help avoid significant tax penalties and possible sanctions by the IRS. Each State may have its own specific value definition and requirements that must be met when providing estate tax appraisals for their jurisdictions.


Jewelry appraisal for Insurance Replacement

Appraisal for Insurance Replacement

Routinely Requested

Replacement value appraisals are intended to be used for scheduled insurance coverage of jewelry and watches. The descriptions are usually the most detailed of any appraisal type and include the quality and condition of the item as well as the cut, color, clarity and carat weight (calculated or estimated) of gemstones and diamonds. When appropriate, the age or historical provenance may also be considered as value elements. Depending on the specifics of the item being appraised, the replacement value may be based on the analysis of sales for similar ‘new‚ items of like kind and quality or sales of ‘used’ (vintage) items of comparable kind, quality and utility.


Jewelry appraisal for Liquidation

Appraisal for Liquidation

Occasionally Requested

This type is an appraisal provided to assist you in the relatively rapid sale of your jewelry or watches and may take the form of an appraisal report or a restricted report. It may be presented in either written or verbal format and as with other types of resale valuations the level of detail included and the type of value(s) requested are your choice, but discussion of the options with your Appraiser is advised. Marketable Cash Value is the most commonly requested value within this appraisal type.

Post-Loss Insurance Assessment

Jewelry appraisal for Post-Loss

Appraisal for Post-Loss

Occasionally Requested

This type of document is prepared after an insured loss has occurred. If you have suffered a partial loss then the type and extent of damage is documented along with an opinion of the value of the item before the damage occurred as well as an opinion of the value after the damage occurred. From those two values, the insurer will determine the diminution of value in order to settle the claim. If you have suffered a total loss then an opinion of the value of the item immediately prior to loss is provided. In both situations the valuation is based on the use of extraordinary assumptions and hypothetical conditions. The specific type of value provided in the report is often determined by the insurance company but most often the broad-evidence-rule will be utilized and you may need your appraiser to provide a range of values over a variety of market types. These are complex appraisals that rely on information provided by 3rd parties such as photos, receipts, previous appraisals or lab documents and perhaps the Appraiser will require an extended interview with you to establish, as near as possible, the details of the lost jewelry or gemstone.


Jewelry appraisal for Resale

Appraisal for Resale

Commonly Requested

This an appraisal report provided to assist you in the sale of jewelry jewelry or watches which may/can provide as much detail as an insurance replacement appraisal; however, a restricted appraisal may provide very little detail. Because there are no hard and fast rules, consultation with your Appraiser will help determine the level of detail and the type of value that is provided, appropriate to your needs. Commonly requested types of value include market value, fair market value, liquidation value, replacement value and/or marketable cash value.