Do I need to have my jewellery valued?

When I deliver an item of jewellery to a client they receive two bits of paperwork; the invoice for the pieces, and a high street valuation. The reason for this is that because my work is bespoke, and I don't carry the same overheads as a store, my costs are slightly lower. If something happened to the jewellery and I wasn't around, the client could struggle to get the payout to re-create the same item of jewellery from a retailer. Hence the valuation needs to be a bit higher to reflect the average high street mark up.

However I am not a jewellery valuer. I thought about it.. but it's a long course and it's very expensive and there isn't really any benefit in me getting the qualificaton at the end of it as most of my time is spent on the design and manufacturing side of things rather than telling people what their pieces are worth. But yes, I still value jewellery. How so?

The Intricacies of a Jewellery Valuation

Jewellery valuations can be an arduous thing to complete. Done properly they should comprise a detailed DNA of the jewellery item, explaining exactly why it carries the value it does. They are very important for any insurance claim, because they support the financial case for the new piece. So they are popular with insurers - because they give them a starting point for any claim which has been completed by a professional. If they are carried out regularly this also protects the client because if the lost gold and diamond ring is now worth twice what was paid for it 10 years previously the insurer has evidence to support this.

Hopefully I've made my point that they are worth doing, especially for jewellery worth more than £1K.

I know a number of jewellery valuers in my industry - and have recommended clients to them as and when required. However I will still offer valuations myself if required and here's why;

While most jewellery valuers are trained carefully, and part of affiliated organisations, it can be another area that jewellery insurers get a kickback from. My job is to source and cost jewellery solutions for my client and I have replaced pieces. My valuations are no different to a valuer, and sometimes slightly more accurate, firstly because I am not upping values to claim a higher commission on the valuation, and secondly because as I have the jewellery made myself, I know exactly what replacement costs are going to be for an item, because I'm working with the suppliers and producers so can directly check.

This means while it can be a good idea to get a jewellery valuation carried out (and believe me, I'm not writing this because I want the business - evaluations for large estates can be very labour intensive and I don't always have the free time) it doesn't have to be a accredited valuer for an insurer to accept the valuation.

When clients ask me, I will ask them to check with their insurers if they will accept the valuation of a manufacturing jeweller. In most cases they are - but if they are receiving percentages from their third parties there is every chance that they will request the valuation is carried out by an accredited valuer. It is interesting that having carried out some very high valuations, the insurers aren't concerned with my standing. However with the cheaper insurance firms clients have had to receive separate valuations and sometimes for items that really aren't worth being line items on the policy.

This is the joy of insurance!

Working with a jewellery valuer

Unfortunately you don't often get loose diamonds to examine in a jewellery valuation..

If engaging the services of a jewellery valuer, my recommendation is that you look at either the JVA or the IRV. I can recommend Treasured Valuations.


What you need to be clear on is what the costs will be. Some valuers charge per item, and some will charge per job, and some will charge a percentage of the jewellery valuation, or a combination. In addition, ensure that costs have been factored including VAT. You are taking someone's time, and if a valuer has spent an hour assessing a piece of jewellery for you, and preparing a document it is quite reasonable to anticipate costs being between £72 - £120.

Where a percentage of the overall value forms part of the invoice, it is worth being clear how sums are reached. This isn't the whole industry, but some valuers will inflate jewellery values to gain more comission. The down side of this is in addition to the charge for the valuation, it can often affect your insurance premium. Where an insurer is claiming a kickback for introducing the valuer they benefit twice from this!

Some valuers will only visit your home for certain items or values, which isn't unfair. If somebody is travelling an hour each way to carry out a single appraisal it's not unreasonable to have a minimum charge that includes travelling time.

The Report

Dependent on what is required for your valuation will drive the level of granularity on the report. You insurer may have requested a simple valuation, which could comprise a piece description which reads pretty much like your invoice. Especially for newer items of jewellery the invoice will suffice for the first couple of years. If you are looking for something more in depth you can expect;

  • Piece description including;
    • Detailed appearance
    • Metal(s) involved and finesse of metals
    • Gemstones, sizes and carat weights (and whether tested or not)
    • Dimensions of piece
    • Weight of piece
    • Marks (hallmarks and additional marks of note)
    • Any personalisation
  • Branding description (if significant)
  • Image(s) of piece

Sometimes more clarity will be required on piece finesse (the metal purity) or stone quality if appearance is ambiguous.

There are two valuations within this ring, the old cut diamond in the centre and then the emerald calibre set double halo. A really good valuer would also note the setting has been cast rather than hand made - giving away the piece is a modern interpretation of the old Art Deco era.

Can I trust a Valuer with my jewellery?

You should be able to.. I have had a couple of enquiries in response to my blog about fake diamonds with individuals suspicious that their stones have been swapped. I'd recommend following the advice there. It is about finding individuals you can trust, and being confident you can leave your jewellery with them. I would recommend that if you aren't sure, don't do it. There are gemmologists who will offer face to face stone inspections, which could be a good starting point for ascertaining what you have, and a base value.

If it is felt that a gemstone is of particular value, and this is the core of the piece, you may wish to have it evaluated (I estimate carat weight of stones in jewellery I've received through stone dimensions and this should be stated on a valuation with estimated carat weight if the original stone document is not available). However, it has to be with your permission, a valuer should never simply remove a stone. This is not just because it's also more vulnerable to loss or theft when loose, it can also damage the setting.

Should you feel you have a particularly valuable item of jewellery, make sure you take it to a reputable dealership for initial evaluation or ensure the valuer comes to you. A first evaluation will dictate next steps. I had a client bring an old glass earring to me, which turned out to be a 3 carat rose cut diamond! I'd performed a simple test on the stone to validate it was a diamond. It took about 5 minutes and meant she knew that she was going to need to get them on her insurance policy sharpish!

Final Thoughts

Maybe I should have said this right at the beginning, but most jewellery valuations are to provide a replacement value for a piece. THIS IS NOT A RESALE VALUE. If you are looking for an acceptable sales value for a piece you are better off approaching an auction house or second hand jeweller or doing your own research online.

Whether you go with a registered jewellery valuer, or use a manufacturing jeweller or other jewellery specialist what matters the most is that the data produced is accurate and reflects the prevailing market conditions.

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