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An Appraiser's Role

Before I began my studies at the Appraisers International Society (AIS), I really had no idea what a trained appraiser actually does. I knew it was a service I wanted to offer clients: to tell the history of a piece of jewelry or gemstone while giving you pricing information you need to make informed decisions.  

I figured I couldn’t say I was an appraiser, or behave like an appraiser or think like an appraiser until I learned what one actually does and how to do it professionally. 200 hours of coursework and 35 exam hours later, I think I’ve got it.

Appraisals should be done by an impartial professional who has no financial interest in the item being appraised.  This protects the client from receiving an inflated valuation for their item. An inflated value might make you feel good—“Oh, we got such a great deal! We paid $10,000 for that bracelet but the appraisal says it’s worth $18,000!”  You really don’t want to be paying an insurance premium on something that was appraised for much more than it may actually be worth. An insurance company is happy to set your premium based on that inflated price, but in case of a loss, a check for $18,000 is unlikely to arrive in the mail.

So what do I know how to do? My expertise in gems and jewelry allows me to use my professional connections to cross check the market value of your piece and offer you my best opinion based on facts. If you need me to tell you exactly what kind of gemstone is in the item, I can do that, too, because of my Graduate Gemology training from GIA. If you need me to find provenance on an historic piece or examine the quality of a piece of jewelry, just call my office. 312-346-2363.

I can do this for individual consumers needing to buy insurance or after a loss; clients considering a buy that they aren’t sure is fairly priced, people settling estates, divorcing couples who need to figure out what they have, government customs seizures… the list goes on.

It’s a busy world out there and we all need professional help sometimes.  It’s good to know where to turn.