An appraisal is a jeweler's honest evaluation of the dollar value of any given piece of jewelry. The value can be affected by condition, quality of stones, type of metal, history and providence of the piece, style and many other factors.
An appraisal is more than just eyeballing a piece and deciding how much money it's worth. It's a complicated and detailed process in which every aspect of the piece is evaluated and ranked. We don't just look at the piece, it's weighed, measured and tested with scientific equipment to determine the exact size, shape, quality and weight of every single detail. It ends with a written appraisal by the jeweler that gives the information about the piece, photographs and a valuation in today's dollars. This process is completely safe for your jewelry and won't damage it in any way.
Appraisals are an affordable way to assess and safeguard the value of your jewelry. Appraisals are especially handy to have for insurance purposes. If your jewelry is lost or stolen, a written appraisal from a jeweler will make the process of making an insurance claim and receiving payment easier, faster and based on actual value.
There is a level of assessment above an appraisal called a certification. Many people mix the two up. A certification is a little bit like a car title; it is the exact information that establishes a stone as a unique and valuable piece. Certifications are most often done on diamonds, and they are done by Graduate Gemologists, in a special gem laboratory, under exacting circumstances. Very few people will ever need a certification - but if your piece of jewelry has value to it, then an appraisal is highly suggested!