On a daily basis we have people come into our stores asking for appraisals, fair market values, evaluations or if an item is “real”.  Each of these terms has different connotations for us, so I thought sharing those details might be helpful.

Appraisals.  In our world when we talk about appraisals, we refer to Insurance Appraisals.  This is a researched document written by a certified appraiser.  It includes specific weights and measurements on the piece of jewelry in question and the amount of money it would cost to replace it if it was lost or stolen. It also includes a color photograph of the item.

Fair Market Value refers to the amount of money that an item could reasonably be sold for as a used piece of jewelry.  This term generally applies to estate jewelry that needs to be divided between parties.

Evaluations, in our stores, refer to the amount of money we would be willing to offer on a cash out basis.  We use this term when clients are interested in selling their items outright, and it is usually based on the melt value of the metal.  Melt value means the amount that we will receive from the refiner when we send the metal in (much like recycling aluminum cans).

Is it real?  This question usually follows a statement such as, “I found this at the lake…is it real?”  In most cases we can determine right at the counter, whether an item is made of a precious metal or not.  Determining whether or not it’s a precious gem may require some further testing.

We can help with all of the above questions, and we are happy to assist you determine “if it’s real” and if you need an appraisal, an evaluation, or if you should just wear it and enjoy it!