As a professional appraiser, I pride myself on accuracy, clarity, and a defensible methodology. I believe what I’m doing and how I’m doing it is ‘right.’ Recent experiences have somewhat shaken my belief system, and I thought I’d share my concerns with the hope others finding themselves in any similar situations might benefit from my learning curve.
The ‘advances’ in the business of altering gemstones are moving far more rapidly than our ability to detect and/or understand them. By the time knowledge of any specific treatment is widespread, there is often an ‘improved’ version of that technique or something totally different in the market.
The ‘market data approach’ to value is widely accepted as the most accurate method for appraising most types of jewellery. However, many appraisers are intimidated or confused about how it can be applied to their specific assignment. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
As an independent appraiser who neither buys nor sells diamonds, I often have to explain why my grades are substantially different from those provided by a client’s grading report from one of the many laboratories. Inevitably, the client wants to know how something like this can happen. Come to think of it, aren’t we all a bit curious?
Perhaps it’s the extended economic worries, the high price of gold, or just another cyclical trend, but the public’s need to understand the value of the jewellery they plan to sell has increased significantly in recent years. Most people have deeply ingrained misconceptions about what their jewellery is ‘worth’ and often become angry or disillusioned when they try to sell it.
Centuries of protecting trade secrets and encouraging old wives’ tales have successfully shielded the jewellery trade from the prying eyes of consumers and crafted an air of mystery that continues today. Unfortunately, this same veil of secrecy has created an opening for the morally and legally challenged to operate on the fringes of our industry.