Not many people are aware that, unlike real estate appraisers, personal property (including jewelry) appraisers aren’t required any licensing. In other words, anyone (and I mean ANYONE) can set up shop and call themselves a jewelry appraiser. There are “diamontologists” and “gemologists” and “jewelry judges” and “accredited jewelry professionals”.
So, what is a “Certified Appraiser” and why should you care?
If you needed brain surgery, wouldn’t you rather have a Board Certified brain surgeon than a general surgeon in the operating room?Having worked in the jewelry industry for 27 years, now serving as an appraiser, I’ve been asked “How did you become a jewelry appraiser”? My path started with a series of conversations with a friend of mine who owns a jewelry store that led me to enroll in the Graduate Gemologist (“GG”) program at the Gemological Institute of America.
After graduating, I was fortunate enough to apprentice with Tom and Harold Tivol of Tivol Jewelers, the guild store in Kansas City. I had high aspirations from the beginning. With my GIA diploma tucked under my arm, I was certain that appraising was my career goal. As it turns out, earning my GG was just one step in my journey. Harold Tivol instilled in me a commitment to hold the highest ethical standards. Tom Tivol advised me that in order to be a professional appraiser, I must learn about the market. I would need to gain experience in both selling and buying diamonds, gemstones, and jewelry. And so it goes, I did just that.
With years of experience selling jewelry and then purchasing diamonds and gemstones for two important retail jewelers, I was ready. Or so I thought. But there was one more ever important step that I needed to take to be at the top of my game. Gaining credentialing through the International Society of Appraisers (ISA) afforded me a formal education of appraisal theory and appraisal report writing. After three years of membership, completing all the requirements set forth, and submitting two appraisal reports to the ISA Designation and Review Committee, and committing to adhering to the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice, I had earned the highest designation – Certified Appraiser of Personal Property. It was an incredible feeling of major accomplishment!
If you want to feel confident that the appraisal you submit for insurance coverage will truly protect you in the event you have a loss. Or, you want to ensure the purchase you just made online is legit (and if it isn’t, have a professional appraisal that will help secure your return and refund). Or, you want to be able to divide your collection among family equitably. Or, you need to sell that old ring for the right price. Or, you need a tax deduction for a charitable gift of jewelry. Seek out a Certified Appraiser of Personal Property, credentialed through the ISA. Accept nothing less.