Questions and comments regarding the amount of time it takes to do an appraisal are some of the most common I hear.  Each appraisal is different, because each piece of jewelry is different.   One piece might take 20 minutes where another might take 45.   There are many steps to a professionally performed jewelry appraisal.  Here are the steps I might take on each piece depending on what it is:

  • Inspect for any damage (e.g. missing stones, cracks, worn prongs)
  • Clean
  • Photograph
  •  Weigh
  • Test for metal fineness
  • Take dimensional measurements (e.g. shank thickness, length, width, gallery size)
  • Note and research any trademarks (This can be a form of provenance and may affect the value conclusion.)
  • Grade all gemstones for their specific quality characteristics (This one is usually the most time consuming.  The more significant the stone, the more attention to detail is required and more factors are evaluated.  Some might be graded in groups while others will have very detailed notes and measurements.)
  • Prepare the physical/digital report (The number of pieces can make a difference as well.  Ten 1-item reports will take longer to produce than one 10-item report. The function and purpose of the report will affect the time it takes as well.  Some take more research than others.)

So, what this means is an engraved gold wedding band is going to take a lot less time than a 10ct total weight tennis bracelet with 40 diamonds.  If you have one or two pieces, it might be possible to have them done “while you wait.”  However, let’s assume you have 12 pieces that need to be appraised; that might be 6 or 7 hours of work.   On a larger assignment some appraisers, myself included, might gather all the physical information we need from the jewelry and return it to you. The research and report preparation can be done later.   This can reduce the amount of time you have to be away from all your amazing jewelry.

Remember, the more detailed and thorough the report is, the better protected you are and the easier it is to recreate your jewelry if you ever had to file a claim.