What’s makes an appraiser?

In our first post we defined an appraisal.   Today’s focus is in on one part of that definition “…and has been rendered by a qualified appraiser.”

So, what makes a qualified appraiser?  The IRS definition for a qualified appraiser is “… an individual who has earned an appraisal designation from a recognized professional appraiser organization.”

To further define that we’re going to back up just a little.  Simply put, there are two steps to every appraisal.  “What is it?” and “How much is it worth?”

“What is it?”

Any time you have jewelry appraised; you want to make sure the person doing the work has the proper gemological training.   The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is an educational institution that teaches gemology.  While there are a few others out there, GIA is by far the largest and most widely respected.  They offer classes in many levels and disciplines, but the highest and most comprehensive for gemology is the Graduate Gemologist (GG) diploma.   If you see the letter “G.G.” after the appraiser’s name, you’re off to a good start.

“How much is it worth?”

This is where things get confusing.   Back to our original definition of an appraisal “…an understanding in market analysis and research, appraisement methodology.”   GIA doesn’t teach appraisement methodology.   There are many organizations that offer such training; The American Gem Society, The National Association of Jewelry Appraisers, and The American Society of Appraisers, just to name a few.    Depending on the organization, there is a wide assortment of additional letters and titles after the person’s name.   When deciding on an appraiser, ask what professional appraisal organizations they are members of and what additional training they have had beyond their gemological training.  In many cases, depending on the intended use of the appraisal, your appraisal may not be accepted without this additional training.

Summing up, the best bit of advice we can give is to ask questions.  Ask the person doing your appraisal what their qualifications are as an appraiser, not just a gemologist.  In this case, experience or “time on the job” is not a substitute for professional training.