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  • Writer's pictureJewelry Expert

An Interview with an Expert Jewelry Appraiser

Our team at recently interviewed with long time expert antique jewelry appraiser, Janis Holman. Janis has over 30 years of jewelry appraising experience in the New York/Manhattan area with expertise in pre-owned timepieces and antique jewelry. Janis started at the age of 22 at small mom and pop brick and mortar jewelry stores until starting her Independent Jewelry Appraising business many years later. was interested in digging deeper into her past experience to help make the public more knowledgeable of getting jewelry appraised...the right way.

Q: Where should someone go to get their jewelry appraised?

A: "Ideally, contacting a local Independent Jewelry Appraiser involved with accredited Appraisal Associations will provide you the most accurate appraisal report. Members of these associations are typically by appointment only and can often travel to your location. They are educated and experienced in providing detailed, fully researched appraisal documents. The list of well known and accredited associations includes: Accredited Gemologists Association (AGA) , American Gem Society, American Society of Appraisers, Appraisers Association of America, Inc., Appraisers International Society (AIS), International Society of Appraisers, National Association of Jewelry Appraisers."

Q: Should I accept an appraisal from the store I recently purchased from?

A: "It depends. When a jewelry store provides you a valuation document at the time of sale, its technically considered a Purchase Certificate. The staff has not realistically done the appropriate research, examination, or groundwork for an expert report. If you simply want to insure your jewelry for Insurance Purposes - then sure - your insurance company will probably accept the document. However, I do recommend you ask your jeweler to supply a fair and unbiased jewelry report done by a third party."

Q: Should I get my jewelry appraised from my local jeweler:

A: "No. I do not recommend going to your jeweler down the street. Jewelers maybe have many respectable years of experience in the jewelry industry, but from my experience, they appraise off their "gut" feeling. They don't often have the necessary equipment or go through the vigorous testing that a local Independent Jewelry Appraiser may perform. Jewelers don't pay their rent or overhead with profit from appraisals - it is a service, much like jewelry and watch repair, to attract more long term customers in hopes they make larger jewelry purchases. Their appraisals tend to be short, generic, and missing important details. When it comes to Fair Market Value Appraisals or Estate Appraisals I encourage you to stay away from local jewelers. Keep in mind, local jewelers are also sales people and are thinking a few steps ahead. They typically are not thinking "how can I provide an accurate unbiased appraisal for this client?" The are often thinking with their sales-cap on and plotting how to purchase your items instead. (My statement above is based upon my experience working for 6 jewelers and my personal comparisons to Independent Jewelry Appraisers.)

Q: Do you recommend online appraisals?

A: "Online Jewelry Appraisals fits a niche in the appraisal industry that was required during and after COVID. While it may not fit everyone's need, it does provide important information that was impossible to get in front of a desktop or on a cell phone, especially within 24 hours. I find the best use for Online Jewelry Appraisals is for Insurance Update Appraisals. I can see many insurance companies using online appraisal services to provide valuation updates on expired or outdated appraisals. While the pieces are not tangibly inspected, companies like can offer update values within a short period of time.

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