Martin Rees, Jeweller and Pawnbroker

Insurance Valuation

This is the amount it would cost you to replace your jewellery; in most cases it is considerably more than you would get if you were to sell it.  Most insurers now offer new for old policies, so all modern jewellery must be insured for the full replacement value.  Older, especially antique, items require thought.  It may not be possible to replace them with new at a reasonable price, in which case they are valued on the basis of replacing them with a similar previously owned piece.  On occasions of course an antique piece will be worth more than its replacement value, so we'd value it for what it would be worth as an antique.  The written valuation makes clear the basis used to value each item. And if a piece is old, we will discuss which value is more appropriate.

Answers to your questions

Do I need to know what my jewellery is worth?

Why do I need a valuation?

In the event of loss, it will establish how much the jewellery was worth, so it will make your claim easier.  A correctly written valuation will help you establish your ownership of a piece, as it will be much more detailed than a shop receipt.  All too often, the police recover stolen property but the owners are unable to prove it was theirs, so the property cannot be returned to them.  Even if your insurance company does not require a valuation, you may still desire one.  If we feel the cost is not justified, we will advise you, but the final decision is yours.

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Does it matter if I don't know what my jewellery is worth?

You could have problems making an insurance claim, even if the jewellery isn't involved.  Insurers require you to insure everything in the home.  If you don't have enough cover they'll reduce the payment.
Also they often set a maximum value for any one item.  If that is exceeded they may refuse to pay at all, because you'd have been required to increase security.  This could happen even if the item is not stolen.

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I bought something, it was worth more than I paid.  How will you value it?

The item is worth what you paid for it - and no more.  Suppose you lost a new piece, and claimed from your insurers.  They'd only be prepared to pay the amount you paid.
However after a year or two, the insurers recognise you might not be able to replace the piece for the price paid.  So if you bought it cheap, perhaps in a sale, you now need to get it valued at its full replacement price.

I bought something second-hand.  For how much should I insure it?

If it's modern, the usual insurance rule of new for old applies.  So it should be insured for the full cost of replacing it with a similar new item.  Unlike a new piece sold below its normal retail price, this applies from the date of purchase.  If it is older, this may not be practical, in which case you would insure it for the cost of replacing it with a similar, previously owned, piece.  If you had just bought the item, that would be the amount you paid.  Seek advice when arranging to get your jewellery insured to ensure you get the correct valuation.

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I am buying jewellery, does an insurance valuation prove its value?

No, in every case you have to trust the seller, let me explain
If the seller is honest, then a valuation will give additional information about the jewellery.  However the valuation is normally the cost of replacing the jewellery, which is not the same as the amount it would fetch when sold.
But what if the seller is trying to con you?  There have been many cases of dishonest sellers using faked valuations, in which case you will be cheated and may well find supposedly valuable gemstones are cheap synthetics.  Even if the valuation is genuine, stones may have been changed for lower-quality or synthetic ones.
It's your money, don't waste it.  Sometimes it is better to pay more to ensure you are dealing with a seller you can trust.

How often should I get jewellery valued?

The value of gemstones and gold are affected by supply and demand and other factors besides inflation, so after a time the valuation may be incorrect.  So the insurance will not cover the full cost of replacement.  Against that, we have to consider the valuation charge, although we do not charge as much for re-appraising a piece.  Finally it's up to you.
However we would advise you to take the jewellery back every year to get it checked for loose gemstones, and also to get it cleaned.  That will give you a chance to discuss if a new valuation is needed.

How do I know a shop can give a competent valuation?

Many shops offer a valuation service.  But to ensure you get the best possible result, we strongly urge you to use a member of the National Association of Goldsmiths (NAG) or a member of the Guild of Valuers and Jewellers.  They have the expertise and facilities to produce a competent valuation.
Some businesses offer a postal service.  But we believe it is much wiser to use a local jeweller.  Then you can discuss problems more easily.  Also what if the item is lost in the post?  Yes you insured it, but this is a Catch 22 position.  You cannot prove what it is worth, as you were sending it to have it valued!

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What do I need to give the valuer?

We need to see any documentation which came with the item.  The original receipt, any earlier valuations, certificates for diamonds etc.  Withholding information could render the valuation useless, and would give problems in the event of a claim.  We do not blindly accept the information provided, we check everything and make our own decisions.  We will need to keep the jewellery while we are valuing it.

What will I get?

A written document accurately describing each item (see our examples), plus 1 or 2 photos of each piece, see samples on this page.  Also details of the jewellery will be added to a national database, which can be accessed by the police if they recover stolen property.  Your personal details are not forwarded, only a reference which links to our file.

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What will it cost?

Some shops charge a percentage of the item's value.  However we will quote an exact price when you bring the piece in for valuation, we charge from £40 to £50 for the first item, and £10 to £20 for each additional piece.  Normally the higher price is charged if a piece includes gemstones, which take significantly longer to appraise.
It's so easy to have valuable jewellery lying around for years, and never wonder what it's worth until the worst happens.  Get a valuation now.  You may be quite surprised at how the value has changed since it was bought

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Sample valuations

Click on any image to download large picture, in all cases the size is under 100k
Note for security, some details have been pixelised.  Also for better viewing onscreen, the blank part of the printout sheet has been cut out.
First we see the description of the ring.

Description of the ring, click on it for large image

Below the photographs

Photographs, click on image for larger view

Finally a notice for your insurance company

Statement for your insurer, click on it for larger image