Jewelry appraisals for resale are available in Denver.
Jewelry appraisals for resale are an increasing question from sellers. As most of you know, this is an area of trouble for appraisers and it leads to big issues about independence but it addresses a real and valid problem for our clients who have jewelry that they intend to sell and who may be unfamiliar with the process. I would love to hear some opinions from the prosumers out there on how to best handle these requests that both provides our clients with accurate and useful information and that doesn’t contribute to deceiving the final buyer.
Some specific concerns are:
1) The price. Most people want a document with a large number describing an ‘appraisal value’ that they can then discount to their final buyer as evidence that they are getting a good deal. In effect, they are looking for documentation that they can use as an advertisement. Buyers are rightfully warned about purchases with this sort of thing and appraisers are correct to be concerned that jewelry appraisals for resale are not an appraisal in any normal sense of the word as well as big potential liabilities associated with projects of this nature. An appraisal must be describing a particular market and an accurate assessment of the resale potential of a piece may be part of what the client is seeking but it’s almost always NOT what they want on a report that they intend to show to a potential buyer. Is there a way to help clients with their advertising that serves everyone’s objectives (the client, the appraiser and the eventual buyer)? Would it be useful to the seller to provide a report containing a description but not a price? Would buyers accept this or would it be seen as being even less useful than most seller supplied paperwork?
2) The description. The whole point of seeking out jewelry appraisals for resale is to gain some credibility from the appraiser/lab that the information presented in the advertising is factual. The appraiser is being pointed to as an expert opinion to bolster the credibility of the seller. This causes the seller to be interested in descriptions that highlight the desirable attributes and minimize the problems. They want photos that are attractive and complimentary. The report may all may be true, but it’s not necessarily the whole truth. Spend a few minutes browsing eBay advertising to find numerous examples of this. As a professional assisting a client in preparing advertising materials knowing full well that your name is going to be used as an important piece of the description, where’s the balance of this? GIA grading reports are a pretty good example. They describe certain attributes of a stone while omitting others. This omitted information can be terribly important and GIA knows it. Both sellers and buyers seem happy to accept GIA opinions for what they are, and occasionally for what they aren’t, but they don’t provide descriptions on jewelry, only on unmounted stones. We look at jewelry. Is there a way to provide this information that will be useful to our clients (the sellers) while being acceptable and useful to their customers without compromising the ethics of the appraiser?
3) Privacy. A well-written appraisal includes the identity of the client, the identity of the owner and other information that is clearly sensitive in nature. Omitting this sort of information is a problem if the document is to accurately be described as an appraisal and if it contains a value conclusion. Including it makes it dangerous for the client to use as an advertisement without a fair amount of caution. The fact that Jewelry appraisals for resale are prepared for a seller seems clearly important to buyers but what else should be included and what should be omitted?
4) The 3rd party. A buyer relying on jewelry appraisals for resale to make a purchase is an unidentified intended user. This reliance has some important liability and ethical concerns for the appraiser. If the buyer calls the appraiser, it is unethical for us to discuss our client’s property with them without specific permission to do so, and even then with caution. Even after the sale, we have no way of knowing if the property has been altered without a new inspection. This is a new appraisal for a new client and there is now a conflict of interest with the first client. GIA solves this by offering a ‘free’ matching service but this kind of thing can be a real problem for appraisers. First, it’s not free, it’s prepaid. Look at GIA’s rates. Is it really appropriate to charge every client for this, even the ones who don’t use it? Second, wear on jewelry is a progressive thing. The GIA verification is a yes or no question but jewelry customers would rarely count it as satisfactory to provide a yes/no kind of answer when the difference is wear that some might count as important and others might describe as minor. Third, the buyer is likely to be interested in more information that is not contained on the original report, like a value. Is it ethical to do an appraisal for a seller, prepare a sales report (which will be a separate report from the appraisal) and then do an appraisal for the buyer? What about the client confidentiality with the seller?
My contemplated solution to this is some sort of document containing a description, photos, grading reports, etc. but no price, no market and no client specific data. Give the client a copy of jewelry appraisals for resale and provide an online version that makes it difficult for the client to alter it. Allow the client permission to use this for advertising purposes. This may or may not be in addition to an appraisal for that client. Get written permission from the client to offer appraisal services to buyers and potential buyers who may want them without releasing personal information about the seller. A new appraisal would be just that, a new appraisal.