One of the key reasons to get an independent appraisal on a new item is quality control. Sure, you’ve got a GIA report with a bunch of the relevant data, and you’ve got a good idea of the price since you’ve been shopping for months to find exactly the right time, and the seller will give you a ‘free’ document that they call an appraisal. What more do you need? Why pay for another one?
Quality control is near the top of the list. When I send clients back to the selling with some sort of a problem, it’s almost always about quality. Stones set crooked. Mismatched side stones. Damaged stones or other components. Snagging prongs. Loose stones. Assembly problems. Porosity. Cold solder seams. None of these are among the items discussed at the time of sale and I have YET to see a seller supplied appraisal that mentions them. That is to say, they don’t engage in quality control. Put more bluntly, if you don’t check, you won’t know. Most jewelers have some sort of quality control and craftsmanship warranty on things they sell, and ALL jewelers I recommend you patronize do, but these don’t last forever. A complaint a year later about loose stones and broken prongs isn’t going to get the same response as a going back in a week with a report from an independent appraiser. If your insurer figures it out, and sometimes they do, undisclosed damage ‘inherent defects’ are grounds to disallow a claim.
Ronald Reagan once famously said “trust but verify”. It was good advice. He didn’t say it but he was talking about quality control. The appraisal provided by the seller is not the same thing as an appraisal from an independent, even if it turns out to be correct. There’s another rule from our own Neil Beaty. It’s not a second opinion if it comes from the same source as the first.