If you’ve been looking into insuring your jewellery collection, you might have been asked to secure a valuation – but what exactly is a jewellery valuation and why is it so important?
In short, a jewellery valuation is exactly what it sounds like. It is an assessment, carried out by an expert, that determines the value of a piece of jewellery. Many factors are taken into consideration when assigning a value, such as the materials used, the quality of any gemstones, a jewel’s age, provenance and condition, as well as how it was made and by whom.
You are probably more familiar with this process than you think. If you’ve ever tuned into BBC Antiques Roadshow and watched experts Joanna Hardy, John Benjamin or Kate Flitcroft deliver jaw-dropping news about a jewel left gathering dust in the attic or plucked from a car boot sale, you’ve witnessed a valuation.
Valuing jewellery requires serious expertise
To become a member of the Institute of Registered Valuers, or JVA Registered Valuers, a jeweller must have valuation, gemmological and diamond grading qualifications and at least five years’ experience in the jewellery industry. Valuations are by no means guess work.
The reason that valuations are so important when it comes to insuring your jewellery collection is that it determines what you will receive should you need to make a claim. Insurers will not pay any more than the amount of the policy you’ve taken out, so if you have taken out a £10,000 insurance policy on your engagement ring, that is the maximum amount you will have to spend on a replacement, regardless of the true like-for-like replacement cost. This is why precision, and regular revaluations through the years, are vital.
Not all jewellery needs to be valued to be insured, although it is still important that you will be able to substantiate the amount for which you wish to claim at the time of making a claim. At specialist jewellery insurance broker TH March, there is a £1,000 threshold. Anything with a value less than this can be insured without a valuation, as long as you can provide proof of ownership with, for example, a receipt. For anything pricier, valuations are mandatory.
Two lines or a 10-page document?
When it comes to securing a valuation, not all assessments are equal, explains Joanna Hammett, a personal insurance team leader at TH March: “Jewellers or valuers will normally assess the jewellery in the same way, but the valuation document can vary in its appearance and content when produced. We see valuations containing several pages that will describe the item, characteristics and the way it’s made in minute detail that may also include a full glossary of terms that the jeweller may have used in the description, and further applicable notes. Others may contain the full information we need in order to verify the piece but may be contained in two or three lines. We will work with either but the more information the better if it comes to a replacement claim. Costs for valuations do vary between jewellers or valuers so we always recommend that clients carry out their own research to find a jeweller that will meet their needs.”