It can be overwhelming when you are an executor of an estate and have been given large amounts of jewelry to handle. It can be equally overwhelming when you are the recipient of the large amount of jewelry, and you don’t know what is “real” or not. I have written this blog to give you a basic framework to help you know what to do. In many cases, if you are an executor of a will, the lawyer of the estate will have you get a valuation of the jewelry in order to properly disperse it among those in the will, and this is where I start!
1. Appraisal Consultation: This first step is all about separating the jewelry into pieces of value and costume jewelry. It can start out as overwhelming for you, but usually ends with having a clear direction. This can take a short amount of time or hours depending on how much jewelry you have, and it can be really surprising. I had a client’s whose cousin wanted Grandma’s “emerald ring,” but the ring was actually costume and had no value!
2. Appraisal: There are two types of appraisals that generally work in these situations. An estate appraisal gives value to the jewelry based off its metal and gemstone content in its current condition. This is generally the type of appraisal needed for those working to settle the estate. An insurance replacement value appraisal is what is needed for your insurance company to replace it in the case of theft or damage. This appraisal gives the cost to replace it brand new in the event of a loss. An insurance value appraisal is best for the person receiving the jewelry from the estate and wants it insured.
3. Take the appraisal and info back to the estate lawyer: Usually, the estate lawyer will need the documents to help you properly disperse the jewelry and answer any questions the family might have.
Grieving the loss of a loved one can add extra emotions to the whole process making it feel difficult. It would be an honor to help you with the jewelry. My by-appointment approach means:
One-on-one appointments (personal attention and no crowds!)
Discretion and privacy (surprises remain surprises!)
Expert help from a Graduate Gemologist with 26 years of experience (yep, that’s me!)