repairs

Valuations; are you up to date?

I have had a few customers in the shop this month asking about valuations. It is such a minefield that I thought I would write a little about it to try and help those of you who may be confused.

Firstly, I must tell you that it's not ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to valuations. Unfortunately there are lots of different prices depending on what you are using the valuation for. I will go through the main ones to try and give a broad overview, but if you are in any doubt then please do give us a call, I am more than happy to talk things through.

Insurance

This is also known as a value for replacement. It is used for obtaining insurance cover so that lost or damaged items can be replaced or repaired. The value in an insurance valuation will typically be higher than all other types of valuation, and should not be used as a guide of the resale value. The price will be based on what a broadly similar item would cost to replace in the unfortunate event of a loss or theft.

Most insurance companies require you to have an insurance valuation dated within the last three years, so make sure you keep yours up to date. During times when the bullion price is high, and the GBP is weak against the USD it is especially important to have regular updates. In 2008, when the crash happened, the price of gold and diamonds rose daily, so within a few months most people were severely under insured. Now, a lot of insurance companies took the crash in to consideration when calculating replacement values, but not all of them were so kind. It is always better to check your valuations rather than to find out the hard way, after a loss.

It is also useful to note that some insurance companies stipulate that your settings are checked annually to avoid any losses due to wear and tear. Think of it like an MOT. A lot of insurance companies won’t cover wear and tear so even if they don’t require you to get your jewellery checked it is best to bear it in mind, especially for pieces that are worn daily or that have a high value. If you are worried then feel free to bring your jewellery in for us to check.

Division

This type of valuation is used when dividing property between partners, for example during a divorce. The value stated will typically be a resale value, i.e. the amount you would hope to achieve if you sold your jewellery in the open market. This type of valuation should not be used to obtain insurance cover, not only will you be hugely under insured but you may jeopardise the rest of the settlement amount in the event of a claim.

Probate

This type of valuation is used in the calculation of inheritance tax and to obtain probate of a will after someone has died. Like a value for division, the value stated will typically be a resale value. It is worth checking to see the minimum value that needs to be stated on the valuation as some inexpensive pieces may not need to be itemised. If you are in any doubt then please bring everything in so that we can go through it with you.

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At Varoshe we carry out our valuations on the premises, giving you peace of mind when leaving your most precious items with us. Smaller valuations (1-2 pieces) can usually be completed within a week, depending on our work load at the time, but it is always best to give us a call to check. We price our valuations per item, as we feel it is the fairest way to do it (for our current prices please contact us). During the valuation service we will check all the settings and general condition of each piece, as well as to give your jewellery a complimentary ultrasonic clean.

If you have any questions then feel free to give us a call or send us an email, we are always more than happy to chat things through. And, if you want to understand a little more about the terminology used within a valuation, you can read our blog post which explains the ‘foreign language’ used by jewellers, by clicking here!

We look forward to seeing you in West Malling soon!

Clare X

Jewellery wear and tear; what to expect

The jewellery that we wear every day can take a bit of a battering. We tend not to think about what we put it through; it’s made of metal and it will last forever, right? Unfortunately this is not the case. Jewellery, like all things, needs to be looked after and cared for, and certain pieces will need to be looked after more than others.

Rings

Rings are automatically susceptible to hard wear just because of where they are worn. Our hands are constantly being knocked and therefore our rings are too. It is imperative that the settings of your rings, especially pieces that are worn daily, are checked regularly. Stones can easily be knocked loose and can begin moving in their settings. If you notice a stone moving or spinning, then get it checked straight away, it could be a sign that your setting is worn or has had a knock.

Certain setting styles, like claws, are particularly delicate and should be checked by a jeweller at least once a year. Worn claws can be rebuilt, so keep an eye to see if your claws begin to feel very flat. You should expect to have to ‘re-tip’ your claws every three to five years if a ring is worn regularly. If your ring is older than this, it is probably time to get it checked. When a claw is new you can easily feel it when rubbing your finger over it. As the claw begins to wear away, it will appear less prominent until there is nothing but a fine layer of metal left. Ultimately this will break away leaving your stone exposed and at a risk of dropping out of the setting. Always get your rings checked if you are worried.

Bracelets

Bracelets, like rings, are more prone to wear, as they too get pulled around a lot. The links nearest to the clasp are always the first ones to wear out, so be sure to have these checked regularly. I know that a lot of our customers like to wear their jewellery all of the time, but this is not good for it. When we sleep we tend to move around, our jewellery, especially bracelets, can be pulled and stretched which will weaken the links and ultimately wear out the piece of jewellery more quickly. It is always better to take your bracelets off before going to bed to keep them wearable for longer.

Earrings

Whilst earrings aren’t susceptible to the same wear as rings or bracelets, the fittings can become weak. Butterflies are normally held on by tension; the older the butterfly, the weaker the hold. Sometimes these can be reshaped to make them tight again, but if not, a new pair of butterflies is much simpler than trying to replace one earring!

Drop earrings can cause problems as they can easily be hooked out of the ear. This is especially a problem in the winter months, when we tend to wear scarfs and big collars. An easy way to prevent this is to simply pop a butterfly or plastic stay on to the hook of the earring, and push it round to sit at the back of the ear.

Necklaces

Like earrings, pendants are not as prone to wear as rings or bracelets. However, the loop (the piece of the pendant that holds it on to the chain) can become worn over time. The loop can usually be built up again or replaced so it is always better to have it checked if you notice that the loop is looking misshapen or dented by the chain.

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Obviously there is a lot more to jewellery upkeep than these simple points, so if you have any specific questions then why not get in touch here. If in doubt it is always better to take your jewellery to a professional so that it can be checked.

Looking forward to seeing you in West Malling really soon.

 Clare X