Value Elements

Posted on September 1, 2021 by Bill Hoefer, GIA GG, FGA

Value elements are an absolute requisite. As Noted by Henry A. Babcock more than fifty years ago, without them, one cannot seek comparable items in the marketplace most appropriate for the property being appraised. “A value element is any magnitude, attribute, quality, or characteristic of a property which contributes to or detracts from its market value.” 1 The appraiser-gemologist must state in the appraisal all value elements. APPRAISAL SOFTWARE AND PREPRINTED FORMS Although it is convenient to use appraisal software or preprinted forms, beware if they limit the ability to proclaim all value elements. But what are considered value elements? When the appraiser-gemologist examines an item of jewelry, there are a series of steps taken to determine what the item is and its attributes. That series of steps reveals the value elements. Several value elements can be seen in this intricate diamond and tanzanite ring such as manufacturing process, labor (almost 200 diamonds), condition, trademark or not, etc. Gemworld image. WEIGHT OF THE ITEM The weight of the item should be mentioned. The weight may not be a value element. However, in the event of a casualty loss, the weight may be the first element for matching the property to an appraisal by police checking recovered stolen property. One can use the troy weight system (pennyweights) but should translate that into grams (avoirdupois system) since police have gram scales but not pennyweight scales. MARKED FOR LIFE Quality marks and/or tests are used to identify metals. Mention the quality mark2 if one is present. There may be a mark that reveals the country of origin. Artists’ marks are also important. Some artists are collectable, which in turn affects the value. And trademarks, maker marks, etc., after researching who they belong to, will need to be mentioned. For example, if the item has an Italian maker mark 3499 AL, this reveals that the item was made by Andreoli, located in Alessandra, Italy. That can influence your value conclusion. Once the appraiser-gemologist knows the maker, they can concentrate their value research on that company. An even more narrow band of research exists when a copyright is discovered. Legally, only the copyright holder or authorized agents can sell the item. What they sell the item for is the value. HOW MADE Is the item cast, fabricated, etc.? Values will vary depending on the method of manufacture. Is it mass produced or custom made? These are value elements. What is missing here is a way to mention the grade...

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