The Gem Lab I.C.G.A.  an Independent American Gem Society Accredited Gem Laboratory

Services and Reports We Offer

The general types of services we offer include “summary” appraisals, “self-contained” appraisals, restricted use consultation reports and laboratory reports.  Which type of service or report is right for you will depend on how you plan to use the information we provide, how much detail you want, if third parties might be involved and whether there are specific legal requirements to be met.  The following brief descriptions may help you decide, but please feel free to contact us if you have questions, or have a special need that is not covered in this section. Click on any of the links below to view the appropriate section.

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Insurance Acquisition Appraisal
Insurance Casualty Loss Appraisal
Resale Appraisal - Market Value
Resale Appraisal - Retail Replacement Cost
Resale Restricted Use Consultation Report
Pre-Purchase Restricted Use Consultation Report
Broad Market Analysis Restricted Use Consultation Report
Equitable Division - Dissolution of Marriage Appraisal
Equitable Division - Estate Division Appraisal
Barter Appraisal
Collateral Appraisal
Trust/Estate Planning Appraisal
Forced Liquidation Appraisal
Orderly Liquidation Appraisal
Broad Market Value Appraisal
Jewelry Geneaology Report
Gem Identification Lab Report - Written or Verbal
Qualitative Analysis / Grading Lab Report
Authentication Lab Report
Lab Report Verification
Damage - Lab Report
Inventory Report
Estate Tax Liability Appraisal
Non-Cash Charitable Contribution for Income Tax Deduction Appraisal
Gift Tax Liability Appraisal
Casualty Loss for Income Tax Deduction Appraisal
Bankruptcy Appraisal

There are two basic types of appraisals prepared for insurance purposes.  The Insurance Acquisition Appraisal is most often prepared in anticipation of securing insurance coverage and usually occurs before a loss or claim is filed.  The Insurance Casualty Loss Appraisal is most often prepared after a loss and subsequent claim has been filed and is often a “hypothetical” or “extraordinary circumstances” type of appraisal.  It is so called because of the many limiting conditions and critical assumptions that must be made to estimate the value of the item immediately prior to the damage or loss.

Insurance Acquisition Appraisal

            Most people think this is the only type of appraisal.  For each item, the appraisal includes a very detailed description, precise measurements and grades, digital image(s) and the estimated retail replacement cost based on careful research of the appropriate market.  This is a summary type appraisal which means that all of the value research is summarized in the final report.

Insurance Casualty Loss Appraisal

            This type of appraisal is primarily for determining the amount of value lost as a result of damage if there was a partial loss or the amount necessary to indemnify a total loss.  In other words, this type of appraisal is written after an insured loss has occurred.  As an example, a Casualty Loss Appraisal might help settle a claim for a chipped or damaged gemstone in a family heirloom that is essentially irreplaceable or if the same irreplaceable ring is lost or stolen and there is a disagreement concerning the insured value.  This is often a “hypothetical” or “extraordinary assumptions” appraisal since the condition and value prior to the casualty loss may not be directly knowable.  The value may be based on replacement cost, actual cash value, repair cost, reproduction or production cost, market value or fair market value; depending on the policy and the law in the appropriate jurisdiction.  This type of report may be written as a summary report or as a “self-contained” report in which all of the evidence used for value determination is contained within the report.

See Damage – Lab Report.

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Resale Appraisals

There are several approaches that can be considered if you need information to help you sell an item.  Depending on the amount of detail you need, how quickly you need to sell the item and whether you intend to show the buyer the appraisal; the one of the following types of reports will meet your needs.

Resale Appraisal – Market Value

            If you are trying to sell a valuable item, you would want this level of detailed appraisal.  It includes a very detailed description, precise measurements and grades, color digital image(s) and a determination of the resale value within the appropriate market.  In consultation, we can decide the most appropriate resale market depending on how you plan to sell and how long you are willing to leave the item on the market.  In most cases this is written as a summary report.

Resale Appraisal – Retail Replacement Cost

            Generally, this type of valuation is not appropriate for pre-owned jewelry, but some clients might prefer to know the very highest value for an item.  Usually, these are written as a summary report.

Resale Restricted Use Consultation Report

            If you are selling several medium to low value items or a single item of relatively low value; this may be the appropriate report style.  Sometimes, you may only need a “ballpark” or range of quality and value to help you decide a fair asking price.  This type of written consultation lacks the precision of a formal appraisal and does not meet the minimum appraisal standards of AGS, ISA, or NAJA.  This consultation report is restricted to your use only and provides you with a range of value, brief descriptions, no digital images and the measurements and grades are provided as a range.  Please read the information in the “Restricted Use Reports” section for important limitations regarding the use of this type of consultation report.

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Restricted Use Reports

There are several different types of reports that fall into this category, but they all share some basic features.  They are “restricted” to use by the client only with all third parties specifically advised that reliance on the information by anyone but the client could be misleading and therefore renders the report invalid.  None of the various reports has enough information for anyone not familiar with the items to be able to use it accurately.  In some of the reports the appraiser is acting as a consultant with no attempt made at impartiality or protecting the interest of possible third parties.  Most are written as summary reports; some may be “broad market” valuations.

Resale Restricted Use Consultation Report

            If you are selling several items or a single item of relatively low value; this may be the appropriate report style.  Sometimes, you may only need a “ballpark” or range of value to help you decide a fair asking price.  This type of consultation lacks the precision of a formal appraisal and does not meet the minimum appraisal standards of AGS, ISA or NAJA.  This consultation report is restricted to your use only and provides you with a range of value, brief descriptions, no digital images and the measurements and grades are provided as a range.

Pre-purchase Restricted Use Consultation Report

            This report is especially useful for internet purchasers who want more than just a grading report or appraisal.  The appraiser provides qualitative analysis, value information and consultation based on the client’s requirements.  This could include detailed explanations of grading systems, craftsmanship analysis, benefits and liabilities of different business models and other topics as requested by the client.  Most often the summary report format is used.

Broad Market Analysis Restricted Use Consultation Report

            This report provides either sellers or buyers information on the value or potential value of an item in a wide range of markets.  It could include the impact of repair or re-cutting of a gemstone or diamond on the value.  It might also be used to decide whether to sell an item at auction or directly.  If the client is thinking of a buying an item, this type of report might help determine if more favorable pricing exists in a different market.  This type of report may be written as either a summary report or a self-contained report depending on the client’s needs.

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Market Value Appraisals

There are several types of appraisals in which the “Market Value” or “Fair Market Value” is used to determine the monetary worth of the item.  This means that the condition of the item, obsolescence and desirability are considered in establishing the value in the appropriate pre-owned or secondary retail market.  In some cases that market may include the “collector” market; in other cases it might mean the “scrap” market.  Some appraisers, jurisdictions and organizations use the term “Fair Market Value” and “Market Value” interchangeably; these reports provide the specific definition used by the appraiser for each type of appraisal.

Equitable Division – Dissolution of Marriage Appraisal

            This appraisal provides detailed descriptions, accurate grades and measurements, digital images and valuation appropriate to the requirements of the jurisdiction in which the divorce was filed.  It is a self-contained appraisal; meaning that all information used to establish value is contained within the document.  Usually, “market value” or “fair market value” is used, but there may be other specific client requested or legal requirements determined locally.

Equitable Division – Estate Division Appraisal

            This appraisal provides detailed descriptions, accurate grades and measurements, digital images and valuation appropriate to aid an executor in the distribution of an estate among the heirs.  This is NOT an appropriate appraisal for the determination of estate tax liability.  It may be either a self-contained or a summary appraisal depending on the requirements of the executor and/or the jurisdiction.

Barter Appraisal

            When items are traded, with or without additional cash consideration, the cash equivalent value of the items may be determined by a Barter Appraisal.  Unless other value agreements have been decided by the parties involved (wholesale for wholesale, retail for retail, etc.), the most common valuation will be the “market value” which takes the age, condition, obsolescence and other factors into consideration to determine the value within the most appropriate market.  Normally, this is a summary appraisal and includes all of the details of measurements, grades and digital images.

Collateral Appraisal

            Items used for collateral in consideration of a loan are most often valued at either a “forced liquidation” or an “orderly liquidation” value.  This appraisal includes all of the details of measurements and grades as well as digital images that might help in the determination of the adequacy of the collateral.  This may be a summary report or a self-contained report.

Trust / Estate Planning Appraisal

            This report includes detailed descriptions, measurements, grades and digital images which can also serve as an inventory of the items.  Normally, when funding a trust, the market value of the items would be used to determine the worth of the items and establish an accurate basis of value when the trust is established.  When used for estate planning, the market value determination will ensure an accurate assessment of the relative worth of the property in the estate to allow for distribution decisions.

Forced Liquidation Appraisal

            This report includes detailed descriptions, measurements and grades as well as digital images.  Forced liquidation value is the amount of money that may be expected to be obtained when the seller must sell within 30 days of exposure in the market.  This report is usually written as a summary type.

Orderly Liquidation Appraisal

            This report is essentially identical to the Resale – Market Value Appraisal and is used when the seller has no immediate compulsion to sell and the item is expected to have more than 30 days exposure in the market.

Broad Market Value Appraisal

            Rather than a specific report, this is best described as an approach to market research that can be applied to most of the assigned uses described in this section.  It means that the appraiser will consider and report the results of research in all markets that may provide information for the client.  Many times, the information from markets other than the most common market will provide a different view that can assist the client or third parties in making a fair and reasonable determination.  Sometimes, in casualty loss settlement, pre-purchase and bankruptcy situations, no single market provides a complete picture of the potential or actual value of an item.

Jewelry Genealogy Report

            This is a detailed report that provides all of the measurements, grades and digital images found in the Equitable Division – Estate Division report, but additionally allows for the inclusion of the personal or family history of the items.  This the ideal way to allow future generations to know the intrinsic, monetary and quality attributes of the items as well as the historical significance within the family (sentimental value).  This report is exclusively available from The Gem Lab, I.C.G.A. and is customized to the needs and desires of the client.  It can serve as a means to equally divide an estate while keeping the family history intact for future generations.

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LAB REPORTS

            Laboratory reports contain no value information.  Our AGS Accredited Gem Lab allows us to provide accurate grades and identification information for our clients.  We also have accounts with the GIA Gem Trade Laboratory and the American Gem Society Laboratory when advanced testing or third party grading is required or requested by the client.  When grading mounted gemstones and diamonds, the mounting may limit the accuracy or types of tests that can be performed as well as the accuracy of the grades reported.  All such limitations are disclosed in the report and will be discussed with the client at the time of take-in.

Gem Identification Lab Report – Written or Verbal

            All available tests and examination techniques are utilized to determine the identity of a gemstone.  In some instances, jewelry mountings will preclude the direct determination of identity and ancillary testing will be the only available option.  These ancillary tests may produce results that are only indicative of identity; the degree of certainty of the identification is included in the report.  When discovered, any enhancements or treatments performed on the stone are noted in the report.  Some treatments are undetectable by standard gemological testing and if suspected may require advanced testing at a major laboratory.  When necessary, advanced gemological testing will only be performed when the fees have been discussed and agreed upon.  This is the only service offered with the option of a verbal report.

Qualitative Analysis / Grading Lab Report

            After gem identification is completed, the relative quality of an item is evaluated.  This may include the cut, color, clarity and carat weight of gems and diamonds and / or metal quality, weight and the quality of craftsmanship of jewelry mountings.  Gem identification will tell you if a stone is a natural ruby; the qualitative analysis report will provide the detailed grading information to determine the relative quality of the stone.

Authentication Lab Report

            Authentication requires detailed examination and advanced testing.  In some instances, the opinions of other experts may be necessary.  Authentication reports provide an opinion of authenticity based on evidence available at the time of examination.  Authentication Reports are opinions and can never be considered a guarantee or warranty.

Lab Report Verification

            This report only provides the client with verification that the item inspected is or is not the same item described in third party documents.  It can provide verification that the diamond in a ring is the same stone described in a GIA or other Laboratory Grading Report or sales receipt.  No value, measurements, grading or digital image is provided in this report.

Damage - Lab Report

            If you need to document the type and extent of damage to an item prior to submitting a casualty loss claim, a Damage Report may provide the evidence needed by the insurance company to begin the procedure.  This report provides detailed documentation of the damage, including digital images and photomicrographs if necessary.  When it is possible to determine, the cause of the damage is reported.

Inventory Report

            This report will provide weights, measurements and digital images of items for which you do not need or want an appraisal.  Essentially, this document will provide proof of possession as of the report date that would be necessary when filing an insurance claim under the general household items coverage.

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Appraisals for Federal Functions

Appraisals prepared for IRS use require very specific methodology and very careful research and reporting.  There are five basic types of reports that fall into this category and the value definition as well as the market research for each type is different.  All of these appraisals include detailed descriptions, quality grades and digital images in a self-contained appraisal format.  Each is extensively researched, documented and prepared to the level required by the Department of the Treasury Revenue Procedure 66-49, Treasury Regulation Section 1.170A-13, Revenue Procedure 96-15 or other statutory requirements as appropriate.

Estate Tax Liability Appraisal

            These reports include detailed descriptions, qualitative analysis, digital images and are prepared using the self-contained report format.  The specific definition of Fair Market Value as determined by [26 CFR, section 20.2031-1(b)] of the IRS regulations is used for these appraisals.  If either Federal estate tax or State inheritance tax is owed, this type of appraisal will comply with the legal requirements.  In some jurisdictions other specific requirements may need to be met for this type of appraisal.

Non-cash Charitable Contribution for Income Tax Deduction Appraisal

            In certain circumstances, an appraisal may be required when taking an income tax deduction for a charitable contribution of an item, rather than cash.  In most cases, an appraisal, even if not required, is advisable to preclude the over-estimation of the value of an item you wish to donate.  Many people make the mistake of using an insurance replacement valuation when determining the amount of the tax deduction.  This could be a very costly error that subjects the donor to tax penalties and interest since the retail value of an item new is often much higher than the Fair Market Value of the pre-owned item being donated.  The specific definition of Fair Market Value as determined by [26 CFR section 1.170A-1(c)(2)] is used for these appraisals.

Gift Tax Liability Appraisal

            When non-cash gifts are made, an appraisal can help determine if the value exceeds the amount specified by the IRS which may be transferred without tax liability and can also establish a “basis” for future tax functions such as “Capital Gains” determination.  If the gift is taxable, the appraisal will help in the determination of the tax owed.  These reports use the specific definition of Fair Market Value as determined by [26CFR 25.2512-1].

Casualty Loss for Income Tax Deduction Appraisal

            Under certain specific circumstances, a casualty loss of personal property may qualify for an income tax deduction.  This type of appraisal requires a determination of the value at the time of acquisition, immediately prior to the loss and the value immediately after the loss occurred.  Fair Market Value is used in each of those instances to arrive at the amount that may qualify for the tax deduction.  These appraisals are complex and time-consuming, but necessary if a tax deduction for a casualty loss is taken when filing Form 4684.

Bankruptcy Appraisal

            This report complies with the Federal requirements for bankruptcy appraisals.  The specific chapter of the bankruptcy codes under which you are filing will determine the specific types of markets and values to be researched and reported in the self-contained report.  Your Trustee will usually determine whether an appraisal is necessary.  Detailed descriptions, measurements and grades are included with the digital images.

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