FAQ Page

As the company director and principal valuer, I take my responsibility for the provision of independent and expert valuations incredibly seriously.  I have spent in excess of two decades working within the jewellery industry and during that time I have obtained several internationally renowned qualifications.  I am also an active member of some of the industries leading organisations, as well as being a founding member of the Academy of Valuers, a non-profit academic organisation, created for the sole purpose of providing education and training for jewellery valuers and members of the jewellery trade.   Qualifications and Post-nominal letters – Fellow of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain (FGA)  – Diamond member of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain (DGA) – Cultured Pearl Specialist, cultured pearl association of America (CPAA) – Applied jewellery professional, Gemological Institute of America (AJP) – Fellow of the Jewellery Valuers Association (FJVA)   Memberships – Jewellery Valuers Association (Founding member) – Academy of Valuers (Founding member) – Gemmological Association of Great Britain – Association of Independent jewellery valuers  
Percentage based system This is where the cost of your valuation is based on a percentage of the valuation total.  A typical example would be a report fee of £x.xx then 2.0% of the value and then VAT. The problem with this approach is firstly you have no idea what your valuation will cost, until it has been completed. How many services would get done if you didn’t know what it was going to cost until it was done? Not many I bet. The second issue we have with this approach is the potential for a conflict of interest.  How do you know the value is accurate? How do you know the value hasn’t been squeezed up to obtain a bigger fee?  The problem is you don’t. With every initial consultation we give you a completely free and no obligation quotation, it is then entirely up to you whether you wish to proceed. For further information or to discuss your valuation requirements, please contact us.

The right and wrong type of insurance valuation

Sadly too many people take an insurance valuation at face value and think that just because it says ‘insurance valuation’ on the top, then it is fit for purpose.  This could not be further from the truth.  Unfortunately it is only when someone needs to make an insurance claim, will they realise the valuation they have is no good.   So let’s for a second imagine that you’ve lost your engagement ring and after days of hunting high and low looking for it, you decide to claim on your home insurance.  After all, that’s exactly what it is there for.   Your insurance company goes through all the normal procedures and ask you to send them all the documents and proof that you have for the ring.  No problem you think, I have some documentation somewhere.   Perhaps the company you purchased the ring from gave you a valuation for insurance.   Or perhaps when you renewed your insurance policy, your new insurance company asked for a valuation.  So you took your ring down to your local jeweller and they kindly jotted the value down on a piece of headed paper for you.   So you’ve got your ‘valuation’ and everything is going to be OK, you sit back and wait for the cheque to arrive in the post right? Wrong!  The cheque doesn’t arrive, so you call your insurance company to find out what’s going on and they politely tell you that in the worst case, they won’t be paying out or more likely, your settlement will be nowhere near the figure you imagined or think you have insured.  Their explanation for this is that your single page ‘valuation’ that you thought was OK, does not contain sufficient pertinent information and that it hasn’t been compiled by a suitably qualified person.   So they’ll only pay out to your single article limit!   You make think that this sounds like a horror story, but sadly it is something we see with alarming regularity.   Too many people have put faith in their valuations when they are not fit for purpose.   So how do you know if your valuation is the wrong kind and isn’t fit for purpose?  Here are the key things you should be looking for on a valuation for insurance.
Length if you have a valuation for your engagement ring and it’s just a single A4 page, then chances are it’s not going to be fit for purpose.  In comparison our valuation for an engagement ring, runs to around fourteen pages.
How much detail does it contain if your valuation just has the basics, such as Platinum half carat diamond ring, then it’s the wrong kind.  Our valuations are incredibly detailed and contain relevant information such as metal prices and exchange rates on the day of the valuation.   As well as a complete breakdown of the item in question, its component parts, measurements, manufacturing method, hallmarks and many other aspects which will be critical to establishing the replacement value of that particular piece.
Market type an aspect which is often missing from the ‘wrong kind’ of valuation is the type of market level in which the item can only be replaced in.  A correct valuation will always state the market in which the piece can be replaced, such as ‘New replacement value’, ‘Second hand replacement value’, or ‘Antique replacement value’.   Imagine that you inherited your grandmothers beautiful art deco engagement ring.  Did you know that when it is valued, it needs to be valued as a ‘second hand replacement’? The reason for this is you cannot go out and buy a ‘new’ art deco ring.  So your insurance company needs to know that in the event of a claim, they will need to settle on that basis.  If your insurance company doesn’t know this, then it’s going to cause you all kinds of problems should you need to make a claim.
The final point you need to look out for, is who has done the valuation and what are their credentials?   A valuation should always be carried out by a member or fellow of the Jewellery Valuers Association.  So you’ll be looking for MJVA or FJVA post nominal’s after their name.  This indicates that they are independent and most importantly they are qualified valuers.  Ideally they should also have some form of gemmological and diamond grading qualifications as well.  Never accept a valuation which is signed ‘On behalf of’, for all you know, the window cleaner may have written it.   Remember the right kind of valuation will not only save you time and money in the long run, but it will also contribute to a swifter and more successful completion of your insurance claim.   For further information or to discuss any questions you may have, please feel free to contact us.
The traditional way of having your watches or jewellery valued, requires you to take your item(s) to a jewellers.  Where they would either value the pieces on site or send them off to an external valuer to be done.  The biggest downside to this is you have to go to them, as well as being parted from your item(s) for a prolonged period of time, in some cases several weeks.   At Clarity Valuations we like to do things differently.  We don’t like the idea of asking someone to be parted from a precious item such as an inherited watch or an engagement ring for several weeks, especially when there are other options.  Which is why we are pleased to offer a unique private visitation service, where we will come to you an undertake the inspection aspect of your valuation.  The whole inspection is carried out in your presence, so you will never be parted from your most precious pieces.  You are also free to ask the valuer as many questions as you like, plus you get to see the time and detail that goes into an inspection.  During the appointment all the pertinent aspects of the item(s) will be recorded, along with digital photographs of the pieces being taken.  Once the inspection has been completed, the item(s) are passed back to you and the valuer will leave you to enjoy the rest of your day.  The actual ‘valuation’ of the item(s) takes place back at our office and the completed valuation is forward onto once completed.   The benefit of this service is the convenience.  There is no need for you to travel and worry about taking all of your jewellery out at once, as we will come to you.  Whether this is your home, place of work, solicitors or bank, we will come to you.  All we ask is that the venue offers a certain level of discretion and has a small desk/table area with access to a power socket, it is as straight forward as that.   Appointments are available Monday to Friday, along with selected Saturdays and evenings.   Please feel free to contact us to discuss your requirements and to obtain a free no obligation quote.
With our office in Bristol we have the perfect logistical base, that enables us to provide our private visitation service to a large portion of the South West of England and South Wales.   Our private visitation appointments are available in the following counties.   England: Bristol, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Somerset, Wiltshire, Worcestershire and parts of Devon. Wales: Carmarthenshire, Glamorganshire, Monmouthshire and Pembrokeshire.   Of course this is not a completely exclusive list, as we are happy to undertake appointments further afield.  Please feel free to contact us to discuss your requirements and to obtain a free no obligation quote.
An insurance valuation is so much more than just an item(s) description and value(s). In the event of a theft or loss, the detailed description, factual data and photographs help to ensure a suitable replacement or settlement amount. This is especially important with claims against bespoke or designer pieces. The details contained within a valuation for insurance can also help identify the item(s) if they are recovered by the police.   Should your item(s) be lost or stolen whilst on holiday, a valuation for insurance also helps to ensure that you will not be charged Duty and VAT on pieces that you already owned prior to leaving the UK.
WatchPlus is an additional service that we are delighted to offer.  With each valuation of this type, we will cross reference the details of your watch against the leading international database of lost and stolen watches. This global database currently contains the details of nearly 100,000 lost or stolen watches, from over 850 different brands and manufacturers.  It is the primary source for listing, as well as the recovery of lost and stolen watches and is regularly used by both international and national insurance companies and police forces.   If you have recently purchased a pre-owned watch, this is perfect for you and provides additional peace of mind that your watch has a clean history.   To find out more or to book your appointment, contact us
Index linking is one of the most common ways that your Insurance Company will attempt to keep the total sum you have insured in line with what is happening in the market place. This typically works well with the majority of goods you may insure, such as your TV or computer.   However as jewellery is composed of precious metals, diamonds and gemstones, it is the biggest exception to the index linking approach.   There are numerous external forces which can have an impact upon the value of your item(s) of jewellery, such as fluctuations in the US Dollar exchange rate, upon which everything is traded.  Economic stability, an increased or decreased demand for precious metals and gemstones, politics, media coverage and fashion can all play apart.  Due to all of these and further influencing factors, jewellery can decrease as well as increase in value. By applying an Insurance company’s’ annual percentage increase on your policy, you may be paying premiums far in excess of what they should be or you may be considerably under insured.   A professional valuation for insurance is one of the best ways to ascertain the correct replacement value for your item(s).  Once the first valuation for insurance has been carried out, the hardest part has been done.  All future re-valuations carry only a nominal fee, which covers the cleaning, checking, recalculating the value of your items and producing the new schedule for your Insurance Company.
Due to fluctuations in exchange rates and the prices of raw materials, such as gold and platinum, we recommend that valuations are checked and updated every two to three years.  For items that we have valued previously, we charge 25% of the current item fee, plus a document fee for the updated report schedule.  The revaluation also gives us the opportunity to check your item(s) for damage or wear and advise if any repairs are needed to keep your items in the best possible condition
When you ask a member or fellow of the Institute of Registered Valuers to undertake a valuation, you are seeking professional advice from an expert. You must expect to pay a reasonable price for that expert’s time and knowledge. The fee’s charged cover the investment in the valuers training, their equipment and other resources that are necessary to provide you with a specialist report, as well as the responsibility that is associated with the finished schedule. In this, as in most cases, the cheapest is not always the best.   We also believe that it is important to charge a fair and set fee for our work. This is why our fees are structured around the amount of items and not a percentage based upon their value, as we consider this to be not only unethical, but it also represents a conflict of interest in the value we ascribed to the item(s). You will also know the exact fee before we carry out any valuation on your behalf; there are no hidden surprises with our fees.
There is a popular misconception that valuations can be carried out like they are on TV, quickly and verbally. However, what TV never show, are the hours spent on examining, measuring, photographing and researching each item, as well as the compilation of all the evidence to arrive at a realistic, fair and justifiable value. They show you the results of the work, but not the work itself.   A valuation also has to be in writing, be made out to a person(s), at a specified date for a particular purpose, and be signed by a registered Valuer to mean anything.
The question of “what it is worth?” is a rather broad and varied one, as the ‘worth’ of something will mean different things to different people depending upon their individual circumstances.  Unfortunately there is no all-encompassing answer which covers an items worth for every circumstance.  As the old saying goes ‘a glass of water is worth considerably more to a man dying of thirst in the desert, than to a man who has it on tap’.   For us to be able to value your watch or piece of jewellery correctly, we first need to understand the context of why the valuation is required, such as for the purpose of insurance, probate or for sale by private treaty.  Only then can we begin to work on establishing the ‘value’ of your item.
Your personal information is completely safe with us.  We ensure that all of our systems and procedures conform and exceed the requirements laid out in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).  We will not disclose any details about you or your valuation to any third party, unless compelled to do so by force of law.
To remain completely independent and unbiased, we do not buy or sell watches or jewellery.  We are however happy to offer advice on such matters.