Cleaning Up the Appraisal Mess At its big international symposium last year, the Gemological Institute of America staged aptly named “war rooms” for airing controversial issues. Everyone, audience included, was encouraged to challenge and provoke. No such prodding was needed when the topic came to appraisals. It quickly became obvious that the issue has become the jewelry industry's exposed nerve. The main problem, everyone agrees, is the prevalence of inflated valuations. Too often, appraisals are little more than self-serving sales tools to make the gullible consumer think he's getting a bargain. Prices are routinely magnified 100%, 200%, or even more. Facts are few, research nil. Often there's not even a true description. These spurious appraisals not only hurt the industry's image but also create legal land mines, easily detonated by an angry consumer or suspicious insurance

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