NAJA Meets in Philly

The National Association of Jewelry Appraisers (NAJA) met in Philadelphia in August for its 22nd annual mid-year conference, the first under the watch of Gail Levine, newly appointed executive director of the group. The conference highlighted 14 presentations ranging from Mogul jewelry (presented by Peter Shemonsky of Bonhams and Butterfields auction house in San Francisco) to Rolex watches (examined by Gary Zumbaugh of Zimbal’s in Clearwater, Fla.). More than 60 appraisers attended.

JCK‘s gemstone editor, Gary Roskin, discussed why the Gemological Institute of America’s Gem Trade Laboratory is always right in their opinion of diamond grading: “It is, after all, only an opinion,” said Roskin. “You can agree or disagree, that is your prerogative. But in the mind of your client, the lab is right.”

Diamond grading and diamond cut analysis were discussed in detail, but appraising, of course, was the focus of the conference. One of the most fascinating appraisal accounts was given by David Wolf of Just Appraisers in New York. He presented the “Appraisal From Hell,” catastrophic damage claims and non-recovered hypothetical loss claims from a terrorist attack. The presentation included graphic images of jewelry that was left for safekeeping in partially destroyed safe deposit boxes. Wolf’s ongoing assignment spans more than two years and comprises over 300 appraisals and many more claims involving “hypothetical loss” consulting. Wolf explained how to do such appraisals and discussed topics such as purpose, the definition of fair market value, intended use, how to make clients “whole” for damages, and critical assumptions and limiting conditions for non-recoverable articles. Wolf also described his experiences handling jewelry claims relating to heat, water, chemical blasts, and mysterious disappearance.

For more information, visit NAJA’s Web site at www.najaappraisers.com .