An appraisal describes the quality, value, and condition of a piece of jewelry, as opposed to a Diamond Certificate or Grading Report which describes only the characteristics of an unmounted gemstone. Appraisals serve many important functions: they can assign a dollar value to the item of jewelry for insurance purposes, provide documentation that can assist in settling an estate or a divorce, or verify an item's true market value. Market values are constantly changing, so most professionals will recommend that you have your fine jewelry appraised every two years. It is not uncommon for your insurance company to require an updated appraisal every three years. If you use the same appraiser it may be possible to receive an update - which is usually less costly than an entirely new appraisal. Appraisers are not required to be licensed – so it is a good idea to check your appraiser’s educational credentials; a qualified appraiser should have a gemology degree and belong to a national association that encourages continuing education.