There are a lot of things that people look for when buying jewelry. They might want to know if it’s made out of real gold or how much the gems weigh. They want to know the story behind the jewelry design and the legacy of the jewelry company that designed it. But what many people fail to ask about is their jewelry certification, known as the Letter of Authenticity.
Here, we’re going to outline everything you need to know about this valuable piece of paper so you can secure your jewelry’s value and validate its jewelry authentication status for years to come.
What is a Letter of Authenticity or Jewelry Certification?
This important document certifies your authentic jewelry, securing its status as a genuine jewelry designer piece, and can even help add significantly to the value. While some fine jewelers will hand you a Letter of Authenticity when you purchase a piece, many don’t, and many customers don’t realize they have a right to this jewelry certification document, let alone understand the value of this certificate, and therefore don’t even request one.
Letters of Authenticity are important for authentic jewelry
A Letter — or Certificate — of Authenticity (LOA) is official documentation provided by the designer, maker or manufacturer to verify that a particular item is an original design and authentic jewelry production by the named designer or brand. LOA’s are esteemed and important documents that typically accompany the highest-quality work and jewelry designs.
Letters of Authenticity come in various forms, from legitimate letters on parchment to embossed jewelry certifications and seals.
When you first think of Letters of Authenticity, you actually probably think about fine watches. These official documents are extremely common and popular amongst the world's top watchmakers, as they ensure the customer that everything is official and of the utmost quality.
But many people don’t realize how important and prevalent they are within the jewelry market as well. Sometimes they get tossed aside or even thrown away with the box. However, you’ll find that high-end designers, from mega-brands like Cartier to boutique brands like Gurhan, purposefully provide them to validate the quality and attest to the originality of a client’s authentic jewelry purchase.
Appraisals are also important, but not the same as jewelry authentication
Know that LOA’s are not appraisals. These are quite different documents that serve very different purposes. Many people think that a Letter of Authenticity can also be used to insure a piece of jewelry. But this is not the case. While the LOA might help add value because it certifies its originality, it is not enough to appraise a piece of jewelry for insurance purposes.
When you wish to insure your jewelry, you will be asked for an appraisal by an authorized appraiser. An appraiser is a trained and certified expert and what they will do is examine your piece and give you a value for what it is worth in its current state on the present market. A lot of things go into an appraisal — from materials to condition and even the brand and whether the piece has a LOA. But, an appraisal is an entirely separate document to a Letter of Authenticity and while the former is important for insurance purposes, the latter is your personal assurance that what you purchase is real, original and authentic jewelry, whatever the appraised value.
What should I look for in a Letter of Authenticity?
A Letter of Authenticity may vary between jewelers, but typically, there are a few elements that are standard to include. The first thing will be the name of the piece and the collection which it is from. You should also expect to see the year it was made, dimensions and the item number that corresponds to your piece of jewelry. A proper Letter of Authenticity will also have verification of the materials — like gold or silver — as well as the carat weight and clarity for any diamonds or gems used in the piece.
Sometimes your Letter of Authenticity will include a photo of your piece of jewelry. Sometimes the company will attach a generic shot of the make and model of your piece of jewelry itself. Other times, they will provide a unique photo of your specific piece of jewelry, including photographs of its make and number. Typically, the latter is preferred, as it directly corresponds to the jewelry piece you own which can help during any sort of resale or appraisal. If there are any unusual features to the jewelry piece, special inspiration, significant provenance to stones or other objects in the jewelry, you should expect to find details in the LOA.
Most of all, a Letter of Authenticity provides you with peace of mind that the jewelry piece you’ve purchased is one that the designer, brand or manufacturer considers significant enough to want to attest to its source, attributes, and authentic nature.
At Gurhan, every single item is lovingly made by hand, and a letter of authenticity attests to the fact that we know every piece intimately, and that it is a singular item worthy of its own item number and its own story. Worthy of a Letter of Authenticity.
Curious about how we certify our pieces for you? Head over to our FAQ section now to learn more about Gurhan’s Letters of Authenticity and more valuable jewelry certification information.