Certificate of Appraisal Theory CAT

CAT is a modular programme of study with a self-learning approach that teaches the basic theories, methodologies and good working practices needed to become a competent jewellery valuer.

Some would call this valuation science, but basically it teaches the theory of how to value. In fact, a lot of the theory and methodologies that will be taught could almost be applied to valuing anything at all. However, we do need to stress that the programme absolutely does NOT qualify a candidate or student to become a jewellery valuer.

During this programme, the CAT student will learn to understand and appreciate the basic approaches to determine value, the forces that create, diminish and/or influence value, as well as how to seek, find and interpret comparables. The various components (or elements) of the written valuation will be fully explained, which will include how to write a skilful and succinct descriptive narrative to support the value conclusion determined.

However, it should always be remembered that these are theoretical guidelines only and valuers cannot ever be reliant on theory alone. Even if the recommendations contained in this programme are adopted to the letter, values determined could very often prove to be inaccurate and, therefore, cause all sorts of problems.

Valuing a piece of jewellery, or a gemstone, essentially utilises the same basic principles as valuing almost anything at all and in this programme the student will learn how this valuation science is applied to jewellery valuation to achieve consistently accurate values.

Whilst valuation science is the foundation on which to build, this is just the start of the aspiring valuer’s long journey in achieving their eventual goal of becoming a professional jewellery and gem valuer. CAT is one of the pre-requisites of joining the Institute and guidance on further study necessary to acquire the additional skills to become a jewellery valuer is given in the conclusion of the programme of study

Who should enrol on this programme: The programme is suitable for anyone with a desire to learn best valuation practice. 


Three detailed modules of study support the syllabus. They are:

Module 1: The Basic Principles & Concepts of Gems & Jewellery Appraisal Theory

This module teaches the student the basic principles and concepts behind valuation science as it applies to jewellery appraisal. This will include:

  • The Basic Principles and Concepts of Appraisal Theory
  • The difference between price, cost and value
  • Analysing prices to determine value
  • The purpose, function and intended use of a valuation
  • Different valuation approaches.
  • The different types of valuations
  • Different market levels for different types of valuation
  • All areas of this module will be the subject of examination.

Module 2: Theoretical Methodologies, practices & Issues Specific to Jewellery & Gem Valuation

In this module the CAT student will further develop their theoretical knowledge of matters specific to jewellery and gem appraisal and learn the practicalities of producing professional valuations that are consistently accurate.

  • Take-In Procedures
  • Worksheets
  • Provisional Appraisal Procedures
  • Mandatory Appraisal/Cataloguing Procedures
  • Researching and Recording Gem and Metal Prices for the Cost Price Approach
  • Researching and Recording Gem Prices,Metal Prices and Comparables for the Market Data Approach
  • Guide to Mark-Ups
  • Descriptions
  • Recording the Details (Factual Data, Judgements and Assessments)

Module 3: Commercial, Legal & Ethical Matters

In this module the student will learn the commercial aspects of running a successful jewellery valuation business and the legal and ethical matters that have to be considered

  • Commercial, Legal and Ethical Matters
  • Commercial matters
  • Technology
  • Security
  • Legal matters
  • Insurance matters
  • Many elements of this module are for information only and, therefore, will not be subject to examination.

Each module contains sample/information documents


In order to assess their self-learning each student is required to complete seven assignments which will be assessed by an assigned advisor who will provide feedback. No more than two assignments can be sent in any one month and ALL assignments must be completed three months before the exam date. The advisor will advise the student when they are ready to take the examination


There will be a final written theory examination. This will normally be held once a year in October in London. Students will not have to actually value any pieces of jewellery during the examination; it will be geared to test a student’s theoretical knowledge of HOW to value

NB: the assignments do not count towards the examination result.

Study Pack

Study materials for each module will be provided in PDF format


The Certificate of Appraisal Theory will be awarded to those students who reach the required standard in the examination.

Please note: Qualification in the examination DOES NOT entitle the student to place any initials after their name



Malcolm Jones