It’s All About Perceived Value — Or Is It?

I dropped off some jewelry yesterday to have it appraised, and the experience got me thinking. Now this is jewelry that I wear literally everyday. It just makes me feel happy whenever I look at the pieces, because they remind me of my family. Also, they’re beautiful.

So, whether or not they turn out to be worth 10 cents or $10,000, I’ll still wear them every day and enjoy doing so. For me, the perceived value is in the way they regularly remind me of family members.

But prior to filling out the paperwork, the appraiser made a comment that got me thinking. She wondered if we were getting the jewelry appraised for insurance reasons. That’s part of the reason, so I said yes. (The other reason is that I’m a curious person.)

After I said yes, she suggested that maybe if we had a high deductible, we might not want to get them appraised because it may not be worth insuring them. Well, I was still curious, so I went ahead. And if they were to be lost or stolen, I’d like to be able to say something more descriptive about them than “no I’m not sure what kind of stone that one is, I think it’s this, but I’m not sure” when asked to describe them, or something better than “uh, I have no idea” when asked to estimate their value.

Hopefully they will never be lost or stolen, but I don’t want to be completely clueless if something does happen to them.

But I then got to thinking about women who go to sell their jewelry and discover that their wedding ring is fake. You never hear stories of people being happy about that.

So are they upset because the jewelry wasn’t worth what they thought it was? Are they upset because it was implied or stated that the ring was real, and they were lied to? Are they upset because they think their husband didn’t think they were worth buying the real thing?

In other words, I think that sometimes we attached value to the things we own because we think they have monetary value, sometimes we attach value due to history, and sometimes we may not know how we really feel until our beliefs are called into question.

It’s like my car. Strangers frequently make comments to me about how nice my car is, and I wonder, would they still feel that way if they knew it was worth about $1200? Of course, it’s worth a lot more than that to me. But tell most people that you drive a $1200 car, and they’ll feel sorry that you’re driving “a clunker”.

What do you think? How much of things are about perceived monetary value?

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