November 2003

JEWELRY INSURANCE ISSUES (formerly IM News), provides monthly insight and information for jewelry insurance agents, underwriters and claims adjusters.

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Table of Contents

Click on article titles in red

2017

Moral Hazard, Documents and the Bottom Line - January

Ruby and Jade - February

How to mail a diamond - March

Jewelry Insurance Appraisal Standards: JISO - April

Describing a gem's color - May

Why not just put jewelry on the Homeowner policy? - June

GIA Diamond Reports - July

Not just a pretty face - August

Moral hazards on the rise - September

Hurricanes, fires, floods—and jewelry insurance - October

Inherent vice / wear-and-tear losses are rising - November

2016

Inflated appraisals—alive & well! Shady lab reports—alive & well! MORAL HAZARD—ALIVE & WELL! - January

Clarity Enhancements v. Inherent Vice - February

How green is my emerald? - March

Cruise Jewelry - What's the problem? - April

Crown of Light ® - how special is it? - May

Diamonds at Auction — Big gems, big prices, and the trickle-down effect - June

Are you sure her wedding jewelry is covered? - July

What Affects Jewelry Valuation? - August

What to look for – on the jewelry appraisal, on the cert, and on other documents - September

Growing Bigger & Bigger Diamonds - October

Scam season is always NOW - November

Ocean Diamonds - December

2015

Pair & Set Jewelry Claims and the Accidental Tourist - January

Is that brand-name diamond a cut above the others? - February

Vacation Jewelry – Insurer beware! - March

Apple's Smartwatch – The risk of a wrist computer - April

Why you should read that appraisal - May

Smoking Gun! - June

Color-Grading Diamond: the Master Stones - July

Padparadscha—a special term for a special stone - August

Jewelry Appraisal Fees - September

Insuring a Rolex - steps to take, things to consider - October

Diamond camouflage and how to see through it - November

GIA Hacked! - December

2014

Who Grades? - January

Sales, discounts, price reductions, bargains, specials, mark-downs . . . . and valuation - February

Credential Conundrum - March

Frankenwatches - April

Fakes, fakes, and more fakes - May

Marketing Confusion — What is this gem anyway? - June

12 Reasons Not to Insure a Rolex! - July

Why NOT to insure a Rolex: Reasons 5-7 - August

Why NOT to insure a Rolex: Reasons 8-10 - September

Why NOT to insure a Rolex: Reasons 11-12 - October

The Doublet Masquerade - November

Is the gem suitable for the jewelry? Is this a good insurance risk? - December

2013

Wedding Rings on HO? NO! - January

Silver: the new gold - February

Point Protection - March

Tiffany v. Costco - April

What counts in valuing a diamond? - May

Appraising Jewelry - What’s a credential worth? - June

A Cutting Question concerning vintage diamonds - July

Synthesized Diamonds - Scam update - August

Pretty in Pink - Kunzite on parade... - September

Preventing jewelry losses - October

Scratch a diamond and you’ll find . . .??? - November

Synthetics in the Mix - December

2012

Advanced Gem Lab - A deeper look at colored gems - January

Whose Diamond? - February

Appraisal Inflation - It Keeps On Keeping On - March

Big Emerald - April

Changing colors and making gems: Are we seeing "beautiful lies"? - May

Diamonds - Out of Africa. . . or out of a lab? - June

Appraiser's Dream Contest - July

GIA & the Magic of Certificates - August

Pricey when it’s hot: What happens when it’s not? - September

Fooling With Gold - October

Tanzanite – December's stone - November

Branding Diamonds - What do those names mean? - December

2011

Unappraisable Jewelry - January

Replicas - Are they the real thing? - February

Composite Rubies- From bad to worse - March

Jewelry Hallmark - A Well-Kept Secret - April

Non-Disclosure: Following a Trail of Deception - May

Preserving the Diamond Dream - June

Spinel in the Spotlight - July

Jewelry 24/7 - Electronic Shopping - August

Diamond Bubble? - September

Disclosure: HPHT - October

"Hearts & Arrows" Diamonds - November

How a Gem Lab Looks at Diamonds - December

2010

Emeralds - And What They Include - January

Pink Diamonds: From Astronomical to Affordable - February

Palladium-the Other Precious White Metal - March

Bridal Jewelry - April

The Corundum Spectrum - May

How Photos Cut Fraud - and help the insured - June

The Price of Fad - July

Old Cut, New Cut-It's All about Diamonds - August

EightStar Diamonds-Beyond Ideal - September

The Hazard of Fakes - October

Jewelry with a Story - November

Counterfeit Watches - December

2009

Blue Diamond-cool, rare and expensive-sometimes - January

Turning Jewelry into Cash—
Strategy in a Bad Economy
- February

Enhancing the Stone - March

Being Certain about the Cert - April

Every Picture Tells a Story - May

Color-Grading Diamonds - June

The Newest Diamond Substitute - July

What Happens to Stolen Jewelry - August

Jewelry As an Investment - September

Black Diamond: Paradox of a Gem - October

Protect Your Homeowners Market—Keep Jewelry OFF HO Policies! - November

What’s So Great about JISO Appraisal Forms & Standards? - December

2008

Garnet - and Its Many Incarnations - January

Organic Gems - February

Do Your Jewelry Insurance Settlements Make You Look Bad? - March

Don't Be Duped by Fake JISO Appraisal - April

Diamonds in the Rough - May

The Cultured Club - June

Sapphire-Gem Superstar - July

It's a Certified Diamond! 
- But who's saying so?
- August

FTC Decides: Culture Is In! - September

Paraiba Tourmaline – What's in a Name? - October

How Fancy is Brown? - November

CZ – The Great Pretender - December

2007

Moissanite's New Spin - January

Online Jewelry - Buying and Insuring - February

Blood Diamonds - March

Damaged Jewelry, Don't Assume!- April

Chocolate Pearls - May

Appraisal Puff-Up vs Useful Appraisal - June

It's Art, but is it Jewelry?
- July

Diamonds Wear Coats of Many Colors - August

DANGER! eBay Jewelry "Bargains" - September

TV Shopping for Jewelry - October

Enhanced Emerald: clever coverup - November

How do you like your rubies -
leaded or unleaded?
- December

2006

The New Platinum: A Story of Alloys - January

Ruby Ruse - February

How Big are Diamonds Anyway? - March

GIA Diamond Scandal
Has Silver Lining for Insurers
- April

Watch Out for Big-Box Retailers Insurance Appraisals - May

Mixing It Up: Natural and Synthetic Diamonds Together - June

Tanzanite - Warning: Fragile - July

Red Diamonds - August

Inflated Valuations & Questionable Certificates - September

Emeralds - October

Where Do Real Diamonds Come From? - November

Counterfeit Watches - The Mushroom War - December

2005

The Lure of Colored Diamonds - January

Synthetic Colored Diamonds - February

Watches: What to Watch for - March

When is a Pear not a Pair? - April

The Truth About Topaz - May

White Gold: How White is White? - June

One of a Kind - or Not - July

Jewelry in Disguise - August

Valued Contract for Jewelry? Proceed with Caution! - September

Antiques, Replicas and All Their Cousins
October

Grading the Color of Colored Diamonds
November

New GIA Cut Grade for Diamonds - December

2004

Synthetic Diamonds - and Insuring Tips - January

Bogus Appraisals and Fraud - February

A Picture is Worth Thousands of Dollars - March

Don't be Duped by Fracture Filling - April

Gem Scams Point to Need for Change - May

What is a Good Appraisal - June

4Cs of Color Gemstones - July

Gem Laser Drilling: The Next Generation - August

Why Update an Appraisal? - September

When to Recommend an Appraisal Update or a Second Appraisal - October

Secrets of Sapphire - November

Will the Real Ruby Please Stand Up - December

2003

Mysterious Orient:
A Tale of Loss
- January

Bogus Diamond Certificates and Appraisals - February

Can Valuations be Trusted? - March

Spotting a Bogus Appraisal or Certificate - April

Counterfeit Diamond Certificates - May

Case of the Mysterious "Rare" Sapphires - June

Politically Correct Diamonds - July

Name Brand Diamonds - September

Princess Cut: Black Sheep of Diamonds - October

Reincarnate as a Diamond - November

Synthetic Diamonds - December

2002

Irradiated Mail/Irradiated Gems - January

Fake Diamonds (Moissonite) - February

GIA Diamond Report - March

AGS and Other Diamond Certificates - April

Colored Stone Certificates - May

Damaged Jewelry: Don't Pay for Nature's Mistakes - June

The Case of the "Self-Healing" Emerald - July

Mysterious Disappearance: Case of the Missing Opals - August

The Discount Mirage - September

What Can You Learn from Salvage? - October

Gaining from Partial Loss - November

Year in Review - December

2001

Colored Diamonds - January

Good as Gold - February

Disclose Gem Treatments - March

FTC Jewelry Guidelines - April

Myths Part I: Each Piece is Unique - May

Myths Part II: Myths, Lies, & Half-Truths - June

New Trend: Old Cut Stones - October

The Appraisal Process - November

Year in Review - December

2000

Deceptive Pricing - January

Gems - Natural or Manmade - February

Jeweler/Appraisal Credentials - March

Fracture Filling - April

Salvage Jewelery - May

Gem Treatments - June

Don't Ask/Don't Tell - A Buying Nightmare - July

Laser Drilling of Diamonds - August

Jeweler Ethics or the Lack Thereof - September

Gem Scam - October

The Truth about Clarity Grading - November

Year in Review - December

 

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Reincarnate as a Diamond

The latest in jewelry: wear a departed loved one around your neck or on your finger. Cremated remains can now be processed to produce diamond.

Is it strange? Yes. But it’s the latest technology and the newest hype in the funeral services industry. “Death no longer has to be a final parting,” says a representative of LifeGem, based in Chicago.

To make the diamond, technicians extract carbon from a person’s cremated remains. They then subject it to extreme temperature and pressure, mimicking the way nature produces diamond from coal. Technology accomplishes in a few months the change that takes nature millions of years.

The remains of one person typically yield a diamond between .25 carats and 1.3 carats. Or, a number of smaller gems can be made. The remains of one young woman were turned into six diamonds, which could be set into any sort of jewelry the family desired. A person’s carbon remains can also be stored with the company for future conversion into gems.

Centers for creating diamonds from cremated remains are being set up around the world. The process is seen as a boon for the funeral industry, with funeral homes acting as links between customers and this new service. A number of people have made advance arrangements for themselves, so their loved ones will have a piece of them as a permanent, tangible memory. The service is also offered for pets.

These services and products are being made available under a variety of names. Our discussion uses information from LifeGem, because this company has a large and detailed Web site.

How good are these diamonds?

LifeGem’s site says that the only difference between a natural diamond and one of theirs is that natural diamonds are formed with “an arbitrary carbon source.” There’s much more to be said. LifeGem and similar companies produce synthetic diamond, a controversial product in general. We’ll discuss synthetic diamonds in detail in our next issue.

According to its Web site, the company’s synthesized diamonds are certified by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Many buyers will take this to be a stamp of quality. However, as discussed in our March 2002 issue, the GIA certificate merely describes the gem; it does not give valuation, and it is not some sort of honor reserved only for high-quality diamonds.

Let’s look at one of these products in terms of the 4 Cs of diamond quality.

Color

“The elements and impurities in your loved one's carbon directly affect the resulting color of your LifeGem(s),” says the Web site. An unmentioned fact is that, although the highest quality diamonds are colorless, it is not yet possible to synthesize a colorless diamond. So manufacturers alter their off-color products by adding other ingredients or by irradiating the stones. Then, making a virtue of necessity, they advertise blue, red and yellow diamonds.

Clarity

LifeGem gives no guarantee for clarity but gives a wide range in which the gem will fall. Apparently the process cannot control for clarity.

Carat Weight

LifeGem can create diamonds from .25 carat to 1.3 carats. The buyer can choose to have one larger diamond or many small stones.

Cut

Cut proportions, which account for fully half a diamond’s value, are not discussed at all. (Three popular shapes are offered under the heading “cut,” but shape is not cut.)

And a 5th C: Cost

LifeGem’s prices start at $2,299 (presumably for the smallest they offer, .25 carat).

For comparison, a natural .25-carat diamond of mid-range clarity that has been made blue by irradiation would retail for $500 to $600.

Another comparison. Synthesized gems have only a fraction the value of natural gems. For example, the wholesale cost of a natural half-carat emerald is 14 times the cost of a synthesized emerald of the same size.

In a bit of misleading “education,” the LifeGem site links to a page with prices for natural blue diamonds. Intense colors in natural diamonds are extremely rare, and such stones are valued in the tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. The LifeGem customer is not getting a rare natural diamond, however, but a cheaply produced synthetic one.

The prices quoted are for loose gems. Should the purchaser want the diamonds set in jewelry, LifeGem has its own setting provider.

What does all this mean
for the agent, underwriter, and adjuster?

Making diamonds from human carbon is still very new, but the business is expected to grow quickly. Banking on the rising cremation rates, these companies are marketing diamonds as unique, highly personalized memorials to replace burial rites and tombstones.

Insurers should consider several issues in deciding how, or indeed whether, to insure such jewelry.

Few topics we’ve covered have invited dialog as this one does. Though the business is now very new, in 5 or 10 years we expect it to be mainstream. Now is the time for insurers to consider how they will deal with insuring human-based diamonds.

We welcome any comments from agents, underwriters or adjusters on the subject and we will print them in a future issue.

Next Issue: Synthetic Diamonds

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