Jewelry Insurance Issues

November 2004

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

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Jewelry Insurance Issues

Table of Contents

Click on article titles in red

2014

Who Grades? - January

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

Credential Conundrum - March

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 - Whatís 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 youíll 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 itís hot: What happens when itís not? - September

Fooling With Gold - October

Tanzanite Ė 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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Secrets of Sapphire

Professional Jeweler magazine named sapphire “gemstone of the year” because of its popularity. Before policies for holiday gift jewelry begin to cross insurers’ desks, here are some important tips regarding sapphire.

Sapphire & Ruby

What color is sapphire? Cornflower blue is the color most people associate with this gem. But in fact, sapphires appear in a spectrum of colors.

Both ruby and sapphire are of the gem species corundum. Four specific shades of red are designated ruby; all the other colors of corundum — yellows, blues, oranges, greens, pinks, purples — are sapphire. This Rainbow Bracelet is an attractive stage for the spectrum of corundum colors.

Ruby, in its four shades of red, is generally more expensive than sapphire. A dark pink sapphire is something of a ruby-wannabe. An inexperienced (or dishonest) jeweler might describe a dark pink sapphire as red, thus putting it into the higher-value category of ruby. In this case, the purchaser would be overpaying, and so would the insurer in the event of a loss.

If the Sapphire is Blue…

But even if the sapphire is blue, “Blue sapphire” as a description on the appraisal is not enough! The value of colored stones is based primarily on their specific color or play of colors, so the description must be in precise gemological language of tone, saturation and hue. For example, a sapphire’s color might be described as

medium dark (tone), vivid (saturation) violetish Blue (hue).

A JCRS study showed that fewer than 5% of insurance appraisals for sapphires adequately described color. Yet without such information, the stone cannot be accurately valued. Information may be missing from the appraisal because the appraiser is untrained or unequipped to recognize these qualities. Or he may think this information is not important to the purchaser or to the insurer. It will be VERY important to the insurer if a claim is made.

Star Sapphire vs. Lindy

A star sapphire exhibits the phenomenon called asterism, a silky star-like effect caused by regularly arranged inclusions in the stone. This sapphire from the Machine-Gun Kelly Kidnapping Collection, is a fine example.

Star sapphires are so popular that synthetic stars are widely available. Lindy star sapphires were manufactured en masse by the Lindy division of Union Carbide from the 1950s to the 1970s. Since then artificial star sapphires have been made in Southeast Asia. A Lindy (sometimes spelled Linde) has an L stamped on the bottom of the stone, though other synthetics do not.

On the synthetic, the star is basically painted on the stone. An experienced purchaser should be able to tell the difference, though the consumer may not have the opportunity to compare a real star sapphire with the fake. On some Web sites, for example, Lindys are shown without explanation. Consumers may assume Lindy is simply a brand name, rather than an indication of a painted-on star.

Treatments & Synthetics

New technologies can turn plain-jane sapphires into attractive jewels. Treatments change a gem’s color or improve its clarity. Such treated stones are worth less than an untreated gem of similar appearance. Experts even report instances where a treated sapphire, though it looked more attractive to the naked eye, was actually lower in value than before it was treated.

Synthetic sapphire can be cheaply produced in the laboratory. Most fine watches use colorless synthetic sapphire for the watch crystal. Synthetic sapphires in jewelry must be described as synthetic on the appraisal.

Not every jeweler is competent to appraise and value colored stones. A retailer without the appropriate gemological training or a gem lab may not even recognize synthetic sapphire or the color- and clarity-enhancements.

Gem Scams

The majority of gem scams center on colored stones. Consumers are an easy mark because they know little about how these gems are valued, the markup on colored stones is much greater than on diamonds, and information is hard to come by. Even comparison shopping is difficult. Most jewelers carry primarily diamond jewelry, with only a few examples of colored gems.

Even gem dealers can be fooled. A wholesale scam involved the Padparadsha, an unusual orange-pink sapphire that comes from Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Tanzania.

Origin

The origin of the gem — where it was mined — can make a huge price difference. For ruby and sapphire, the finest quality stones come from Kashmir, Myanmar (Burma) and Sri Lanka (Ceylon). This comparison suggests the value difference:

If a sapphire is from one of the sources of quality gems, that will be mentioned on the appraisal. You can verify a stone’s origin through the labs at American Gem Trade Association (AGTA).

Popularity & Price

External events often influence gem popularity and prices. Princess Diana’s engagement ring was sapphire rather than diamond, so the sapphire market got a boost. At one time it was illegal to export stones from Burma, with execution as the punishment, so the price of the already expensive Burma rubies skyrocketed.

Since the price of gems can fluctuate, it is recommended that valuations for scheduled jewelry be updated every 3-5 years.

FOR AGENTS AND UNDERWRITERS

Color is the main determinant of value for sapphires and other colored stones. The appraisal should describe the gem’s color in terms of tone, saturation and hue. A vague description, such as “blue sapphire,” is useless.

Synthetic sapphires are quite common. The appraisal should state that the gem is either natural or synthetic, since synthetic gems are worth considerably less than natural.

Any treatments (or enhancements) should be listed, or the appraisal should state that the gem is untreated.

Use ACORD 18 Jewelry Appraisal and Claim Evaluation to be sure all necessary information is on the appraisal. If crucial information is missing, recommend that the policyholder get an appraisal on ACORD 78/79 or ACORD 805.

For high-value Kashmir, Burma and Ceylon rubies and sapphires, verify their origin through AGTA.

FOR ADJUSTERS

Synthetic sapphires are worth much less than natural. Check the appraisal for the word “synthetic.”

The term “Lindy” or “Linde” describes a star sapphire that is synthetic.

Always have damaged stones examined by a gemologist (who is not the selling jeweler) before settling a claim. For sapphires (and all colored gems), be sure to consult a jeweler who regularly deals with colored gemstones. The jeweler should also be a graduate gemologist and a Certified Insurance Appraiser™.

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