July 2007

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


What's a Certified Appraiser? - January

Best Appraiser Credentials - February

Are the diamonds you’re insuring real? - March

Handwritten Appraisals - April


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

FRAUD UPDATE – lack of disclosure, false inscriptions & doctored docs - December


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

Grading the Color of Colored Diamonds

New GIA Cut Grade for Diamonds - December


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


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


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


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


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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It’s Art – But Is It Jewelry?
or When Gems Go Beyond Jewelry

Most of the gemstones most of us see are traditionally cut stones in familiar-looking jewelry. Then there are the exceptions.

If this horse crossed your path, you’d recognize it as something special. The 18K yellow gold head is set with 49 carats of multi-colored diamonds and ruby eyes. Although the diamonds are not of particularly high quality, the 6”-tall piece sells for $28,000. (Click photo to enlarge)
Fabergé eggs are world renowned, regarded as masterpieces of the jeweler’s art. Peter Carl Fabergé produced at most 57 eggs for the Russian tsars between 1885 and 1917, each one a unique creation intricately crafted in precious metals, enameling, and gems. Many of the original eggs were lost in the Russian Revolution, and the remaining ones are in museums or private collections. In 2004 the Forbes collection of 9 Fabergé eggs sold at auction for $90 million — $10 million per egg. (Click photo to enlarge)

In the 1920s, the Fabergé family sold rights to the name to an Anglo-Dutch conglomerate, which now produces Fabergé cosmetics and jewelry, as well as Fabergé eggs. The name still has cachet, but the eggs are made as limited editions, instead of one-of-a-kind, and their value is not stratospheric. This example, 3-1/2” tall including its chalcedony quartz base, has a diamond-headed emerald-eyed serpent twining around an enameled egg, which opens to reveal an enameled frog. From an edition of 75, it sells for $15,860.

This Fabergé license was for “precious metal works.” Others have Fabergé licenses for non-precious metal works, and still other manufacturers are making cheap knock-offs. On the Internet, for example, you can find “Fabergé eggs” for $50. Insurers must be sure such pieces come with an appraisal from someone who is expert in appraising in this field (both identification and valuation).

A programmed machine was used to carve this onyx brooch, based on a portrait supplied by the customer. Ultrasound cut through a white layer of the stone into a dark layer to give depth. The 2”-high piece sells for $600. Such a brooch carved by hand would sell for about $1,600. (Click photo to enlarge)

A little snuff bottle — just 2" tall — is valued at $1,200. It is a carved piece of brown and white jadeite. The quality of the material, as well as the workmanship, determines the value. The finest jadeite, called imperial jade, is rare and expensive. A 9x12mm piece in a ring, for example, might be worth $100,000. (Click photo to enlarge)

This heron of carved ruby has 18k gold legs and beak. The piece stands 5-1/2” high, including its rock-crystal quartz base. It is the work of Gerhard Becker of Idar-Oberstein, Germany, and sells for $6,500. For more than 500 years Idar-Oberstein has been known worldwide for its rich tradition in fine gem-cutting. (Click photo to enlarge)

Cutters hone their craftsmanship through years of training and apprenticeship. Gem connoisseurs go to the Intergem fair in Idar-Oberstein each year to see and acquire some of the most extraordinary gem pieces in the world. The work produced in this region is considered to be superior in every way.

So Where’s the Jewelry?

Jewelry is defined as articles of personal adornment composed in whole or in part of silver, gold, platinum or other precious metals or alloys. The items shown here are obviously not objects for personal adornment. They are clearly works of art, so what have they got to do with jewelry?

Like jewelry, these items would most likely be insured under a Personal Articles Floater. The PAF is sometimes called a jewelry floater—but this shorthand term may lead you to overlook the policy’s broader purpose.

The PAF policy was developed in 1953. Well into the sixties, insurance journals carried discussions of what exactly would be covered in a PAF.

The classes originally covered by the PAF were jewelry and furs, fine arts, cameras, golfer’s equipment, musical instruments, silverware, stamps and coins.

Today the list has expanded to include other sporting equipment, artificial eyes and limbs, hearing aids and medical devices, chain saws and hand tools, collectibles, bicycles, computers and cell phones.

Insuring Fine Art at the Jewelry Rate

Jewelry is by far the largest property class insured under PAF. Insurance regulations state that certain items other than articles for personal adornment may be insured at the jewelry rate.

Small works of art, unlike a bulky statue or painting, are particularly vulnerable to theft because (like jewelry) they are highly valuable and easily portable. These pieces would still be classified as fine art, but you would rate the risk as though they were jewelry, rather than using the much lower rate for fine art.


Appraising such pieces requires expertise beyond that of the average graduate gemologist. You should get an appraisal from someone who deals in such objects, who can judge the craftsmanship, who recognizes the work of various producers, and who knows the market.

For pieces that are unique and irreplaceable, consider writing a valued contract.


The pieces discussed in the article are all unique (except the Faberge egg, which is from a limited edition of 75). If a unique piece is a total loss, you have few options other than issuing a check.

If a unique piece is damaged, have it examined by an expert. Some kinds of damage can be repaired. In some cases, the piece would lose value if repaired. Only an expert can make this call.

Even if you pay it as a total loss, always take possession of the salvage. You may be able to have the piece repaired, then sell it. Or you may offer it for sale to an expert, who will assume the risk, repair it. and sell it for his own profit. Or the piece may be irreparably damaged but have component gems or metals that still have value.

If a piece has sentimental value, you could (after paying for a total loss) offer to return the damaged piece to the insured for a determined recovery amount. The amount may be little more than the material’s scrap price, but the transaction will gain the policyholder’s good will. Be sure to have an expert establish a fair as-is price.













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