July 2017

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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GIA Diamond Reports

For a diamond lab report, GIA is the recognized authority. But wait—GIA has several "diamond certs," several lab reports with different names. What's that about?

GIA produces—take a breath—9 different diamond reports. Some reports are only for mined diamonds, some are only for lab-made diamonds, some are "paperless" (online) reports, some are for colored diamonds, some are only for stones in a particular size range. The different reports have different prices.

The difference between them is in how complete the information is.  Here's how it all breaks down.

GIA tests all stones to determine whether they are natural (mined) or synthetic (lab-grown). For lab-grown diamonds, the lab issues a Synthetic Diamond Report, so there is never any confusion. The lab also tests every submitted diamond for color and clarity treatments.

4 Reports for natural (mined) diamonds

Paper documents Online reports

Diamond Grading Report

Diamond eReport

Diamond Dossier® Diamond Focus™ Report


Diamond Grading Report – Insurers: this is the one to get

The Diamond Grading Report is GIA's most complete report. We'll look at its contents in some detail, and then briefly compare the other reports to this one.

This report is available on diamonds of 0.15+ carats—that is, virtually any diamond. It includes:

Carat weight
Stones are examined unmounted, so there's no approximating the weight.

Color grade

Clarity grade

Cut grade
This is only for round brilliant diamonds, for which the most attractive proportions have been established. A diagram gives the actual proportions of the diamond.

GIA grading scales for color, clarity and cut
Showing the grading scales allows the customer/insurer to see what the grade means. Other labs may use grading systems that are not widely recognized, so their grades are not useful. Even those that do use the GIA system may not show the grading scales.

Plotted clarity diagram
A diagram shows what kinds of inclusions are in the stone and where they are located.

Shape and cutting style


Polish & symmetry


Laser inscription - optional
Inscribing the stone with the GIA report number is useful for identifying the stone, but with this report the customer must pay extra.

If treatments are detected, that info is given under "Comments." It's unfortunate that this crucial information is tucked away here at the end, where it could go unnoticed, because color and clarity treatments can significantly lower the value of a diamond.

Diamond Dossier®

This report, with its fancy name and lower cost, is available only for diamonds of 0.15-1.99 carats. It carries most of the above information.

But it does not have a plotted clarity diagram. A plotted diagram is important because the location of an inclusion can seriously affect valuation. A flaw on the diamond's table, the top of the stone, is more serious than a deeper inclusion.

The Diamond Dossier, however, includes laser inscription of the GIA report number at no charge.

Diamond eReport

This is a "paperless" report presented online. It is for 0.15-2.99 carat diamonds and carries much the same info as the Diamond Grading Report.

It does not have the clarity diagram, though clarity characteristics are listed.

It does include a digital photograph of the stone. As you hover your cursor over the image, the stone is enlarged so you can see any inclusions. Someone knowledgeable about gems would be able to tell what kind of inclusions they are and where they are located.

The online report could be printed out, but the image accessibility would be lost. Since location of the inclusions could not be printed, we recommend that insurers require a Diamond Grading Report.

Diamond Focus Report -- Not acceptable for insurers

The Diamond Focus Report is another online report that could be printed out and submitted to an insurer. This report, for diamonds no larger than 0.39 carats, lacks important information.

It does not havea clarity diagram or cut proportions. Clarity and cut are essential for valuing a diamond. Since this report lacks both, we warn insurers not to regard a printout of this report as sufficient basis for coverage.


2 Colored Diamond Reports

Colored Diamond Grading
Colored Diamond Identification and Origin Report

Colored Diamond Grading Report

This report covers much the same information as the Diamond Grading Report for colorless diamonds, except:

It does not have cut grade (although cut is not as important for colored stones as for colorless diamonds)

The color grade is in words; the sample report describes color as Fancy Intense Blue. (This descriptive system is different from the tone-saturation-hue grading system GIA developed for colored gems, such as sapphire and emerald.) A diagram shows the color relationships.

It does include color origin and color distribution.  "Natural" means the stone has not been color-treated. If the report says "treated color," a Diamond Color Treatment letter can be requested (for an additional fee) to provide the specific color treatment method.

Laser inscription and a color photo of the gem are optional, requiring additional fees.

Colored Diamond Identification and Origin Report -- Not acceptable for insurers

This report, with its long title, actually gives less information than the one described above. Here there is only carat weight, stone measurements, color, and the determination as to color treatment.

It does not have a clarity grade or a plotted clarity diagram, and does not mention polish, symmetry or fluorescence.

Laser description and color image of the stone are optional.

This report is available for mounted, as well as unmounted, stones.

Important Note:  "Origin" in the name of this report refers to origin of the stone's color (this is, natural or the result of color treatment). In GIA's reports for other colored stones, such as ruby and sapphire, "origin" refers to the geographic origin of the stone. (For other colored gems, the location where the stone was mined may affect its qualities and value—for example, Burma ruby. For diamonds, whether colored or colorless, geographic origin does not affect the quality of the gem.)


3 reports on synthetic (lab-made) diamonds

Synthetic Diamond Grading

Synthetic Colored Diamond Grading

Synthetic Colored Diamond Identification Report

All three reports specifically identify the stone as Laboratory Grown.
In addition, the Comments area carries the sentence: "This is a man-made diamond and has been produced in a laboratory."

Synthetic Diamond Grading Report
(For colorless or near-colorless stones)

This report covers basically the same ground as the Diamond Grading Report for natural diamonds, described above, with the following exceptions:

Color and clarity of synthetic diamonds are described with real words (i.e., colorless, flawless), rather than the letter and number systems GIA developed for mined diamonds. The grading scales are shown in the report.

Synthetic Colored Diamond Grading Report
(for fancy colored synthetic diamonds)

The report is similar to the Colored Diamond Grading Report for mined diamonds, with the following exceptions:

For color grade, the report gives what GIA calls a "general color description," such as Fancy Yellow.

Clarity is described in words, such as flawless, very slightly included, etc. The grading scale is shown on the report.


Synthetic Colored Diamond Identification Report    --Not acceptable for insurers

The Identification Report is much briefer, listing shape, measurements, carat weight, general color description, inscriptions, and the comment about the stone being lab-made.  

It does not give clarity grade or a clarity diagram, cut grade, florescence, polish or symmetry

This report is available for mounted, as well as unmounted, stones. For mounted stones, it does not give carat weight.


2 Colored Stone Reports

Colored Stone Identification

Colored Stone Identification & Origin


The reports are basically the same except:

Colored Stone Identification Report

Will be done on "any material, any size"

Does not give geographic origin

Colored Stone Identification and Origin Report

Will be done only on ruby, sapphire, emerald, Paraiba tourmaline, and red spinel

Gives geographical origin "if origin can be determined and is applicable to the gemstone type"

Information and photos of reports in this issue are taken from the GIA website, which has detailed descriptions of their lab reports and services, as well as their fee structure.


GIA's reports for lab-made stones identify them in 3 places as synthetic, lab-grown or man-made. Other labs—and certainly many appraisals—may not be this careful. Lab-made diamonds have a significantly lower value than mined stones of the same quality.

You can check the validity of any GIA report you receive by going to the GIA site. GIA may change the appearance of their lab reports from time to time, but the report number is what you need.

For lab reports from other respected labs, follow these links: 

AGS Report Verification
GCAL Certificate Search
Gübelin Report Verification

The market is flooded with bogus certificates from less reliable labs and even from non-existent labs, with just a name on the doc but no address and no reputation. Be especially wary of certificates that have a valuation, as these are basically sales tools supplied by the seller. They often have exaggerated quality descriptions and inflated valuations.


If you are dealing with questionable appraisals or lab reports, use Jewelry Appraisal & Claim Evaluation JISO (formerly ACORD) 18 to organize descriptive data from the documents available.
For damage claims, always have the jewelry inspected in a gem lab by a trained gemologist (GG, FGA+ or equivalent), who is hired by the insurer, to verify the quality of the gem.


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