Consumer Jewelry FAQs
More jewelry is being purchased today than ever before, and something new in jewelry comes along regularly. The best thing a jewelry customer can do is to become self-educated about jewelry and the jewelry industry.
Unlike many industries, the jewelry and appraisal industry is unregulated, which means that buyers need to beware. Yes, jewelers and appraisers are represented by various professional organizations, but each has its own membership requirements, credentialing processes, training requirements, and professional standards.
A few things to be aware of…
- take time to get to know a jeweler you can trust
- be aware that not all jewelry is made of natural gemstones; many are synthetic
- if gemstones have been treated in any way, that information should be disclosed
- be cautious of sales and huge discounts, especially when accompanied by inflated appraisals
- be especially cautious about purchasing jewelry sight unseen, e.g., via the Internet, TV, eBay
- be wary of jeweler-provided "feel-good" appraisals (showing a value of considerably more than you paid). Consider an independent, third-party appraisal from a trained graduate gemologist
First, we suggest you pay for jewelry purchases by credit card, which makes returns and refunds easier. And, budget an extra $100 or so for an independent appraisal. That way, you'll know you are getting what you paid for.
Have your jewelry purchase appraised by an independent, third-party appraiser who has no interest in the sale of the jewelry. A jewelry appraisal is a written document that attests to the jewelry's characteristics, qualities, and value, which are determined through objective scientific analysis. Avoid appraisers that charge for their services based on a percentage of the jewelry's value. A reputable appraiser charges a fee that you will know before the appraisal is prepared.
When possible, you should have a sales receipt and an appraisal and photo. In the case of older jewelry or gifts that do not have accompanying paperwork, we recommend getting a written appraisal.
If you don't have a photo, your JIBNA agent can help you obtain one.
Ideally, the appraisal should be prepared by a Certified Insurance Appraiser™ (CIA) using a JISO 78/79 form. If there is no CIA in your area, at least be sure the appraiser is a professionally trained gemologist (GG, CG, FGA or equivalent) who uses gem lab equipment and will record the gemological data on a JISO 806 form. While JIBNA doesn't require this, it's best for your protection.
The more information you have the better. Provide any documentation you may have, such as a GIA Diamond Report, certificates, photos, etc.
JIBNA provides significant premium savings when appraisals conform to JISO standards. Additional premium credits apply if the preparer is also a Certified Insurance Appraiser ™.
Yes, antique jewelry can be insured so long as its characteristics, qualities, and value can be determined. If there are no records or adequate documentation available that provide such information, an appraisal will likely be necessary.
Becoming educated about jewelry is your best protection against a jewelry scam. Recognize that buying jewelry is a “buyer beware” proposition, and various consumer protections can vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction or not exist at all.
The general advice that says “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” is especially relevant considering the number of sales and huge discounts that are advertised. Fine watches seem to be particularly prone to scams, though many Internet sources freely admit to offering low-cost replicas. Remember, most watch manufacturers warrant their products only if purchased through an authorized dealer.
Reputable sales outlets should have appropriate information about the jewelry they offer. Check it out. If they do not and/or are reluctant to provide it, we urge caution.