January 2005

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

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

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

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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The Lure of Colored Diamonds

The vast majority of diamonds in nature are colorless or near-colorless. Until recently, most people weren’t even aware that colored diamonds exist. Technology is changing that.

Intensely colored diamonds, called fancies, used to be the preserve of only the very rich. Diamonds in vivid blues, greens, yellows, pinks, even purples, are extremely rare in nature and priced accordingly. Typical customers for such stones were informed consumers, collectors of diamonds, who knew what they wanted and where to seek it.


The world-famous Hope Diamond

These days, colored diamonds are carried by more retailers and in a much wider price range. This is due to two developments: new treatments to change the color of diamond, and the manufacture of synthetic diamond. This issue of Jewelry Insurance Issues deals with improving the color of existing diamonds; next month we’ll discuss synthesizing fancy colored diamonds.

From Plain to Fancy

To produce a vividly colored diamond, technicians usually begin with a slightly tinted diamond, a diamond that is yellowish or brownish, and would not be appealing as a colorless diamond. They subject the diamond to one or more treatments to alter its color.



Irradiation

Irradiated blue diamond

Experiments using irradiation to change diamond’s color began in the early 1900s. The early process produced some good colors but left the gems strongly radioactive for years — not an agreeable trade-off! Current methods, which must meet stringent U.S. safety standards, leave no residual radioactivity.

Irradiation produces green and blue colors, and additional treatments can create yellows, oranges, and reds. The colors are attractive, but there is some question about their permanency. Irradiated diamonds are guaranteed to survive “normal, everyday wear and tear,” but the color may change when the stone is exposed to high heat, such as produced by a jeweler’s torch when he is setting the stone. Irradiated blue stones typically become yellowish green when subjected to such heat, and this change is irreversible.

The irradiation treatment can be detected by a jeweler using gem lab equipment.

HPHT

High pressure high temperature (HPHT) is a more recent option for coloring diamonds. This process is used both to de-colorize off-color diamonds (change a diamond from H to F, for example) and to add rich colors. HPHT costs more than irradiation, but it produces colors that are stable even under intense heat.

A variety of tests have shown the HPHT color treatment to be permanent.



Natural fancies (not color-enhanced)

Disclosure vs. Marketing

Many jewelry industry professionals are wary because the HPHT treatment is not as easy to recognize as irradiation. Here, detection requires advanced testing with instruments beyond what would be found in the average jeweler’s lab. It’s possible that HPHT-treated diamonds could pass as natural fancies in the marketplace, with consumers and even retailers being fooled and overcharged.

From the standpoint of consumers, jewelry retailers and insurers, disclosure of the treatment is crucial. Some manufacturers, though, are reluctant to have the process seen as a treatment (requiring disclosure).

Bellataire, for example, uses an HPHT process developed by General Electric. Bellataire markets each treated gem as “a gift of nature, restored by man to its intrinsic beauty.” The story on its brochure is that these diamonds began perfect and colorless but during their “turbulent journey through the earth’s crust” were “subjected to volcanic forces that disguised their essential beauty.” Bellataire thus claims a role comparable to that of an art restorer, returning these gems to their original state.

The company’s nod to disclosure is that all its HPHT-treated diamonds are laser-inscribed on the girdle with the names GE-POL and Bellataire. (The Gemological Institute of America will not grade/certify an HPHT-treated diamond unless the girdle is laser-inscribed.) However, when a stone is in a setting, an inscription on the stone’s girdle is not visible. In any case, laser-inscriptions can be easily removed.


Laser inscription on color-treated stone

Color-enhanced fancy colored diamonds may be a good buy, but the treatment should be disclosed. Customers less familiar with shopping for gems may go to an untrained or untrustworthy retailer or may be attracted to a “bargain” that they have no way of evaluating. The insurer must be sure the appraisal for a fancy colored diamond specifically describes the stone, including treatments, so its value can be verified.

FOR AGENTS & UNDERWRITERS

For fancy colored diamonds, a price that is “too good to be true” is a major red flag. Do ITV (insurance to value) calculations to check for a major discrepancy between the purchase price and replacement cost. JEMs software makes ITV calculations easy and guards against fraud.

Be sure the appraisal for a fancy colored diamond

Always insist on two appraisals when insuring a fancy colored diamond. At least one should be written by a jeweler who is a Graduate Gemologist and a Certified Insurance Appraiser™.

A fancy should have a GIA Gem Trade Lab report (diamond certificate).

Irradiation and HPHT are treatments that produce color in diamonds. However, the difference in value is huge between a natural fancy and one whose color comes from such treatments.

Be aware that color produced by irradiation may change if the stone is subjected to high heat, as by a jeweler’s torch .

FOR ADJUSTERS

If the appraisal was not written on ACORD 78/79, use ACORD 18 to verify that all necessary information was given on the appraisal.

For fancy colored diamonds, a price that is “too good to be true” is a major red flag. Do ITV (insurance to value) calculations to check for a major discrepancy between the purchase price and replacement cost. JEMs software makes ITV calculations easy and guards against fraud.

In settling claims for fancy colored diamonds, be wary — especially if

If any of the above apply, it may be useful to consult a jewelry insurance expert before settling the claim. The expert, working on your behalf, can help determine whether the valuation is accurate.

 

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