June 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


What's a Certified Appraiser? - January

Best Appraiser Credentials - February

Are the diamonds you’re insuring real? - March

Handwritten Appraisals - April

Internet tips for jewelry insurers - May

De Beers will sell lab-grown diamonds - June

Do genuine gemstones break? - July

Luxury Watches - August

Who owns the ring? - September


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

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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WHITE GOLD: How White Is White?

White gold is all the fashion, but what is it exactly? How white is it, and does it stay white?

The 3 Precious "Whites"

The three precious metals, platinum, silver and white gold, are all "white." But there are differences between them.

Silver is the whitest of the precious metals and the most lustrous. It is also the least expensive, currently selling for about $7 a troy ounce. Silver's major drawbacks are that it is softer and less durable than the other two precious metals, and that it tarnishes.

Platinum, also white in color, is a much harder, denser material. Though more difficult to fabricate due to its high melting point, it provides an ideal material for securely setting expensive stones. However, platinum is also far more costly, currently priced at approximately $900 per troy ounce.

Falling between the two in price is gold — which is basically yellow. White gold was developed in the 1920s as a substitute for the more expensive platinum. Gold currently sells for about $400 per troy ounce.

Making Gold White

Jewelry made of white metal is the current fashion, so white gold has become popular. But gold jewelry is available in many other colors, such as green, pink, and even blue. These various colors (including yellow and white) are determined by alloys, metals added to strengthen the gold and make it more suitable for jewelry.

White gold has traditionally been created by adding copper, nickel and zinc, all inexpensive alloys. Varying the amount of these ingredients produces different shades of white. Manufacturers of jewelry often add a coating of rhodium to the finished piece to make its off-white color appear white.

But: as the rhodium wears off, the jewelry appears to be turning yellow. "I've had people throw rings at me across the counter," said one jewelry retailer of her more irate customers. Many buyers aren't told that maintenance of their white gold jewelry means getting it replated every year or so.

An alternative recipe for producing white gold calls for alloying it with copper, silver and palladium. These alloys are more expensive than nickel and zinc, but they produce a whiter white, so the jewelry doesn't need to be plated with rhodium.

click for larger image

A "whiter white"? The jewelry industry recently completed a chart comparing shades of white gold, as a move toward developing a standard classification system and reference tool. The chart is based completely on appearance (rather than on, say, the alloys used). The idea is that retailers can specify whiteness grade when they order jewelry.

Only the top two grades are considered white enough not to require rhodium plating. Customers buying a less expensive white gold, which has been rhodium-plated, should be warned that their jewelry needs replating every year or so. In many cases, they are not. The jeweler is reluctant to disclose this hidden cost (replating) of the less expensive white gold.

What Determines Gold Jewelry's Value?

"White gold" on an appraisal is descriptive. It says nothing about quality. White gold jewelry is not necessarily more or less valuable than yellow gold.

When valuing gold jewelry, the appraiser considers the following qualities, all of which should appear on the appraisal:

Karatage. The value of gold — white, yellow or any other color — derives from its karatage. The term karat is used to express the purity of gold when it is alloyed. Each karat represents 1/24 of pure gold. Thus, the gold content of an 18 kt jewelry item is 18/24 (or 75%) pure gold. The rest is alloy. This is why 18 kt gold is worth more than 14 kt gold.

Under U.S. law, jewelry that is called "gold" or "karat gold" must be at least 10 kt gold. Buyers and insurers should be suspicious of any jewelry described as gold that is not stamped with the karatage.

Trademark. Federal law also requires that any jewelry stamped with karatage (such as "14 kt") also bear the manufacturer's trademark or hallmark. (See the law.) The manufacturer's mark usually appears as a symbol, rather than a name, due to limited space on jewelry items. These marks can be quite mysterious and esoteric, but the jewelry appraisal and sales receipt should list the manufacturer's full name (as opposed to describing the trademark symbol).

Examples (click to enlarge):

USA trademark for Jabel

European trademark firm
Carrera y Carrera
(750 is the purity
which is the same as 18 karat)

USA trademark for Jones and Woodland, a division of Krementz & Co

Workmanship. Most jewelry today is machine-processed in some way. Expect to see on the appraisal the jewelry's workmanship, using terms such as cast, die-struck, cast & hand assembled, machine-made or, in rarer instances, handmade.

Weight. The amount of gold used is also crucial. Two gold chains of the same karatage and workmanship will vary significantly in price if one weighs 8 grams and the other 20 grams. Jewelry worn on the wrist or hand, such as a ring or bracelet, takes a lot of abuse in everyday wear; such a piece should have some weight to it, for practical reasons as well as for value.

Many jewelry retailers are not willing to reveal the weight of gold jewelry, most likely to prevent comparison shopping. They may even say they have no scale. The customer should insist on knowing the weight, as this is important to valuation. And the weight should be listed on the appraisal.


An appraisal for any jewelry containing gold should include

  • karatage
  • manufacturer
  • style number
  • workmanship
  • weight

Be suspicious if jewelry is called "gold" but the manufacturer's name is not given on the appraisal. Jewelry stamped with karatage must, by law, bear the manufacturer's trademark. The appraiser should list the owner of that trademark (that is, the manufacturer) on the appraisal.

You might point out to a policyholder that the law requiring the manufacturer's identity is for the customer's protection. If the jewelry does not bear the manufacturer's trademark, there is reason to be suspicious of the stated karatage (since no one is taking responsibility for the truth of the karatage marking). If the jewelry bears a trademark but the jeweler is reluctant to disclose the owner of the mark, the customer might suspect an inflated price (because without knowing the manufacturer, the customer cannot comparison shop).

For a detailed appraisal, it is best to rely on the insurance industry's standard Jewelry Appraisal form (ACORD 78/79), written by a Certified Insurance Appraiser™.


If the appraisal is not on the insurance industry's standard Jewelry Appraisal form (ACORD 78/79), use Jewelry Appraisal and Claim Evaluation (ACORD 18) to check that all necessary information is given.

If there is inadequate information on file, perhaps a poor appraisal or merely a sales receipt, a jewelry insurance expert may be consulted before settling the claim.

Note: A rhodium coating that wears off is considered normal wear and tear, for which the insurer is not liable.


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