October 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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Antiques, Replicas and All Their Cousins

Old style jewelry is the latest fashion. Estate jewelry…
vintage…. antique… period… retro… deco –
these are some of the terms that set the mood.
How important are such terms when it comes to valuation?

What the Terms Mean

Because old-style jewelry is so fashionable, romantic buzzwords abound. Some of the terms are descriptive, others just create emotional appeal.

Antique is the most definable. Jewelry that is at least 100 years old may be called antique. In some realms this specificity of date is important. For example, jewelry more than 100 years old can be brought into the United States (and various other countries) duty-free.

Estate jewelry really just means property left in someone’s will. Some jewelers specialize in estate jewelry, recognizing and buying only fine-quality pieces. Certainly not all estate jewelry is valuable (or even old), but occasionally jewelry’s provenance does dramatically heighten its value, as when pieces from the estate of the Duchess of Windsor fetched high prices at Sotheby’s.

In the marketplace, however, the term “estate” jewelry is often used merely as a romantic substitute for “previously owned.” It is meant to imply quality. The phrase suggests that the jewelry is old (which isn’t necessarily true), and then plays on the popular notion that old jewelry is valuable by definition. Some jewelers have even been known to take stock that isn’t selling and move it into the “estate jewelry” case to increase sales.

Many jewelers avoid the phrase “estate jewelry” altogether and prefer to describe jewelry by its style.

Vintage or period jewelry is associated with the aesthetics and design style of a particular period, such as Victorian or Art Nouveau. Jewelry sales often follow trends in popular culture. The release of the movie “Titanic” in 1997, for example, has brought about increased interest in Edwardian and Art Deco jewelry.

Reproductions of jewelry from other periods are also in great demand. Many are skillfully made, using quality materials, and are sold as reproductions done in the style of a particular period. It is important that reproductions be so identified and not passed off as period jewelry.

Authentication & Valuation

Authenticating antique and period jewelry takes special skill and experience. The jeweler must determine whether a piece is from an earlier period or has simply been made to look old.

The appraising jeweler must know what to expect from each historical period—what metals and alloys were available or commonly used, what shapes were popular for stones and how the stone-cutting was done. Every period has its personality, and the jeweler must be familiar with subtle details and nuances of style. He must know the importance of a particular provenance and be able to distinguish an authentic signature from a fake one.

“It’s a minefield out there,” said one expert. “More and more jewelers are getting better and better at knocking off the old pieces in very subtle ways…. They’ve learned to cut the stones so they look asymmetrical and old and beat up. They’ve learned to work the metals so they have a patina and age to them.”

Buyers — jewelers as well as individual purchasers — must always be wary. One jeweler pointed out that auction catalogs from 50 years ago would say a piece of jewelery was “by Tiffany” or “by Cartier.” Now the catalogs say “signed Tiffany” or “signed Cartier,” indicating that a signature is present but the auction house isn’t necessarily saying the piece is genuine.

Copies and imitations of period jewelry are being made in centers all over the world. Some are of high quality and workmanship, advertised and sold as reproductions. However, after a year or two on the market, such pieces may no longer be identified as reproductions but be passed off as genuine period jewelry.

The number of out-and-out fakes is at an all-time high. Technological advances allow treating stones and imitating metal patinas as never before. Scammers even use auction catalogs to find models of jewelry to copy.

Further muddying the waters are altered pieces and the so-called “put-together” pieces. An old brooch may have some new stones. A long necklace may have been shortened for a more fashionable look. Even replacement of a clasp can ruin the authenticity of a fine piece and lower its value.

Elise B. Misiorowski, museum director of the Gemological Institute of America, says that dealing with antique and period jewelry requires “forensic jewelry history. You have to be proficient with a loupe and you have to know what you’re looking at.”

Is Older More Valuable?

Many people assume that old jewelry is by definition valuable. This is not necessarily the case. A piece may have no redeeming qualities except that it has lasted for 150 years.

The value of a piece of jewelry depends upon the intrinsic value of the materials, the quality of the craftsmanship, and the market’s demand. In jewelry, as of other things, styles go in and out of fashion. Even a good quality piece can lose value if its style is no longer considered appealing — that is, if the jewelry is not salable.

Accurate valuation of period jewelry can be made only by a jeweler/ appraiser who regularly handles such jewelry, who knows the market for such pieces, and who can recognize alterations, reproductions and fakes.

Even experts often depend on independent grading from major labs when purchasing estate jewelry. Ralph Esmerian, considered a gem dealer’s gem dealer, recommends American Gemological Laboratories for colored gemstones and the Gemological Institute of America for diamonds.


Beware of important-sounding words on an appraisal that say nothing about quality. “Antique” only means the piece is at least 100 years old. Do not take it to mean unique or valuable.

Terms like “Victorian,” “Edwardian,” “Art Deco,” etc., describe the style of a period. They say nothing about value.

A contemporary piece in the style of an earlier period should be so described, so it is not confused with jewelry made during that period.

For all jewelry, old or contemporary, encourage the policyholder to submit the insurance industry’s standard Jewelry Appraisal (ACORD 78/79), written by a Certified Insurance Appraiser™.

Autheticating and valuing antique and period jewelry requires skill and experience. Be sure the appraiser is a jeweler who regularly deals in such jewelry, one who is familiar with the pricing in this specialized market and alert to its scams.

Be sure the appraisal includes a picture of the jewelry. This can be invaluable in the event of a loss. A sales receipt is also very useful.

If the jewelry is insured under a valued contract, consider having independent verification of the age or period of the piece and its valuation.


Scrutinize the appraisal. Investigate the appraiser’s qualifications. Remember that appraising period jewelry requires an expertise beyond that of most jewelers dealing in contemporary pieces.

Compare the appraisal’s valuation with the sales receipt. If the jewelry is an heirloom, request additional documentation. Don’t take a statement about inheritance at face value. Just because jewelry is old, that doesn’t mean there is no paper trail.

Look at the photo. Refer to auction catalogs or public auction sites for similar jewelry to verify the valuation.

Consider using a jewelry insurance expert’s help in settling the claim, to avoid overpayments on antique and period jewelry of high value.

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