November 2006

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

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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Where do real diamonds come from?

            1. earth
            2  meteorites
            3. gem-growing labs
            4. all of the above

Today's diamonds come from two sources — the earth and gem-growing labs. (Some meteorites are moissonite.) In October the GIA announced that next year it would begin grading synthetic, or lab-grown, diamonds. The announcement came after a stirring summer, during which the lab heard from interested parties on all sides of the issue. The resulting GIA Lab Report is a major plus for consumers and insurers.

More and more diamond growers are turning out synthetic diamonds. Each year quality improves, prices go down, and more jewelry is decked out partially or completely with man-made gems.

Man-made diamonds have been in a sort of limbo as to their status. For years the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), the premier diamond grading authority, refused to consider lab-grown diamonds. Thus, only natural (mined) diamond could gain a GIA Diamond Report.

Manufacturers have argued that it would benefit consumers to have a disinterested authority like the GIA grade man-made diamonds, as well as natural ones.  Lab-grown diamonds are real diamonds, with the same composition and physical properties as mined diamonds. They deserve GIA reports and the legitimacy that these reports confer.

That Old "Synthetic" Problem

Diamond growers welcomed the promise of a GIA report but objected to calling lab-grown diamonds synthetic. The average consumer equates synthetic with fake, they said.  Why not use terms more readily understood by the public, such as created, lab-grown, cultured, or even man-made?

Man-made diamonds have been around since the 1950s, when General Electric gained patents for industrial-quality diamonds. Only in the last ten years have growers been able to produce gem-quality diamonds economically enough to compete in the jewelry market.

While gem-quality synthetic diamonds are a fairly recent development, the issue of nomenclature has been playing itself out in the marketplace with other lab-made gems for decades. Mikimoto's cultured pearls are now the norm for fine quality, and Chatham created emeralds are highly regarded gems. Their success is perhaps partly due to not being burdened by the word synthetic.

Initially the GIA announced that it would inscribe the word "synthetic"on every synthetic diamond it graded. This was an additional affront. The more prestigious manufacturers, such as Gemesis and Chatham, already inscribe the girdle of their gems with "created" or "lab-grown," along with the company name.  Tom Chatham called the GIA's proposed inscription "a thinly veiled attempt to suppress the public's understanding of what these products truly are: diamonds."

Meanwhile, suppliers of natural (mined) diamonds supported using the word synthetic on the reports, rather than a term like lab-grown or cultured. Since synthetic diamonds generally sell for less than 10 per cent the price of natural diamonds, maintaining a strong distinction between natural and synthetic is important to their business.

GIA's Report

After hearing from all interested parties, GIA announced that it would begin issuing diamond reports for synthetic diamonds in 2007. The reports — still being designed in October — will look different from reports for naturals and will bear a distinctive yellow stripe. But they will provide a description of color, clarity, carat weight and cut information, as for natural diamonds.

Further, GIA will inscribe "laboratory grown" on lab-made diamonds that do not already have an inscription with Federal Trade Commission-approved language. (Such language includes terms like man-made, laboratory grown, and brand names such as Chatham created.)

GIA Chairman Ralph Destina said that ensuring consumer confidence and avoiding consumer confusion were the GIA's overriding concerns in designing the new report.

FOR AGENTS & UNDERWRITERS

A diamond report, whether for a natural or a synthetic gem, is not a substitute for an appraisal.

Because the price difference between natural and synthetic diamonds is immense, insist on an appraisal that states whether the stone is natural or synthetic.

Never assume a diamond is natural just because the appraisal does not mention synthetic.

Synthetic diamonds are difficult to detect.  Laser inscriptions on the girdle may be concealed when the stone is in a setting. Improperly trained (or dishonest) retailers and appraisers may pass on synthetic diamonds as naturals.

It is important to have a JISO 78/79 (formerly ACORD 78/79) appraisal from a competent and experienced jeweler who is a Graduate Gemologist (GG) and a Certified Insurance Appraiser™ (CIA).

Not all diamond certificates come from respected authorities in diamond grading (see Spotting a Bogus Appraisal).

Certificates given by the seller are basically sales tools, not documents for insuring jewelry. Their valuations may be grossly exaggerated (see Big Box Retailers).

FOR ADJUSTERS

The price difference between natural and synthetic diamond is immense. An overpayment could run to tens of thousands of dollars or more.

If the appraisal does not explicitly state the diamond is natural, use every means possible to determine whether it is natural or synthetic. Be sure to scrutinize the appraisal and sales receipt. If the sale price is too good to be true, the gem is probably a synthetic or a simulant (such as cubic zirconium).

On a damage claim for a high-priced diamond, always have the piece examined by a qualified gemologist, such as a Certified Insurance Appraiser™, to determine whether the diamond is natural or synthetic (and to be sure its qualities are as stated in the appraisal).

Inspect the appraisal for terms that mean synthetic, such as grown, created, lab-made, and cultured.

Makers of synthetic diamonds use their names to market their products. Recognizing these names, or working with a jewelry insurance expert who does, could save you tens of thousands of dollars on a claim.

 

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