June 2007

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


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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Appraisal Puff-Up vs. a Useful Appraisal

A good, hefty appraisal is what you need! The more information, the better! It shows the appraiser has really done his job!

— Don't be fooled. A fat document could be just another case of Appraisal Puff-Up.

Some appraisals don't just describe the jewelry, they help sell it. Or they help the buyer feel good for having bought it. Or they make a good impression while holding back important information.

There are many ways to create an impressive-looking appraisal.

1. The Framable Appraisal

Certified AppraisalEasiest is to put a border on the page. This makes the document look official and important. Some are quite fancy and even seem suitable for framing, but that doesn't mean they're reliable. This appraisal form, for example, calls the appraisal "certified," though there is no such thing. The value of the appraisal depends on completeness and accuracy of content. For insurance purposes, an impressive look is irrelevant.

2. The Tightly-Packed Narrative

tightly packed narrative appraisalAnother common practice is the "narrative" description. The customer can read the sentences, though not necessarily understand the content. The paragraph is densely packed with data and abbreviations, giving the impression that all important details are there.

Usually, they're not. This appraisal, for example, gives the emerald's hue, but omits any mention of tone and saturation. Since the major determinant of an emerald's value is its color, the three components of color — hue, tone and saturation — should be given in precise gemological language.

The narrative style may camouflage the fact that information is omitted. It also makes the adjuster's job all the more difficult, because he has to "unpack" the jewelry's description in order to price a replacement.

3. More Than You Need to Know

A third puff-up is to include a lot of irrelevant information. Sometimes many pages of irrelevant information. We recently encountered an appraisal that was seven pages long — for a single ring!

That appraisal used a whole separate cover page to state that this was an insurance replacement cost document. One page of the bundle gave the ring's description and valuation (this actually constitutes the appraisal). Another page repeated some of the description in another format and reproduced the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) clarity and color grading scales. One page was devoted to proportion information related to round brilliant diamonds — though the diamond being appraised was not round brilliant. Another page compared the GIA and AGS (American Gemological society) systems for grading cut; again, these grading systems are for round brilliants and therefore were irrelevant to this appraisal. Finally there was a full page on the appraiser's background, down to the college undergraduate degree.

This is much more than we need. Most pages of this appraisal were just boiler-plate padding, irrelevant to the jewelry being appraised. They were empty bulk.

4. The Look of a Lab

Appraisal-looking documents (whether or not they're actually called appraisals) can appear impressive when issued by gemological labs. However, not all labs are reliable, and some are notorious for inflating valuations.

Check appraisal documents for lines like "these values are not for investment purposes, nor are they an endorsement of the price you should pay." Such statements may mean that the valuations have no real-world basis.

In general, be wary of something called a "certificate" or "report" that carries a valuation, for the valuation is likely to be inflated. Reliable labs, such as GIA  and AGS, issue diamond reports that authoritatively describe (or grade) the gem but do not carry valuations.
See Inflated Valuations & Questionable Certificates for a detailed discussion of the pitfalls of diamond certificates from unreliable labs.

The USEFUL Appraisal: JISO 78/79

JISO 78A good appraisal for insurance may not be fancy, verbose or visually impressive, but it makes the insurer's job easier. It serves the task at hand, without useless and misleading frills.

The JISO 78/79 appraisal was designed specifically for insurance purposes. It

If there is no CIA in your area, an alternative is to recommend JISO 806, Jewelry Document for Insurance Purposes. This can be completed by any jeweler, preferably by a Graduate Gemologist. Follow this link to Locate Graduate Gemologists in your area.


A JCRS survey revealed that 78% of jewelry appraisals submitted to insurers are written by jewelers with NO gemological training. Don't be misled by the appraisal's appearance. For high-priced jewelry, be sure you have an appraisal from a Graduate Gemologist, preferably a CIA™.

Be especially wary of diamond "certificates" or "reports" from labs other than the respected GIA and AGS. They are often supplied by the seller and carry inflated valuations to make the customer feel good.

Although GIA and AGS diamond reports, or certificates, are useful documents, they are not substitutes for an appraisal. (Diamond reports describe only the gem, not the jewelry as a whole, and they do not give valuation.)

If you suspect an inflated valuation, recommend getting an additional appraisal prepared by a Graduate Gemologist, preferably a CIA™.  Remind clients that an inflated valuation does not change the actual value of the jewelry.


Your job is easier if you are dealing with a JISO 78/79 Jewelry Appraisal or JISO 806 Jewelry Document for Insurance Purposes or JISO 805 Sales Receipt, since they will give complete information in a standardized format.

If one of the above is not available, use JISO 18 to analyze data from the documents you have. This is especially helpful if you're faced with a "narrative" appraisal. JISO 18 allows you to order the information from other documents in a useful way and see what details may be missing.

Use the appraisal's descriptive data, rather than its valuation, to price a replacement.


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