December 2009

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


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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What’s So Great about JISO Appraisal Forms & Standards?

There was a time when people thought valuation was the only necessary thing on a jewelry appraisal. There was a time when insurers couldn’t do much about bad appraisals so they just accepted whatever was submitted.

To quote Bob Dylan, the times they are a-changing.

JISO has played a major role in making this happen.

JISO is a non-profit organization established to serve the insurance industry by maintaining the integrity of jewelry insurance standards. Here’s a look at those standards and how they’ve improved the quality and ease of insuring jewelry.

Insurers know that valuation is not the most important thing on the appraisal. Valuations can be inflated (as we’ve discussed in a number of newsletters), and valuations change over time.

What’s necessary is a detailed description of the jewelry, prepared by a trained professional. This detailed information and proper training have been woefully lacking in jewelry appraisals submitted to insurers, as these charts from an insurance survey show.

Information Given on Insurance Appraisals
(Data from insurance industry survey)


JISO standards hold that a crucial part of a jewelry appraisal for insurance is a detailed description of the jewelry.

The purpose of the appraisal is to describe the jewelry item in such detail as to adequately distinguish it from other similar types of jewelry, verify its condition, and assign it a reasonable value as of the date appraised.

This kind of appraisal is useful to an adjuster. A complete description of the jewelry enables any competent and experienced jeweler/appraiser to determine the jewelry’s value at time of loss.

Can you trust the jeweler/appraiser?

Even a very slight difference in a gem’s quality can mean a huge difference in value, so the skill (and honesty) of the appraiser makes a big difference at settlement time.

Many jewelry retailers are untrained in gemology. Many do not examine the gems they sell but base their appraisals on the gem supplier’s word. Even in New York’s Diamond District there were jewelers who mistook a diamond simulant (imitation diamond) for the real thing. The startling fact is that literally anyone can hang up a shingle as a jeweler or appraiser.

The vast majority of appraisals submitted to insurers come from jewelers with no gemological training. It’s not surprising that such appraisals are incomplete and lacking in descriptive detail.

JISO standards hold that the most reliable jewelry appraisals come from Graduate Gemologists who have additional training as Certified Insurance Appraisers™ (CIA).

A Graduate Gemologist is a graduate from the Gemological Institute of America. Jewelers who have this degree usually write GG after their names.

A Certified Insurance Appraiser™ is a GG who has had additional training in appraising jewelry for insurance purposes. This course focuses on how jewelry is insured and what information insurers need on an appraisal.

JISO publishes appraisal forms in a standardized, easy-to-follow format.

JISO facilitates detailed appraisals by publishing forms that prompt the appraiser for all necessary descriptive information, so nothing is left out. The information is presented in an easy-to-read format, so agents and underwriters can easily see that the details have been filled in.

Insurers need not understand jewelry terms or judge whether the information is accurate. Accurate information is the jeweler/appraiser’s domain; insurers need only look at the standardized format to see that the information is given.



JISO 806


With an appraisal on a JISO 78/79 form, insurers and their clients know that

An additional benefit to consumers is that at least one major national jewelry insurer (JIBNA) offers significant discounts for appraisals written on JISO forms.

If there is no CIA in the area, JISO 806, Jewelry Document for Insurance Purposes, can be filled out by any jeweler. This form also guides the jeweler/appraiser in providing essential descriptive content useful for insuring jewelry.

JISO 18 is an Appraisal and Claim Evaluation form uniquely useful to insurers who are dealing with a non-JISO appraisal. An insurer can transfer details from the non-JISO appraisal onto JISO 18’s standardized format and easily see whether all necessary information is present.

Typical Appraisal
JISA 18 form

A typical appraisal

Information from that appraisal entered onto JISO 18


In this example, the yellow highlighting shows what information essential to accurate valuation is missing from the appraisal.

The highlighted form provides a graphic representation of an appraisal’s completeness. An agent or underwriter can use JISO 18 to show clients what information is lacking on their appraisal. If too many details are missing, this is a persuasive argument for getting a more complete appraisal (preferably on JISO 78/79).

An adjuster can put onto JISO 18 descriptive information from various documents, such as appraisals, sales receipt, diamond certificates, colored gem reports, etc., to create one reference document with the fullest description of the jewelry possible. Detailed information recorded here can be used to price a replacement.

All JISO forms are available free of charge to jewelers, insurers and consumers at

The JISO forms make it easier for agents to ask for, and jewelers to write, the kind of appraisals insurers find useful. JISO forms make the adjuster’s job easier. Agents can use the JISO forms as a vehicle to make jewelry insurance more comprehensible to consumers. And policyholders have a record of the exact qualities of the jewelry they have insured.


JISO 78/79 appraisals give the most detailed and reliable information.

JSIO 78/79 can be used only by a jeweler/appraiser who is a Graduate Gemologist and also trained as a Certified Insurance Appraiser™ (CIA). Consumers can go to the JCRS website to find a CIA in their area.

If there is no CIA in the area, suggest that clients take JISO 806 to any jeweler/appraiser. This form also prompts the appraiser for all details needed to properly insure jewelry.

Use JISO 18 to evaluate non-JISO appraisals for completeness.

All forms can be found at


Use JISO 18 to organize data from various documents, such as appraisals and diamond reports. If too much information is lacking and the valuation is substantial, consider consulting a jewelry insurance expert for help to avoid overpayment.

When pricing a replacement, use your JISO 18 evaluation. Do not give the replacement jeweler the appraisal valuation. Replacement quotes are generally 80-90% of the valuation, which may well be higher than retail if the valuation was inflated to begin with! You will get a more honest price if you have the jeweler submit a bid based on the jewelry’s description rather than on the appraisal valuation.

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