February 2010

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


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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Pink Diamonds: From Astronomical to Affordable

Vivid Pink DiamondJust last December a 5-carat diamond set world auction records by selling for the remarkable price of $10.7 million. That's $2.1 million per carat! What's so special about pink diamond?

A short answer is: scarcity. Natural pink diamonds are so rare, most jewelers will probably never see one.

Of the hundreds of thousands of diamonds graded each year by the Gemological Institute of America labs, only 5% are strongly saturated colors called fancies, and only a tiny fraction of those fancies are classified as pink.

Almost all those valued pinks come from one source, the Argyle diamond mine, located in a remote corner of Australia. Each year, a small number of the very best pink diamonds are offered in an exclusive sale known as the Argyle Pink Diamond Tender. For every million carats of rough pink diamonds produced by the mine, only one carat is of high enough quality to be offered for sale at the tender.

Pinks are pink because of their structure. Many fancy diamonds derive their color from impurities embedded in the gem material, but pinks get their coloration from a process known as plastic deformation. While the crystal is growing, intense pressure changes the lattice structure of the diamond, producing what we see as a spectrum of pinks, from pastels to deep purple-reds.

If pink diamonds are so rare, what are the chances that you will be called upon to insure one?

The key here is that natural pink fancies are rare and ferociously expensive. But thanks to technology, even consumers who are not royalty or gem investors or billionaire celebrities can own pink diamond jewelry and want to insure it.

Color-Enhanced Diamonds

Various enhancement techniques are used to make pink diamonds that are affordable. HPHT (high pressure high temperature), color coating, and irradiation are popular treatments for improving diamond color. They can change a brownish, unattractive diamond into a beauty of vibrant, deeply saturated color.

A color-enhanced diamond can be a great buy, since its price is a fraction of that of a natural fancy. The treatments are generally considered to be permanent. However, color enhancement does not change the quality of the stone. Though the treated diamond appears more attractive to the unaided eye, under a jeweler's microscope it is still revealed to be a lower-value stone.

Because of the huge price difference between natural fancies (including pinks) and color-enhanced stones, it is essential to the buyer and the insurer that color-enhancement treatments be disclosed on the appraisal.

Synthesized Gems

Diamond growers do fairly easily what nature does rarely: produce richly colored diamonds, including pinks. Manufacturers of synthetic diamonds can flaunt not only their spectacular colors but also their attractive prices, a fraction of the price of a natural fancy. Consumers can get a great value on a lab-grown pink diamond, whereas a natural pink would be well beyond their means.

Disclosure of the gem's synthetic origin is important all down the selling chain. Labs that produce diamonds are proud of their products, advertise their names, and include descriptions of the process for consumers. But by the time you are insuring the piece, its papers may become “lost” and the gem could be passed off as a mined diamond.

One clue to distinguishing a natural fancy colored from a lab-grown gem is the diamond report. Mined fancies almost always come with a GIA diamond report. (If a colored diamond is represented as a natural fancy, insist on a diamond report from a reputable lab.)

If a gem is striking and the price is right, a buyer may not care whether the diamond comes from the earth or from a lab, but for an insurer pricing a replacement that difference is crucial.


As colored diamonds become increasingly popular, insurers must be extremely careful. A reliable appraisal is vital, as the valuation for natural fancies is far higher than for color-enhanced diamonds or synthesized stones.

An appraisal for colored diamond should

An appraiser of colored diamonds should

Lab-made diamonds can be difficult to detect. Laser inscriptions on the girdle, identifying the manufacturer, may be concealed when the stone is in a setting.
Improperly trained (or dishonest) retailers and appraisers may pass on synthetic diamonds as naturals.

Never assume a diamond is natural just because the appraisal doesn't mention man-made/lab-grown/synthetic. The appraisal should specifically state that the gem is natural.

Lab equipment, developed by DeBeers and others, allows gemologists to distinguish synthetic from natural diamond, but the cost of this equipment is beyond the means of many jeweler/appraisers. Therefore, when insuring colored diamonds represented as natural, insist on a Diamond Report from a reputable lab which employs the best technology available.

GIA, AGS and GCAL are respected authorities in diamond grading. Not all diamond certificates come from trustworthy labs. See Spotting a Bogus Appraisal for details.

The GIA now grades synthetic diamonds. The heading on the GIA document specifies that the report is for a "synthetic colored diamond," and the description includes the phrase "laboratory grown."

There's an increasing problem with counterfeit diamond reports. To verify authenticity of a certificate, follow the appropriate link. You will need the report number and the carat weight of the stone.

GIA Report Check
AGS Report Verification
GCAL Certificate Search

Remember that even a reputable diamond report is not a substitute for an appraisal. A diamond report does not describe the jewelry as a whole, including metal, setting, etc., and it does not give a valuation.

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


The price difference between natural and synthetic diamond is immense, as is the difference between treated and untreated diamond. An overpayment could be 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 especially diligent with colored diamonds.

If there is a diamond report, be sure to verify its authenticity using the links above.

Inspect the appraisal for terms that mean synthetic, such as grown, created, lab-made, and cultured. Also look for the terms treated or enhanced. Pay attention to the fine print and symbols on the report.

Be sure to scrutinize the appraisal and sales receipt. If the sale price is too good to be true, the gem is probably synthetic, treated, or an imitation.

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).

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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