January 2012

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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Advanced Gem Lab -
A deeper look at colored gems

Along with the basic equipment (discussed in last month’s JII), an advanced gem lab will have other gemological instruments. A number of these are specifically for looking at colored gems.

Beyond Diamond

A diamond is a diamond (as long as it’s not a fake). The appraiser determines whether it is natural or lab-made, and gives details on its 4 Cs—cut, color, clarity and carat weight. Most gemologists are trained and experienced with diamond, as it is the most popular gem used in jewelry.

For a colored gemstone, just identifying it can be a challenge. The JCRS site discusses emerald, ruby, and sapphire in some detail, and pictures another 32 of the most popular colored gems. But there are literally hundreds of minerals that have been cut as gemstones.

An advanced gem lab usually includes instruments that help identify colored stones and their treatments. Here are a few instruments the appraiser might use – but most important is the last one listed.



Each mineral has a unique spectral pattern.  It is as distinctive as a fingerprint.  The spectroscope reveals vertical black lines in the spectrum showing which wavelengths are absorbed.  This is useful in distinguishing visually similar and/or treated stones, such as natural yellow vs. irradiated yellow diamonds.



A polariscope shows the paths that a beam of light takes as it goes through the stone. If light passes through as a single beam, the gem is “single refractive.” Few gems are single refractive, so this result narrows the choices for an appraiser identifying the stone.

If the beam is broken into two beams, the stone is “double refractive.” Most gems, including emerald, ruby, and sapphire, fall into this category. Others, like tanzanite and andalusite,  break the light into three separate beams.

Black Prince “ruby” is spinel

The polariscope would distinguish ruby (double refractive) from spinel (single refractive), for example. This distinction wasn’t possible in the past. One of the most famous gems in the world, in the British crown jewels, was long considered a ruby because of its deep red color. Now we know it to be spinel.



Refraction is the term for the deflection or bending of a light wave as it passes from one medium into another—like the way a stick seems to bend when it enters water. The refractometer measures how light is bent when it enters a gem. This reading is key to identifying the gem.

Refractometers have a larger life than just on the appraiser’s desk. Long before their role in gemology, refractometers were used to set prescriptions for eyeglasses. And vintners use them to measure the refractive index of grape juice, to determine when the grapes are ready to be picked to make wine.


Chelsea filter

The Chelsea filter works by allowing only certain wavelengths of green and red colors to be transmitted. Gems transmitting these colors will appear either red or green, while others simply appear dark. It can be useful for spotting certain color treatments, by transmitting color that would not be present in the untreated stone.


Fiber Optic Light on Microscope

The fiber optic light attached to the microscope focuses an intense beam of light on the gem, allowing the appraiser to see deeply into the stone. Detailing the gem’s inclusions is crucial in arriving at a valuation.


Appraiser’s Experience & Expertise –
the most important tools

Gemological instruments require training to learn to use properly. Reading and understanding the results may be difficult.  With experience, the gemologist learns to make subtle distinctions and interpret results.

The color of a colored gem is its most important determinant of value, so a precise description of the color is crucial. This requires familiarity with the type of gem, a trained eye, and expertise in describing the color in generally accepted gemological language.

Most jewelers deal primarily with diamonds. Not every jeweler, nor even every trained gemologist, is competent to appraise colored gems. A reliable appraiser of colored gem jewelry is a jeweler experienced in the buying and selling of colored gems, one who knows the market for the gem in question, as well as treatments and frauds associated with it.


Colored stones derive half their value from their color — described in terms of tone, saturation and hue. A detailed description is important because colors of stones can vary widely. Sapphires, for example, can be not only blue but also variations of pink, orange, purple and green.

As colored gems become more popular, agents and underwriters need to be prepared for more variety in the jewelry they insure. In the current economy, many buyers are choosing less expensive stones that look like higher-priced gems.

For any colored stones, it is essential that the appraisal be written by a gemologist experienced with colored gemstones and familiar with current pricing, treatments and frauds.

For all high-value jewelry, be sure to get a detailed appraisal from an appraiser who is not the seller.

Preferably, the appraisal should be on JISO 78/79 form, written by a trained gemologist (GG, FGA, or equivalent), with additional insurance appraisal training. One course offering such additional training is the Certified Insurance Appraiser™ (CIA) course of the Jewelry Insurance Appraisal Institute, Oakland, CA.


Compare the sales receipt with the appraisal. If there is a great discrepancy between selling price and valuation, the selling price probably reflects value more accurately. If the sale price seems too low for the appraised value, it’s possible that the gem was fracture-filled, or was synthetic, or was a lower-value substitute, such as spinel passed off as ruby. A jewelry insurance expert may help in determining this.

If a claim is made for damage, ALWAYS have the damaged jewelry examined in a gem lab by a trained gemologist (GG, FGA, or equivalent), preferably one who has additional insurance appraisal training, such as a Certified Insurance Appraiser™. The exam:

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