July 2013

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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A Cutting Question concerning vintage diamonds



In terms of value, Cut is the most important of the "4 Cs" of a diamond. Cut can account for half of a diamond’s worth. Now some jewelry sellers are pressing GIA to remove cut grade from its reports for vintage diamonds.

What’s special about vintage diamonds?

The phrase is misleading. There’s no such thing as a “vintage diamond.” All natural diamonds are millions of year old! (And all synthetic diamonds are quite new!) Diamond is diamond, regardless of its age. But over the past two millennia, there have been dramatic changes in how diamond is cut to make it suitable for jewelry.

A brief history of cut

Point Cut

Table Cut

Old Single Cut

Old European Cut


Early admirers of diamond appreciated the gem for its extreme hardness, not its beauty. Diamond often comes out of the earth in 8-sided crystals, and in early times there existed no means of cutting it. The crystals were simply cleaned up as much as possible and set in jewelry. This diamond ring, dating from about the 3rd century, is lovely and mellow but shows nothing of the sparkle we associate with diamond today.

Gradually gem-cutting technology developed.

Early cutters shaped gemstones with hand tools. Over the centuries mechanized equipment made the job easier and allowed finer and finer faceting. During the past century, advances in the science of optics enabled cutters to determine the best geometry for diamonds, and electric equipment made this precise geometry possible.

This “best geometry” yields a diamond with the most brilliance and scintillation. The established standard for a round brilliant cut stone is 58 very precise facets. In brief, the nearer the gem is to this best geometry standard, the higher its cut grade. And, other things being equal: the higher the cut grade, the higher the valuation, because of the cutting time involved and the amount of diamond cut and polished away. (See Beyond Ideal for more detailed discussion.)

Back to vintage jewelry

Jewelry from the 19th and early 20th century is likely to have diamonds that are Mine Cut or Old European Cut shapes. These gems fall short of the “best geometry” standard we now have. They do not refract light as well, they don’t appear as brilliant, and GIA will likely rate their cut as “poor” (which it is by today’s standards).

Retailers of period jewelry say that this grade hampers the sale of beautiful old jewelry and of contemporary jewelry, such as the ring pictured at right, designed to showcase century-old Old European Cut diamonds. All customers want a GIA certificate these days, and seeing the word “poor” on the diamond report impacts their appreciation of the jewelry.

These sellers say that, since earlier cutters couldn’t do what today’s cutters can, old gems should not be subjected to today’s standard. Instead of a cut grade, these sellers would like the diamond report to simply say “Old European Cut”.

The argument against this change is that Old European Cut is a shape still produced today. One reason to use this cut would be to replace a stone lost from a piece of period jewelry, since a diamond cut to contemporary standards would look out of place.

Another reason might be that the Old European cut is less demanding than the Round Brilliant cut of today’s standard, since its faceting is less precise. Old European also yields a heavier gem, and higher carat weight makes a good selling point.

The market, however, gives higher value to a cut that makes the diamond appear more brilliant. A diamond that was cut this year would be judged by today’s standard, and if it were an Old European cut it would be graded poor. The same should hold for a diamond cut 100 years ago, since an appraiser can’t tell visually whether a diamond was cut yesterday or a century ago. The cut grade ranks the cut of the gem, not the period when the cutting was done or the style of the jewelry in which the gem is set.


Beware of important-sounding words on an appraisal that say nothing about quality. “Antique” only means the piece is at least 100 years old. Do not take it to mean unique or valuable.

Terms like “Victorian,” “Edwardian,” “Art Deco,” etc., describe the style of a period. They say nothing about value.

A contemporary piece “in the style of” an earlier period should be so described, so it is not confused with jewelry made during that period.

The name of a cutting style is not a cut grade. When the stone was cut is usually not important. Look for geometry details on the stone’s cut.

Have an appraisal for all scheduled jewelry. 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.

Authenticating and valuing antique and period jewelry requires skill and experience. Be sure the appraiser is a jeweler who regularly deals in such jewelry, one who is familiar with the pricing in this specialized market and alert to its scams.

Be sure the appraisal includes a picture of the jewelry. This can be invaluable in the event of a loss. A sales receipt is also very useful.


When pricing replacements, look for cut information on all appraisals and diamond reports. Look for the numbers describing table, crown angle and pavilion depth.

Any inscription on the diamond's girdle, such as a brand name or GIA certificate number, is important information and should be taken into account when pricing a replacement.

Scrutinize appraisals for period jewelry. Investigate the appraiser’s qualifications. Remember that appraising period jewelry requires an expertise beyond that of most jewelers who deal in contemporary pieces.

Compare the appraisal’s valuation with the sales receipt. If the jewelry is an heirloom, request additional documentation. Don’t take a statement about inheritance at face value. Just because jewelry is old doesn’t mean there is no paper trail.

Look at the photo. For period jewelry, refer to auction catalogs or public auction sites for similar jewelry to verify the valuation.

Consider using a jewelry insurance expert’s help in settling the claim, to avoid overpayments on antique and period jewelry of high value.



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