November 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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Scratch a diamond and you'll find . . .???

Everyone knows that you shouldn’t be able to scratch a diamond, and if you tried you would find, well, diamond. These days, scratch a “diamond” and you might find something else.

You might find moissanite, a sparkling synthetic substitute for diamond. Or CZ, a very inexpensive diamond imitator. An elegant coating is covering up the real thing.

Coating gems to make them look better has a long tradition. Early efforts produced gems doomed to a short life, as the coatings looked fake and when they deteriorated left a messy piece of jewelry. 

Today’s technology does much better. It can even throw a coat of diamond over some other material. The practice is increasingly widespread and technologies are ever more subtle. The situation means both consumers and insurers need to be on their toes. The subterfuge can be difficult to detect initially, but problems do appear down the line.

One Insurer’s Experience

Here’s what one lab encountered, when an insurer sent the lab a damaged ring for examination before settling a claim:

The ring had a center diamond with a smaller diamond on each side. One of the side diamonds had been damaged.

During the ring evaluation, the lab noticed that the damaged stone had some sort of coating that had partially worn off. Thinking it might be something like hairspray, the lab tried to clean it from the stone but could not.

Blue area is partially worn-off coating

The lab also noticed that the facet edges of the stone were not as sharp as those of a diamond.  Since diamond is so extremely hard, it can be cut to much sharper edge than any other stone, so this didn’t look right.

In order to examine the stone further, the lab removed it from the ring. Now the appraiser could see needle-like inclusions, a type of inclusion that does not appear in diamond.

Needle-like inclusions, uncharacteristic of diamond

A Sarin analysis, which precisely measures the geometry of a stone and calculates what a diamond of such proportions would weigh, revealed that both side stones did not weigh what diamonds of that size would weigh. Nor did the actual weight of the stones match the weight  given on the appraisal.

By now the lab was sure the two side stones were not diamond. They sent the two stones to the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) for indisputable identification.

GIA identified both stones as synthetic Moissanite, a much less expensive stone often used in jewelry to substitute for diamond.

Identification Report

The GIA’s reports, meant only to identify the stones, did not mention the coating. Yet, it was the coating of diamond on both stones that fooled the eye into believing the stones themselves were diamond.

Some points to consider:

All 3 stones in the ring had originally been appraised by a respected jeweler as diamond!

Was the seller guessing? Did he just believe the gem supplier, without examining the stones himself? Did he examine the stones but not notice their un-diamondlike characteristics? Or was this deliberate fraud?

Synthetic moissanite is much cheaper than diamond. The consumer believed her ring to be diamond and presumably had paid for diamond. She was cheated.

The ring had been insured as diamond, so the consumer was paying higher premiums than she should have been. She was again cheated.

Had this been a total loss rather than a damage claim, the settlement would have been based on a diamond ring, and the insurer would have been cheated.

The GIA’s Identification Report did not mention the coating. Nor did it even note that the moissanite was “enhanced,” as it surely was.

How typical is this experience? How many consumers have been taken in? How many insurers don’t bother to have salvage examined?

How many different coatings are out there? As more coatings come to market, will even GIA have the equipment needed to detect them?

Some manufacturers of diamond coatings are very upfront about what they make and sell. Serenity Industries, for example, markets its Diamantine™ as a “diamond alternative.” Serenity’s proprietary process coats a stone such as moissanite with a thin film of minute diamond particles, each particle having the physical and optical properties of diamond. What the eye sees is diamond, the stone underneath is not, but the company is not trying to fool the buyer.

However, as with all these new technologies, there are many players in the game. Not all of them are honest. As various companies develop different coating technologies and want to keep them secret, detection becomes more and more difficult. Appraisers and labs that identify gems and detect treatments must always be on the lookout for the unexpected.


One significant lesson from this insurer’s experience is the importance of having a trustworthy appraisal from a qualified gemologist appraiser who is independent of the seller.

A qualified appraiser is one who has a GG, FGA+, or equivalent degree, preferably one who has additional insurance appraisal training. One course offering such additional training is the Certified Insurance Appraiser™ (CIA) course of the Jewelry Insurance Appraisal Institute.

New gem treatments are continually being developed. They are increasingly sophisticated and their detection may require special instruments that large labs can afford but that are beyond the means of the average appraiser.

The appraiser should be able not only to recognize treatments (or “enhancements”), but also to notice unusual details that may indicate something beyond his expertise or resources. In such a case, he would advise sending the stone to a lab such as GIA.

A diamond appraisal should explicitly state that the stone is natural and untreated; or it should state that it has been treated or "enhanced.”


Inspect the appraisal and diamond report carefully for terms suggesting that the stone has been enhanced or treated. More specific terms to look for include coated, irradiated, HPHT, and CVD.

Such information is sometimes not obviously stated, but this is an instance when one word can mean a tremendous difference in valuation!

Also check for brand names, as brands are associated with certain kinds of merchandise. Serenity, for example, indicates diamond-coated moissanite. If there are brands or terms that you don’t understand, consider consulting a jewelry insurance specialist before settling the claim.

On a damage claim, ALWAYS have the jewelry examined in a gem lab that has reasonable equipment for the job and is operated by a trained gemologist (GG, FGA+ or equivalent), preferably one who has additional insurance appraisal training, such as a Certified Insurance Appraiser™.



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