March 2014

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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Credential Conundrum

Here’s an underwriter’s dilemma: The insured has submitted a jewelry appraisal, but how does the underwriter know he can trust what it says? How does he know the appraiser is qualified to reliably identify gems and assign value to jewelry?

signaturesIt’s not a trivial issue. Literally anyone can call himself an appraiser and write appraisals without any formal gemological training at all. There is no official body regulating jewelry appraisers.

Every day underwriters see formal-looking appraisal documents signed by appraisers with official-sounding credentials or titles that reveal nothing about the appraiser’s expertise or training.

Let’s look at some appraiser “credentials.”

These examples are taken from appraisals recently received by one insurer. The signatures are deliberately not shown in the photos since we’re only considering the credentials, the title the appraiser gives under his signature as evidence of his expertise. Also, shortcomings of the appraisals themselves are not discussed, as that would require another whole newsletter or two (and that may come down the line). This is just a look at credentials—or lack thereof.

Gemologist   A gemologist is someone who studies gems, who is interested in gemology. The word sounds substantial, but anyone can call himself a gemologist. The word says nothing about proficiency or training in identifying gems or assigning value.

Gemological Appraisal Consultant   The signer of this appraisal cannot even admit to being an appraiser. One might well conclude that this person – being just a “consultant” – did not, in fact, write the appraisal. Who did examine the jewelry to verify its quality and then use that information to assign a value? One suspects that the jewelry details in the appraisal came from a boiler-plate description given by the jewelry supplier. One might further suspect that the valuation is inflated.

Executive Chairman    This one is a little scary. It identifies a strangely-titled official in the company’s hierarchy, and that’s a far cry from indicating gemological training.

Certified Jewelers   In this case, Certified Jewelers is the name of the store. Under the appraiser’s signature it looks like a title, but it’s just the name of the seller—like Zales or Costco. The phrase “Certified Jewelers” sounds impressive, but it doesn’t mean that either the store or the appraiser was “certified” by any independent body.

Not-good-enough titles

As we’ve noted in the past, the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) is a highly respected lab. It offers a 6-month course of study and hands-on lab work in diamonds and colored gems, leading to a Graduate Gemologist (GG) degree.

Because GIA is so highly regarded, there’s a lot of fudging to take advantage of the GIA name. For example, a student who takes a single class might decide to call himself a GIA graduate.  However, mentioning “GIA” along with the appraiser’s signature is not good enough; “GIA” does not equal “GG”.

Appraiser GIA qualified   Qualified for what? If he were a GG, he’d say so.

GIA Diamond Graduate    GIA’s Graduate Diamond diploma comes at the end of a 7-week course in diamonds (not the 6-month GG training). It does not include any study or lab work involving colored gems.

GIA Certified Insurance Replacement Appraiser   This is not a GIA credential. “Insurance Replacement Appraiser” denotes a function or position, not a level of expertise, and GIA does not “certify” such a position.

GIA Graduate   GIA offers many courses. For example, one 5-day course teaches sales personnel how to talk to customers about jewelry. Anyone passing any GIA class could conceivably call himself a GIA Graduate, but that’s not the same as being a Graduate Gemologist. Again, if he were a GG, he’d say so.

Best Credentials

We recommend that insurers look for the following credentials:

GG   Graduate Gemologist, trained at GIA.

FGA+   Fellow of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain. (The + is important in this title. It means that the titleholder has taken and passed the advanced courses in both gemology and diamond.)

CIA   Certified Insurance Appraiser. A CIA is a GG or FGA+ appraiser who has additional training in appraising for insurance.

An appraiser with any of these degrees would put the initials after his name, as they attest to his expertise.



Recommend that policyholders obtain appraisals on the JISO industry standard forms. The JISO appraisals are in a standardized format, making it is easy for underwriters to determine that all necessary information is included.


If you are not working with a JISO 78/79, 805, or 806, use JISO 18 to organize data from various documents, such as appraisals and diamond reports. If too much information is lacking and the jewelry’s valuation is substantial, consider consulting a jewelry insurance expert 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.

A valuation that is well above the selling price is probably inflated. Base the settlement on the description of the jewelry, not its valuation.


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