March 2016

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 valuable emerald ring—
not the ring involved in the complaint

How green is my emerald?

On an Internet site for consumer complaints, one woman recounted buying an emerald ring while on vacation. When she got home and had it appraised, the appraiser said it did not meet US color standards to even be called an emerald.

What does that mean?

Everyone associates the word "emerald" with green. Ireland is called the emerald isle for its rolling green hills and lush vegetation. We hear references to emerald eyes or an emerald green sea. But what does it take to call a gemstone "emerald"—and to value it as emerald?

The gem known as emerald belongs to the mineral group beryl, which is found around the world. Pure beryl is colorless, but trace minerals produce colors such as green, blue, yellow, red, and white. And some of those beryl colors have specific gemological names, such as aquamarine for the blue-green variety and morganite for the pink to light purple stone.

Colorless beryl 




The gem known as "emerald" is green beryl. But there is also green beryl that is just called "green beryl" and is considered not the best. A pale green is not properly called emerald and it is less valuable. But as the green beryl material comes in a gradation of hue from pale to deep green, at some point a distinction must be made between emerald and green beryl. This is similar to the distinction between ruby, the reddest of the corundum mineral, and the paler reds that are classed as pink sapphire.

Price is the reason the distinction is important. Emerald commands a higher price than "green beryl."

Selections of green beryl


Gemologists differ on how to make that distinction. Some say it depends on the mineral that is causing the beryl to be green. Others believe that where the beryl was mined must be taken into account. Traditionally, beryl that was a richly saturated green was considered emerald, and some gemologists hold that visual judgement is still the best criterion.

Describing emerald

In general, a colored gemstone's most significant quality in terms of valuation is its color. Color is not just a word, like green, but a precise gemological description in terms of tone, saturation and hue.  An emerald's color, for example, might be described as "Medium Light" tone, "Very Slightly Grayish" saturation, and "very slightly bluish Green" hue. See Colored Gemstones—the 4 Cs for more detail.

Clarity is also of prime importance in describing emerald. This gem material is by nature highly included. Emerald should be transparent, but inclusions can render it translucent or even opaque. To improve their appearance, emeralds are often subjected to fracture filling. This inexpensive treatment makes an inferior stone look more attractive (and more saleable) but does not alter the stone. Fractures are still present and they make the stone vulnerable to damage. 

For all gems, and especially emerald, the appraisal description should specifically state whether the stone is or is not fracture-filled. See our earlier story on Emeralds for more on gem enhancements and other issues of importance in valuing and insuring this gem.

Red emerald

What's in a name? Marketing value!

As one gemologist put it, there is more emerald than green beryl in the eye of the seller than there is in the eye of the buyer. Emerald is a recognized member of the big four (with diamond, ruby and sapphire) and it gets consumer respect.

Despite the fact that the word emerald derives from a Greek word meaning "green stone," the cachet of emerald has spread to other colors. Red beryl is being marketed as red emerald. This gem is too rare to be widely marketed, being mined in only one location, and it is found only in small sizes. Nevertheless, to make a gem saleable and even pricey, red emerald is certainly more captivating a term than red beryl or its alternate name bixbite (after its discoverer Maynard Bixby).

Similarly, yellow beryl is marketed as yellow emerald, to take advantage of the perception of emerald as valuable. The website says, "The Yellow Emerald Mining Company saves you money by combining the mining facility, the manufacturer, the wholesaler, and the retailer into one entity." In fact the company tried to trademark the term "yellow emerald" but failed because the phrase was already widely used to refer to yellow beryl.

As to the consumer quoted in the opening paragraph . . .

We don't know whether her jewelry contained emerald or green beryl. We don't know whether she received an appraisal from the seller with a description of the stone's qualities, or if she just got the verbal description: "emerald."

Presumably she liked the gem when she bought the jewelry, but she was told it was emerald and that name played a part in her purchase.

Did she pay for emerald, which has a higher value than other green beryl? We don't know—and she may not know either. What seemed like a bargain price for emerald may have been a perfectly reasonable price for green beryl.



Color is of prime importance in valuing emerald. The appraisal should have a detailed description in precise gemological language.

Terms like red emerald and yellow emerald are basically marketing terms. You still want a precise color description of the gem.

Not every jeweler, nor even every trained gemologist, is competent to appraise emeralds. A reliable appraiser is one who is experienced with colored gemstones and familiar with current pricing, treatments, and frauds. The appraiser should be a GG or FGA+, preferably also a Certified Insurance Appraiser™.

Fracture filling is so commonplace that emeralds NOT so treated are worth considerably more than treated stones. The appraisal should either note the treatments performed on the emerald or explicitly state that the stone is untreated.

Read more about fracture filling and about an insurance claim involving a fracture-filled emerald.



Terms like red emerald and yellow emerald are basically marketing terms for red and yellow beryl.

Replace with like kind and quality. Rely on precise color and clarity descriptions.

Look carefully at the appraisal and other documents for words like treated, enhanced, fracture-filled and laser-drilled. This is crucial information when pricing a replacement.

Fracture filling is so commonplace in the emerald market that stones NOT so treated are worth considerably more than treated stones. Do not consider an emerald as untreated unless the appraisal specifically states that it is.
Because fracture filling is so common, have all damaged emerald jewelry examined in a gem lab by a Certified Insurance Appraiser™.

Breakdown of a fracture-filling treatment is not considered damage for which the insurer is liable.

It is wise to suspect fracture filling if:

In nature, fine emeralds with few inclusions are very rare and extremely expensive, while in the lab, attractive, unincluded emeralds can easily be synthesized and sold at affordable prices.

Terms such as lab-grown, man-made, created, and cultured mean that the emerald is synthesized. Lab-made gems have considerably lower value than mined gems of the same quality.

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