March 2005

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

Growing 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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Watches: What to Watch For

The short story:
There’s more to a identifying a fine watch
than manufacturer, style and serial number.

The Longer Story

Manufacturers of fine watches, (Rolex, Cartier, Patek, etc.) identify each model of watch by style and serial number. In addition, most manufacturers have separate model numbers for parts of the watch, such as the dial, bezel or band. All these numbers should be on the appraisal.

Watches may contain gemstones, and the gems (as well as the metals) can differ on bezel, case, dial, and strap. These variations may or may not be reflected in the style number, so an appraisal should describe in detail the metals and gems on each of these watch parts.

But there is still the question: Is the watch—and each of its parts—genuine?

Fakes. The most common fake is made by using a popular name-brand watch — let’s say a Rolex. Counterfeiters then dress it up by adding on non-Rolex parts, such as gemstone bezel, dial or strap.

For example: A popular model Rolex is steel and gold. Counterfeiters might buy a steel watch and substitute gold for some of its parts, like the bezel or some links in the band. But they often use 14-karat gold, rather than 18 karat. And the pieces are usually cast rather than die-struck.

Or they might change the inside, for instance putting a 35-year-old Rolex movement into a recent-model watch case. The case appears new and bears a recent model number, but the old movement does not have today’s quick-adjust features. Watches with any such after-market modifications are not regarded by the manufacturer as genuine Rolexes, and they don’t have the value of authentic Rolexes.

In other cases, the entire watch is counterfeit. These are often fabricated in countries that don’t recognize U.S. patents, copyrights, or intellectual property rights.

Watch manufacturers spend millions of dollars each year in their efforts to foil counterfeiters. The market for fakes is so huge that there is even a submarket, consisting of books and Web sites, on how to recognize counterfeit watches.

Most high-end manufacturers sell their products only through authorized dealers. Sometimes these authorized dealers, pressed for cash, may sell down their inventory to retailers who are not authorized. However, the watches sold by unauthorized dealers are regarded by the manufacturer as “used,” even though they have not been previously worn.

Most fine-watch manufacturers do not allow their watches to be sold on the Internet. They explicitly state this on their web sites, and direct potential customers to their authorized dealers.

Yet name brand watches are blatantly sold on the net. Typically they are heavily discounted but they do not carry the manufacturer’s guarantee. The seller may give a limited warrantee on working parts, but does not warrant that all parts of the watch are genuine. Should the watch need repair at a later date, the owner will again be settling for second best. Fine-watch manufacturers will not work on watches “of questionable origin”—that is, not from an authorized dealer.

Watch Appraisals. Appraising fine watches is not within the competence of all jewelers. Authenticating a watch entails more than just regurgitating model and serial numbers. One must be trained to judge the authenticity of the watch and all its parts, recognizing non-authorized “after market” add-ons as well as out-and-out fakes.

Your best move is to consult a Certified Insurance Appraiser™. If he himself is not specifically trained to authenticate that particular brand, he has resources to call upon for this expertise. A CIA understands that authentication is crucial to the valuation of a fine watch.

FYI: Some Watch Terms

Movement: mechanism that drives the hands or digital display.

A jeweled movement is powered by a mainspring. After the spring is tightly wound, the coil gradually unwinds, thereby powering the gears. The movement bearings are made from jewels (synthetic rubies), each milled, cut and polished to a high degree of exactness. There are usually 7 to 23 jewels. More jewels do not necessarily ensure greater accuracy but they reduce friction in the watch.

A quartz movement uses oscillating quartz and sophisticated electronic circuitry. It is more accurate than the spring-wound mechanism.

The dial is the face of a watch, which is the background for the hands and shows the hours. Dial markings and hand styles vary greatly.



The bezel is the part of the watch that holds the crystal to the case.

The frame is the center of the case, with end pieces or legs to which the watchband is attached.

The back is the part that rests on the wearer’s arm. Some manufacturers put a foil hologram on the back of the watch. It easily shows wear and its purpose is to prevent a used watch from being passed off as new.

In better watches, the crystal is made of colorless synthetic sapphire, because sapphire is much harder than glass or plastic (often used in fakes).

Shock Resistance is a feature of all quality watches. There is no way to make a watch movement “shockproof.” A watch is considered shock-resistant when a drop from one meter (about 40 inches), or the shock equivalent to that impact, will not: a) stop the watch movement; b) damage the glass or crystal, bend the hands, or damage the case; or c) change the rate by more that 60 seconds a day.

Water Resistance means resistance to damage from water leakage, as during bathing or swimming. Watches are tested to withstand water leakage at pressures experienced by divers under water. Such pressures are measured in "atmospheres." An atmosphere is 4.7 pounds per square inch, or the amount of pressure at a depth of 33 feet of water. A watch rated at 10 atmospheres can withstand the pressure of water to a depth of 330 feet.


Be sure the appraisal lists the manufacturer, and all style numbers and serial numbers on the watch.

Any gems on the watch, and the metal of each part, should be described in the same detail as for a piece of gem jewelry. A picture is always helpful, especially if the watch contains gemstones.

It’s important to know what you’re insuring – you want to be sure the watch is genuine and not a knock-off. This means the appraisal should be done by a dealer trained to authenticate that brand, or by a Certified Insurance Appraiser™, who has the resources for obtaining proper authentication.

For any fine watch, a statement like the following should appear on the appraisal:

"All watches have been personally inspected by the appraiser, and watches, watch parts, and accessories, including but not limited to bands, cases, bezels, dials, and attachments, are genuine parts supplied by the watch manufacturer (unless otherwise stated)."


Watch claims are relatively infrequent, and settlement should be easy. If the appraisal lists the manufacturer, style and serial number, replacement can be straightforward.

Seek a replacement only from an authorized dealer for that brand. Do not be tempted to shop in the huge market that exists for watches with unauthorized, aftermarket add-ons. There are probably more such counterfeits available than original pieces from fine-watch manufacturers, but such modified watches are not considered genuine. (Of course, if the claim is made on a watch that used after-market parts, you should adjust the settlement accordingly.)

Watches are highly competitive. Even going through an authorized dealer, you may be able to get a steep discount. If necessary, consult your jewelry expert for assistance in getting the best price on an authentic brand-name watch from an authorized dealer.

A note on depreciation: There is a significant market in vintage watches. Most people believe jewelry can only appreciate in value. This is a mistaken belief about jewelry in general, and especially so about watches. A 20-year-old Rolex President, for example, might sell for about a third the price of a current one.

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