September 2008

JEWELRY INSURANCE ISSUES (formerly IM News), provides monthly insight and information for jewelry insurance agents, underwriters and claims adjusters.

Subscribe to
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


We'll be glad to notify you when the Jewelry Insurance Issues is available each month. Sign up for your FREE SUBSCRIPTION to Jewelry Insurance Issues.

Visit the rest of the JCRS site:

FTC Decides: Culture Is In!

In a ruling sure to give a boost to the synthetic gem industry, the FTC stated that the use of the term "cultured" to describe lab-made gems is not deceptive.

Chatham-created emerald bracelet

Gem manufacturers like to avoid the word synthetic in their advertising. It has connotations of imitation and fakery. "Cultured" is an agreeable alternative. It sounds so much more, well, cultured.

Others in the industry say it confuses consumers, who may not realize that a gem described as cultured is actually grown in a lab.

To those who deal in mined gems, the distinction between natural (mined) and synthetic is important to business. Lab-grown gems constitute a threat. Though chemically and optically identical to natural gems, they are much less expensive than their mined counterparts.

A group of 10 jewelry trade associations petitioned the FTC to amend its Jewelry Guides to state that using the term "cultured" to describe lab-created gemstones is deceptive and unfair.

A Brief History of "Cultured"

Chatham Created Emerald

The comfortable sound of "cultured gems" comes from our association with the term cultured pearls. When a foreign substance enters the oyster, nacre inside the shell surrounds the irritant and the result is a pearl. In nature, the irritant enters by chance; for cultured pearls, the irritant is purposely introduced.

This technique for farming pearls is about a century old, and it revolutionized the pearl industry. Today cultured pearls are far more numerous and less expensive than natural pearls. No one quibbles about the use of "cultured" for pearls.

For other gems, it’s different.

Chatham Created Gems, which today grows diamond, emerald, ruby, sapphire and opal, has been involved in nomenclature battles since 1959, when the FTC ordered the company to cease using the phrase "Chatham cultured emerald." Founder Carroll Chatham chose not to pursue the issue with the FTC because of the huge legal bills and a court order requiring him to divulge exactly how his gems were cultured. Instead, he called his product "Chatham-created emeralds."

The arguments were the same then as now. Critics insist only pearls are cultured; other lab-grown gems must be called synthetic. Gem growers disagree.

Cultured Sapphire Bracelet

Like pearls, emeralds and other gems are grown from a natural element in a controlled environment. Natural gemstones are crystals formed by heat and pressure deep in the earth. Tom Chatham explains that his company creates a similar heat and pressure environment using the same natural elements and even some of the natural gemstone, and nature does the rest (over a much speeded-up time span). Chatham, he says, creates the opportunity for growth to occur, "much as the flower grower does in a hot house."

The FTC decided not to amend its jewelry guidelines; its explanation actually fine-tuned the interpretation. The FTC Guides already required gems that are not natural be to qualified as "laboratory-created," "laboratory-grown," "[manufacturer-name]-created" or "synthetic." The guides don’t deal with the term "cultured" at all.

The FTC decided it was not necessary to change the existing language. In determining deception in advertising, the FTC examines not just one statement but the net impression of the entire advertisement. The Commission said that using the word "cultured" is not deceptive, as long as one of the four terms quoted above is also part of the description.

Nature vs. Culture

Why does it matter? Gems made in a lab are chemically and optically the same as gems that come from a mine. They are the real thing, not imitations. So why does it matter what they’re called?

As far as insurers are concerned, the difference is money.

Bracelet with Cultured Rubies

Some things to keep in mind:

Chatham Created Diamond

All of these considerations affect the valuation of both natural and synthesized (cultured/lab-grown/created) gems—both now and at the time of some future loss.

All of these conditions also make fraud easier and more tempting.

It is crucial that a jewelry appraisal identify stones as either natural or synthetic. And it is essential that the adjuster look for, and recognize, terms that signify synthetic stones.


As synthetic gems become increasingly popular, insurers must be extremely careful. The price difference between natural and synthetic gems can be immense.

Gem growers are generally proud of their product and use their name in marketing. Be sure to collect all information about brand names, which can be helpful in determining valuation and may signal a lab-grown stone.

Never assume a gem is natural just because the appraisal or sales receipt does not mention synthetic. For high-value jewelry, insist on an appraisal that states the stone is either natural or synthetic.

For colored diamonds, insist on a Diamond Report from a reputable lab, such as GIA, which uses the best technology available.

Lab-grown stones can be difficult to detect. Training and special equipment are necessary. Laser inscriptions on the girdle, identifying the manufacturer, may be concealed when the stone is in a setting. Improperly trained (or dishonest) retailers and appraisers may pass on synthetic gems as naturals.

For colored gems, be sure the appraisal is written by a trained gemologist experienced in dealing with colored stones.

Your best bet is to have a detailed JISO 78/79 (formerly ACORD 78/79) appraisal from a competent and experienced jeweler who is a Graduate Gemologist (GG) and a Certified Insurance Appraiser™ (CIA).


The price difference between natural and synthetic gems can be immense. An overpayment could run to tens of thousands of dollars.
Inspect the appraisal and other documents for terms that mean synthetic, such as grown, created, lab-made, and cultured.

Pay special attention to brand names, as makers of cultured gems use their names to market their products. If there are brand names or terms you don’t recognize, consider consulting a jewelry insurance expert.

If the appraisal does not explicitly state the gem is natural, use every means possible to determine whether it is natural or synthetic. Be especially diligent with colored diamonds.

On a damage claim for a high-priced gem, always have the piece examined by a qualified gemologist, such as a Certified Insurance Appraiser™, to determine whether the stone is natural or synthetic (and to be sure its qualities are as stated in the appraisal)

©2000-2018, JCRS Inland Marine Solutions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Subscribe to Jewelry Insurance Issues

Become a Certified Insurance Appraiser™ and be a Preferred Provider of appraisals for insurers and consumers.

Next class is May 14-17, 2018 in Louisville KY.

JIBNA Scholarships available

More Info        Sign Up


Manual JIBNA