January 2010

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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Emeralds—And What They Include

Emerald is one of the most popular gemstones and has been for centuries. Emerald is also very likely to include non-gem material in the stone. What those inclusions mean depends on who’s looking—gemologist, consumer, seller or insurer.

Gemologist’s View

Over the millennia of its growth, emerald meets with other minerals and with various geological conditions, each of which leaves distinctive traces in the gem material. Under high magnification, these traces of non-gem material and subterranean events appear as colorful striations, needles, or fibrous lines. They may look like water bubbles frozen in the stone. There seem to be cracks, fissures, splashes and shapes of all kinds. Inclusions in emerald sometimes look so much like rich foliage that gemologists refer to them as a “garden.”

Inclusions are also a life’s record. They give evidence of where the gem material formed and what it encountered in its development.

Edward J. Gübelin, a gemologist who pioneered the study of gem inclusions in the mid-20th century, wrote with a discoverer’s exuberance: “Inclusions in gemstones speak eloquently of the geological origins and subsequent history of their costly host. All we need to do is open our eyes and explore.”

Dealer’s & Seller’s View

What is fascinating and beautiful under a microscope often loses its charm when we behold it with the naked eye. An emerald used in jewelry should be a transparent green. Inclusions in the gem can appear as dark spots, and extremely included emeralds may look cloudy or even opaque, rather than transparent.

Since the most desirable gems are clear, gem dealers have developed several clarity-enhancement techniques. These treatments do not change the gem itself, they simply conceal its flaws. A clarity-enhanced gem is more likely to sell and is able to draw a higher price than it otherwise would.

Consumer’s & Insurer’s View

It’s a given that the consumer wants beautiful jewelry. After that, buyers and insurers of jewelry have similar interests: both want the jewelry to be properly valued.

To be sure that price and valuation are appropriate, both buyer and insurer should know the exact quality of the gem. For emerald, clarity is especially significant.

Clarity Enhancement Treatments

Oiling. The most widely used technique for emerald is oiling, which brings out the gem’s color and diminishes its flaws. It is assumed that emeralds are oiled, and the treatment need not be specifically disclosed.

Other treatments should be disclosed:

Fracture filling is an inexpensive treatment widely used on emeralds. To make an inferior gem look clearer and more valuable, technicians fill in any surface-breaking fissures with some other material. Literally thousands of products are used for the filling.

Fracture filling makes an emerald look better to the naked eye but, as you can see from the close-up photo, the fractures are still easily seen through a microscope.

Laser drilling. If non-gem material is found in the stone, technicians may use a laser to drill a channel to the inclusion and remove it. Then they fill in the channel.

Some fillers may not be stable. If the filling breaks down, the stone will return to its original unattractive appearance. In some cases, fillers have been know to expand over time, causing the stone to shatter.

Laser-drilling and fracture-filling make the emerald look better (to the naked eye), but they do not improve the stone. They merely conceal its flaws.

If laser-drilling and fracture-filling treatments are not disclosed,
the buyer (or insurer) is deceived into thinking the stone is more valuable than it really is.

For insurers especially, it’s important to be aware that inclusions, whether visible or not, make a gem more liable to damage. Emerald material has a low rating for “toughness”, or resistance to chipping and breaking. This brittleness means emerald can damage from impact, as from a fall.

Excessive inclusions make emerald more vulnerable to damage. Even if they are masked by enhancement treatments, inclusions compromise the gem, allowing it to chip and fracture more easily.

Synthetic Emerald

Chatham Created Emerald Bracelet

Mined emeralds without inclusions are extremely rare. In fact, a sizeable emerald without flaw would be worth far more than a diamond of similar clarity.

However, emeralds without inclusions can be readily grown in a lab. So synthesized emerald is another response to the desire for attractive, unincluded emerald at an affordable price.

Lab-grown gems are chemically and physically identical to mined gems, yet synthetic gems generally sell for 5-10% of the price of a natural gem. Because of this immense price difference, it is essential that synthesized gems be disclosed on the appraisal.


Be sure the appraisal states what treatments have been performed on the stone, or explicitly states that the stone is untreated. Untreated emeralds are worth considerably more than treated emeralds.

A JISO 78/79 appraisal, the insurance industry’s standard for detail and accuracy, carries this essential information.

Not every jeweler, nor even every trained gemologist, is competent to appraise emeralds. A reliable appraiser of emerald is a jeweler experienced in the buying and selling of colored gems. The appraiser should be a Graduate Gemologist, preferably a Certified Insurance Appraiser™.

For more discussion of insuring emerald jewelry, see the October 06 issue of JII.


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.

Both mined and lab-grown emeralds are real emerald, but synthesized gems have a much lower market value. Be sure to to distinguish the difference when pricing a replacement.

Terms such as lab-grown, man-made, created, and cultured mean that the emerald is synthesized.

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