March 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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Palladium-the Other Precious White Metal

Palladium and amethyst earrings
Palladium and amethyst earrings

Beginning in January 2010, all palladium jewelry sold in the UK must be hallmarked by a government assay office after testing to ensure that the metal content meets a recognized standard. Palladium has made its way into the exalted company of gold, silver and platinum as a precious metal.

Hallmarks & Consumer Protection

“10% IRID PLAT” means the piece is 90% platinum and 10% iridium. Iridium is the best alloying agent for platinum, producing the hardest, whitest, heaviest and most expensive kind of platinum.

This piece is 14K yellow gold and the stones are set in a palladium plate.

This white gold ring is purity-stamped according to two systems: karatage (18K) and the decimal equivalent (750). Both marks indicate the ring is 75% pure gold.

Various countries have different hallmarking laws and customs. This European ring carries a number of stamps, each of which has a meaning. The purity mark is 375, indicating the piece is 37.5% pure gold.

925, or 92.5% silver, qualifies this piece to be called “sterling silver.” The symbol following is the manufacturer's hallmark.

Hallmark laws are basically about truth in advertising. If a ring is being sold as gold, for example, how pure is the gold, and who's saying so? The hallmark stamped inside the ring should tell you.

Quality control of precious metals is perhaps the oldest known form of consumer protection. There are articles of Byzantine silver from the 4th century bearing markings comparable to today's hallmarks. During the Middle Ages, craft guilds in Europe developed standards for fineness of precious metals. Craftsmen stamped their finished works with the symbol of their guild, as evidence that the work met established standards of craftsmanship. Those stamped symbols are the forerunners of our contemporary trademarks and purity marks in jewelry.

In the U.S. today, the Metal Stamping Act governs gold, silver and platinum articles offered for sale. For example, the Act requires that anything sold as “gold” must be marked with the karatage, say 10k or 14k. This indicates the amount of gold in the piece. Since pure gold is expressed as 24 karats, an item marked 14k is 14/24 gold; the rest is alloy.

The purity of metals like platinum, silver and palladium is usually expressed in parts per thousand. Thus a stamp of 950 means the item is 950 parts precious metal and 50 parts alloy. (Alloys are added to improve the durability, color or other attributes of a metal, so that it can be used for jewelry.)

The law further requires that any gold item stamped with karatage must also be stamped with the manufacturer's trademark. Its presence on the item means that the owner of the mark stands behind the claim of purity stamped on the metal.

Many countries have laws governing quality of precious metals—usually including gold, silver and platinum. Why is palladium suddenly joining the big three?

Palladium - Platinum's Cheaper Sister

Palladium is in the platinum group of metals. It's silver-white appearance is similar to that of platinum, but palladium is even whiter. It's also lighter in weight, making it a better choice for large pieces of jewelry. The palladium and amethyst earrings shown above are lighter to wear than if they were made in platinum.

Palladium doesn't react to oxygen at normal temperatures, so it won't tarnish. Because of its hardness, it doesn't readily show signs of wear. Most important, palladium looks very like expensive platinum but costs about a third the price.

Though its name is not well recognized, palladium has been around for quite a while. It was discovered in 1803 and named after the asteroid Pallas, which had been discovered two years earlier. Palladium jewelry was made during Victorian times, and it had another burst of popularity during World War II when platinum was reserved for military purposes. But throughout its history and even today most palladium goes to industrial use, primarily in catalytic converters for automobiles.

While industrial use dominates, jewelry manufacture is increasing its palladium share. A few years ago the prices of platinum and gold began to rise steeply, so palladium became more appealing. Chinese jewelers have begun fabricating large amounts of palladium jewelry, and extensive advertising in that country is creating a growing market among young people. Meanwhile, the economic downturn has made consumers around the world extremely cost-consciousness.

Palladium doesn't yet have the cachet of platinum, gold, or silver, but inclusion in Britain's hallmark laws signals a move in that direction.


Appraisals often do not give the manufacturer's name (or the jewelry's style number). Jewelers conceal this information to give the impression that each piece is unique and also to prevent customers from comparison shopping. However, this is exactly the information the adjuster needs to price a replacement.

The manufacturer's trademark will appear as a symbol, probably indecipherable by you or the insured. Ask the seller for the name of the manufacturer, and be sure the name appears on the appraisal and detailed sales receipt.
Amazingly, some jewelry insurance appraisals do not even mention the metal used! Be sure the metal is stated, along with its purity. This information is essential for setting appropriate premiums and pricing a replacement.

An appraisal should include the following information:

Recommend that policyholders submit appraisals on JISO 78/79, prepared by a Certified Insurance Appraiser™, or on JISO 806, prepared by a jewelry/appraiser of their choice. These standardized forms prompt the appraiser for all necessary information.

Platinum and palladium look similar; the names may sound similar to a consumer; and the seller's assurance that both are from “the platinum family” may leave a buyer with the impression the two metals are similar in all ways. They are not similar in value—depending on the market, platinum can sell for 3-4 times the price of palladium. Be sure the metal is stated on the appraisal.


Palladium may discolor at high soldering temperatures, become brittle with repeated heating and cooling, and react with strong acids. When dealing with a damage claim on palladium, check whether the jewelry had recently been to a jeweler for cleaning, resizing, etc., as those services may have been responsible for the damage.

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