February 2013

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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Wedding Band by Lisa Krikawa

Silver: the new gold

As the price of gold has gone stratospheric in the past few years, many jewelry buyers are turning to the less expensive precious metal. Meanwhile, silver is going through some exciting changes that expand jewelry-making possibilities.

Silver is the most malleable of metals. It's said that a gram of silver could be drawn into a wire a mile long. It is the brightest metal.

On its own, silver is too soft to be used for jewelry, but adding a small amount of copper greatly increases its durability. Adding 75 parts copper to 925 parts silver produces what silversmiths in the past concluded was the ideal mix. According to the National Stamping Act of 1906, silver that is at least 925/1000 silver can be stamped and sold as "sterling silver."


Brooch by Pedro Boregaard

One attribute of silver is that it oxidizes.

Oxidation is a chemical reaction that takes place when silver is exposed to air, causing its surface to darken. Owners of antique jewelry often value this patina as an enhancement of the jewelry's beauty.

Some contemporary artisans take advantage of this trait and incorporate it into the design of their silver jewelry. They have even developed solutions that accelerate oxidation, so they can control the tones of tarnish and produce subtle effects that would take years to achieve naturally.

On the other hand, if what you are selling—or buying—is shine, then the darkening of silver is considered tarnish and must be polished away. This polishing is not only an inconvenience for jewelry owners, but also a chore for jewelers who carry silver pieces and artisans who create them.

Silversmiths working with the metal face the additional problem of fire scale, or fire stain. This is a purplish discoloration that occurs when copper, used as an alloy, mixes with oxygen at high temperatures. It's the bane of silver jewelry manufacturing and it cannot be polished away. Silver pieces are often silver-plated to cover unsightly fire stain that occurred in the manufacturing process.

A new epoch for silver

Dramatic changes began in 1990 when silversmith Peter Johns began investigating the possible use of the element germanium in jewelry making. It turns out that germanium, when added to sterling silver, produces a surface oxide layer that actually keeps tarnish at bay and also prevents fire stain.

Cuff by Patricia Tschetter

The germanium-based alloy is trademarked as Argentium and there are several variants on the market. Argentium silver is brighter than platinum, white gold or traditional sterling. It is low maintenance, easy to care for and clean. Another plus: as it turns out, a side effect of the protective surface layer caused by germanium is that it renders the jewelry hypoallergenic.

Silversmiths call the fusing properties of the new alloys amazing. They no longer need to solder pieces together. Argentium silver can fuse to itself, making possible complex, multi-part pieces that would have been inconceivable before. Silversmith Bill Hoefer declares, "Tarnish-resistant alloys have given the art of silversmithing its biggest boost in centuries."

More innovations with silver

One jeweler uses platinum and palladium as silver alloys. In addition to eliminating tarnish, these metals give silver greater strength and durability, so the jewelry needn't be as bulky as with copper alloys.

And there are more inventions in the making. Scientists in Britain are experimenting with a way to make silver (and gold and other metals) appear to be different colors. The method involves embossing tiny raised or indented patterns onto the metal's surface. The embossing doesn't alter the chemical composition of the metal. It merely changes how the wavelengths of light are absorbed and reflected, thereby changing how the color is perceived by the eye. In the future, silver jewelry may appear in a rainbow of colors, perhaps even several colors in the same piece.

"The new gold"

Silver has been regarded as a precious metal for thousands of years, but it's not nearly as costly as gold. On a typical day this past month, silver was trading at about $30 per ounce, while gold was hovering around $1600. In value as a raw mineral, silver is not likely to catch up any time soon.

Calling silver "the new gold" is a way of bringing attention to silver as a metal worthy of fine jewelry. Silver jewelry is accessible to more people because of its lower cost, and the diversity of techniques and finishes now developing means more design variety is possible. The Silver Promotion Service recommends gifts of silver jewelry to mark the 25th anniversary not only of weddings but of any event or venture. We can expect to see more of silver jewelry.


Jewelry that is stamped sterling silver must, by law, contain 925/1000 parts silver.

Argentium trademark

Argentium, or Argentium silver, is sterling silver. It should carry both the Argentium trademark and be marked "sterling silver."

Although silver is considered a precious metal, it is not nearly as costly as gold.

Make no assumptions about the value of designer jewelry. For all scheduled jewelry, be sure to get a detailed, descriptive appraisal from an appraiser who is aware of the current market.

For high-value pieces, get two appraisals; at least one of them should be from an appraiser who has a GG, FGA+, or equivalent degree, and preferably who is also a Certified Insurance Appraiser™.

Jewelry, like other material objects, takes its value from the marketplace. Jewelry may be high-priced while the designer is popular, but can fall severely in value if that designer's work goes out of fashion.


Argentium silver is sterling silver, made with an alloy that causes it to resist tarnishing. Jewelry identified as Argentium should be replaced with Argentium jewelry.

A settlement is based on value at time of loss. This is especially relevant for jewelry purchased during a trend. Yesterday's fad jewelry may be worth only the value of its metal and gem material. On the other hand, a relatively unknown designer may become famous and his works may appreciate in value.

Be sure the appraisal valuation is recent and reliable.

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