September 2016

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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What to look for – on the jewelry appraisal, on the cert, and on other documents

Valuation isn't the only important thing for insuring jewelry.

This is a brief overview & reminder of what insurers should look for, with links to more extensive discussions of the topics.


Detailed Description

Unlike other property claims, where the item is usually damaged, most jewelry losses are total. When a claim is made, there's nothing to inspect. Without a detailed description, the adjuster is at the jeweler's mercy, and even the most honest jeweler will have to rely on guesswork.

Some appraisers include JISO 78/79 as part of their appraisals. The standardized JISO forms are extremely helpful because they prompt the appraiser for all necessary information. (A study of non-JISO appraisals submitted to 21 insurance companies found that only 1% of the appraisals had listed even all 4 Cs of diamonds!)

Keys to required info are in red below the data. Although an underwriter may not understand the values or terminology, he can see whether the appropriate blanks are filled in. If a claim is made, the adjuster can give very precise details when pricing a replacement, and the policyholder is assured of a replacement of like kind and quality.

What's so great about JISO forms & standards?


JISO 78 Appraisal Form



A date on the appraisal is important, since jewelry can rise or fall in value over time. Particularly with expensive jewelry, the valuation should be updated every few years so premiums are appropriate. (Some insurers can independently verify gem values, making appraisal updates unnecessary.)

What affects valuation?


Appraisal date is important because values fluctuate.

 Client's name

Check to be sure the appraisal was prepared for your client. If the appraisal came with the purchase of the jewelry, especially second-hand jewelry, the buyer (and insurer) cannot know whether the appraisal in hand was written for the jewelry in question. The buyer should get a new appraisal.

An appraisal with no client named suggests a boiler-plate document created without an appraiser ever having inspected the jewelry. It is not uncommon for sellers to order a number of identical documents for a type of jewelry they sell, often with inflated valuations.

Appraisal should identify client and have contact info for appraiser.

Appraiser's Credentials

Literally anyone can legally call himself an appraiser. A trained and qualified jewelry appraiser is proud of his credentials and usually appends the appropriate abbreviations to his name. An appraiser with no credentials listed is likely to lack professional training, and the appraisal may not be reliable.

What's a credential worth?

Credential conundrum


Best appraiser credentials:

GG (Graduate Gemologist of the  Gemological Institute of America)
FGA+ (Fellow of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain)
CIA (Certified Insurance Appraiser)



Which Lab?

All diamond grading labs are not equal. Some are notoriously unreliable in grading, some produce reports that include inflated valuations, and some labs are completely bogus (a name on the paper, but no physical address, no phone number, no website). Unless a lab is recognized as reliable, you cannot trust anything the lab report says.

2 labs report on the same stone

Who grades?


The major trustworthy labs:

AGS Report Verifcation
GCAL Certificate Search

You can follow these links to verify lab reports you receive.




Pictures of the jewelry are invaluable if a replacement is ever needed. The agent can take clear jewelry photos with most modern smart phones and can submit the photos to the insurer in jpg format.

It's best to have photos as jpg files, because much information is lost if photos are printed on the appraisal (and much more is lost if the appraisal is then copied for the insurer).

How photos cut fraud — and help the insured

When a picture is worth thousands of dollars



Agent or insured can supply pictures of jewelry for the insurer.

Sales receipt

In the face of "buy now" sales, bogus "discounts," and rampant inflated valuations on appraisals and reports, seeing the sales receipt can bring things down to earth. Valuation should reflect market value, and the selling price is the best evidence of what the jewelry actually sells for in the marketplace.

Sales, discounts, bargains, markdowns…and valuation

Appraisal inflation — it keeps on keeping on


True valuation usually does not exceed the "sale price."

 Watch warrantee

Watches are the most common counterfeit merchandise seized by U.S. customs officials. For any expensive name-brand watch, be sure to keep on file all documents that testify to the watch's value and authenticity, including the sales receipt and any guarantees and warrantees from the manufacturer.


10:1 Annual production of fake Rolexes to authentic Rolexes.



This page is just an OVERVIEW of some essentials. Please follow links in each section for more detailed discussions.

A JCRS survey revealed that 78% of jewelry appraisals submitted to insurers are written by jewelers with NO gemological training. For high-priced jewelry, be sure you have an appraisal from a GG or FGA+, preferably one who is also a Certified Insurance Appraiser™.

Appraisals and lab reports supplied by the seller are sales tools, and they often exaggerate the quality of the jewelry and carry inflated valuations. If you suspect an inflated valuation, recommend getting an additional appraisal from an independent appraiser with the credentials listed above, and a gem report from one of the labs listed above.

Remind clients that an inflated valuation does not change the actual value of the jewelry, and it may result in higher premiums than necessary.

Any luxury watch from an unauthorized source should be thoroughly inspected to be sure that all its parts are genuine. This requires opening the watch case and examining the entire watch in detail. The inspection should be done by an authorized dealer in that brand or a Certified Master Watchmaker for the 21st Century. You don't want to have to replace a knockoff with a genuine item down the line.


Your job is easier if you are dealing with a JISO 78/79 Jewelry Appraisal, or JISO 806 Jewelry Document for Insurance Purposes, or JISO 805 Sales Receipt. They all prompt the appraiser for complete information in a standardized format.

If one of the above is not available, use JISO 18 to analyze data from the documents you have. This is especially helpful if you're faced with a "narrative" (paragraph style) appraisal. JISO 18 allows you to order the information from other documents in a useful way and see what details may be missing.

When pricing a replacement, use descriptive data from the appraisal and lab report, rather than the jewelry's valuation.

Do not blindly accept the bid of the selling jeweler. Get competitive bids, or rely on your own jewelry expert to estimate cost of repair or replacement.
Keep in mind that often appraisals supplied by the seller are sales tools meant to impress the buyer. Their valuations may have little real-world basis. If the appraisal shows a valuation considerably higher than the sales receipt, suspect an inflated valuation.

For damaged brand-name watches, be sure to have the piece examined by an authorized dealer of that brand, or a Certified Master Watchmaker for the 21st Century, to ensure all parts are authentic.

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