February 2018

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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Best Appraiser Credentials

We've frequently recommended jewelry appraisals from an appraiser who is a GG, FGA+, or CIA. Just what do those letters mean?  And what's with that plus sign?

GG stands for Graduate Gemologist of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).

GIA developed the color-grading and clarity-grading systems widely used around the world. GIA's grading lab is so highly regarded that it is considered the final authority in diamond grading. When grading by different appraisers is in dispute, GIA's opinion is decisive. The Graduate Gemologist program is considered the best gemological training available in this country.

FGA stands for Fellow of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain, also known as Gem-A.

Gem-A is the world's longest established provider of gem and jewelry education, beginning with its first gem course in 1908. Today it teaches classes in 26 countries, and its prestigious gemology and diamond diplomas are recognized throughout the world.

The gemology program covers gemological principles, how to identify gems, and how to use gem-testing equipment. It covers all gemstones, diamond among them. An appraiser who has successfully completed and passed exams for the gemology program can become a Fellow of Gem-A, and use FGA with his name.

FGA+ signifies that the appraiser has completed Gem-A's gemology program plus Gem-A's diamond program.

Since about 90% of jewelry insurance appraisals are for diamond jewelry, it's important to insurers that appraisers have in-depth training with diamond, as well as with colored stones. The credentials GG and FGA+ signify such training.

CIA stands for Certified Insurance Appraiser™. It signifies that an appraiser, who is already a GG or FGA, has also successfully completed a course offered by the Jewelry Insurance Appraisal Institute.

The CIA course covers how jewelry appraisals are used by insurers and what details are needed to properly insure jewelry. These appraisers are trained to use the insurance industry's standard ACORD/JISO 78/79 appraisal forms.


Why the credentials are important

A few decades ago appraisers needed to know, for example, the difference between diamond and CZ (cubic zirconia), or how to distinguish ruby from red beryl. Today, with the explosion of gem technology, the field is much more demanding.

Besides using recognized descriptive terms and grading scales, appraisers must be up to date on the many things that affect valuation, such as color and clarity enhancements, mining practices, lab-grown gems, gemstone branding, fashion, etc.

Although many of these issues affect colored stones, the appraiser's diamond knowledge is especially important. Because diamond's value is much higher, any errors in identifying or valuing diamond have much greater financial consequences.

To protect their clients (and the clients' insurer!), appraisers must be familiar with developments in the following areas:

Color enhancements (must be disclosed)

Clarity treatments (must be disclosed)

Emerald before & after fracture-filling treatment

Lab-grown stones (must be disclosed)

Gemstone masquerades


Market values

Items outside one's expertise




Because insurance professionals are not gemologists, they must be able to trust that the appraisals they receive are accurate and detailed. That means they must be able to trust the appraiser's knowledge, training and ethics.

We suggest relying on appraisers who have one or more of these credentials next to their signature. 

GG     Graduate Gemologist of the Gemological Institute of America
FGA+ Fellow of Gem-A with Diamond diploma (be sure the "+" is there)
CIA    Certified Insurance Appraiser in jewelry, appraiser is also a GG or FGA
Here again, look closely. Because GG (Graduate Gemologist of the GIA) is such a respected credential, appraisers who've taken some classes from GIA may use similar designations. "GIA Certified Appraiser," for example, is not a credential, as the GIA offers neither classes nor certification in appraising. "GIA Diamond Graduate" and other similar designation are not the same as GG. If the appraiser is a Graduate Gemologist, he or she will say so.

A CIA is a GG or FGA+ who has additional training in writing jewelry appraisals for insurance and is a graduate of the Certified Insurance Appraiser course offered by the Jewelry Insurance Appraisal Institute. A CIA-compliant appraiser can be trusted to write the detailed appraisals that insurers need to properly insure jewelry.

The best appraisal includes the JISO 78/79 appraisal form, and is written by a qualified gemologist (GG, FGA+, or equivalent) who has additional insurance appraisal training. One course offering such additional training is the Certified Insurance Appraiser™ (CIA) course of the Jewelry Insurance Appraisal Institute.

As a service to your clients, it is worthwhile to establish a mutually beneficial relationship with an appraiser in your locale who has the appropriate gemological training and writes good appraisals. You'll have someone to recommend who is reliable and fairly priced, saving clients the inconvenience of doing the research themselves. Clients will appreciate your extra work on their behalf. In addition, your business will increase because the appraiser in turn recommends you for jewelry (and other) insurance.

Follow this link to locate a Certified Insurance Appraiser in your area.


Your job always is easier if you are dealing with an ACORD/JISO appraisal: JISO 78/79 Jewelry Appraisal, or JISO 806 Jewelry Document for Insurance Purposes, or JISO 805 Sales Receipt. All of these will give complete information in a standardized format. This information will be sufficient for you to have a qualified jeweler accurately price a replacement.

If one of the above is not available, use JISO 18 Jewelry Appraisal & Claim Evaluation form to analyze data from the documents you have. This is especially helpful if you're faced with a "narrative" appraisal. JISO 18 allows you to order the information from other documents in a useful way and see what details may be missing.  JISO 18 follows the same basic format as the JISO appraisal forms.

Use the appraisal's descriptive data, rather than its valuation, to price a replacement.

If a claim is made for damage, always have the damaged jewelry examined in a gem lab by a trained gemologist (GG, FGA+, or equivalent), preferably one who has additional insurance appraisal training. One course offering such additional training is the Certified Insurance Appraiser™ (CIA) course of the Jewelry Insurance Appraisal Institute, Oakland, CA.



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