July 2005

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

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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One of a Kind — or Not?

Jewelry can be an emotional purchase, a major expenditure, often marking a life-changing occasion. The buyer thinks of that ring as unique, custom-made, one-of-a-kind, irreplaceable – only it's… not.

Here are some terms often used in connection with jewelry. They might even appear on an appraisal. It's a good idea to know what they mean — or rather, what they don't mean.


As far as jewelry is concerned, "custom-made" is a meaningless term. Most jewelry today is made of prefabricated parts put together. A jeweler can order from catalogs some basic ring shanks (the part that surrounds the finger), heads (what holds the stone), and gemstones, and put them together. Or the parts may be put together by a manufacturer and sold to the retailer as complete pieces.

A buyer may be shown a ring but prefer that design set with a different stone. The jeweler constructs a ring to these specifications, or orders one so constructed. Such workmanship would correctly be described on the appraisal as "cast and hand-assembled."

This ring is custom-made in the sense that your kitchen sink is custom-made, since all the plumbing underneath has been put together to fit.

Even a piece designed from scratch is not necessarily unique. Suppose you had someone carve a wax model and make a mold, from which your jewelry was then cast. If that mold was broken or was given to you after your piece was made, your jewelry is unique. Otherwise, the mold may be used again and again — and your jewelry is no longer unique.

Such misuse of "custom" designs was involved in a widely publicized case a few years ago. Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston sued the Italian jewelry house Damiani, which had made their engagement ring and wedding bands, for reproducing the rings without their knowledge. (The suit was resolved by Pitt joining Damiani "to create an exclusive jewelry collection.")


Occasionally jewelry is handmade, but handmade does not mean unique. Nor does it mean the piece is irreplaceable. If a picture of the jewelry exists, or if the jewelry is merely damaged, the piece can usually be reconstructed. Making a match for a lost earring, even one that is handmade, will cost the insurer less than paying a total loss.

Except for the work of famous artists, jewelry is usually not copyrightable as it is generally considered "prior art." That is, it's just a variation of something that already exists. And it can be made again.

In these days of computer-aided design, it is easy to duplicate almost any jewelry, including handmade and custom-made pieces. Just because it's unique doesn't mean it can't be recreated. One jewelry replacement lab regularly uses CAD-CAM equipment to help insurers and their clients replace what was thought to be irreplaceable.

One of a Kind, Unique

Extremely few items of jewelry are really unique, one-of-a-kind pieces. The Hope Diamond is unique because of its size and quality.

The Hope Diamond (click for larger image)

Or a piece may be unique because of its history. The art deco style was popular in the early 20th century, and a number of bracelets similar to this one would have been made. However, this one belonged to Howard and Florence Wolverton, the first kidnap and extortion victims of notorious Machine Gun Kelly, and the bracelet's provenance makes it unique. Also, the bracelet's remarkable star sapphire would be difficult to replace.

Woolverton Bracelet from the Machine-Gun Kelly Kidnapping Collection
(click for larger image)

In rare cases the jewelry may be of unique workmanship that is not reproducible. In this set of 18-karat gold watches, each elaborately fashioned watch depicts a different animal motif inspired by the Chinese zodiac. They were made on special order of an Asian royal family and most likely could not be duplicated.

Chinese Zodiac Watches (click to enlarge)

Manufacturer & Style Number

As noted above, the vast majority of jewelry sold today is manufactured in quantity. Most consumers are not aware that their jewelry purchase was ordered by the retailer from a catalog and that it even has a manufacturer's style number. Jewelers tend to conceal this information in order to prevent comparison shopping and to encourage the belief that each piece of jewelry is unique.

Consequently, manufacturer and style number are hardly ever disclosed on the appraisal (see Appraisal Study). If they were, the adjuster's job would be infinitely easier, and the replacement would be the same as the original. This is routinely done with watches, as manufacturer and style number are usually known. To move in this direction with all jewelry, the insurance industry's standard Jewelry Appraisal form (ACORD 78/79) specifically requests manufacturer and style number.

The short of it is: you will seldom encounter one-of-a-kind items. With few exceptions, it is the jewelry's quality of workmanship and gems, rather than uniqueness, that determines value.


The vast majority of jewelry is not unique and does not depend on rarity for its value.

For accurate valuation, rely on the insurance industry's standard Jewelry Appraisal form (ACORD 78/79), prepared by a Certified Insurance Appraiser™ (CIA).

The appraisal should include a photo of the jewelry.


Check the appraisal for the manufacturer and style number. This will greatly help you in pricing a replacement.

Never assume a lost piece cannot be duplicated or a damaged piece cannot be repaired, even if the jewelry looks complicated or the appraisal description is inadequate. As always, a jewelry insurance expert should be consulted before settling the claim.

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