April 2009

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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On Guard Against Fraud

Being Certain about that Cert

Diamond certificates and lab reports are easy to come by—and that could be the problem. Retailers depend more and more on diamond reports to drive sales, and in the flurry of certs, some are just doing a con job.

What good is a Diamond Certificate?

A good diamond certificate verifies the quality of the stone by describing it in detail. The analysis is done by trained gemologists using state-of-the-art equipment. A reliable certifying lab is one that has built a reputation for accuracy and impartiality.

Unfortunately, there are two kinds of fraudulent lab reports that can con you: the outright imposter and the sales tool.

Imposter: Counterfeit Certificate

Counterfeiting diamond certificates is a growing scam that reaches around the world. Last fall the jewelry industry was abuzz over two forged diamond reports from the U.S. that turned up in Europe.

The certificates appeared to be from the Gemological Institute of America, the premier diamond-grading lab, but they turned out to be forgeries. Two valid GIA reports had been altered to match similar, but lower quality, stones. The fraud was only discovered because Gübelin, a prominent European lab, examined the diamonds and found they did not match the description on their “GIA” diamond reports.

These stones, one over 2 carats and the other more than 4 carats, had undergone treatments, but the treatments were not mentioned on the forged reports. As discussed in our last issue, color and clarity treatments greatly lower the value of the stone, and the larger the stone, the greater the value discrepancy.

Certificate forgeries are done primarily to cheat the buyer, but of course they can ultimately cheat the insurer. GIA is such a recognized and respected name that its reports are often accepted without question, making them popular targets for forgery. AGS, GCAL and Gübelin also produce reliable diamond reports.

You can—and should!—verify the authenticity of a diamond report through the appropriate Web site:

GIA Report Check
AGS Report Verification
GCAL Certificate Search
Gübelin Gem Lab

Sales Tool: It Comes with the Stone

There’s nothing so convincing as a piece of paper that says, What you are buying is really valuable! That’s the psychology, anyway. So, any certificate offered by the seller to verify a gem’s quality or value is immediately suspect.

Lab reports with valuations

Be wary of an official-looking lab report (or “gem report” or “diamond description” or “summary of appraisal” or whatever it is called) that carries a valuation. A lab report attests to the quality of the stone, not its value in the marketplace. Valuation is not a lab’s business, but an appraiser’s job. Valuation may change over time, but an accurate description of the stone does not.

“Flexible” grading

Experience shows that lab reports supplied by the retailer often exaggerate the quality of the jewelry (as well as overstate the value). Labs (or appraisers) that inflate a gem’s qualities by a few grades sometimes assert that they are within an acceptable margin of error, but this is not true. Exaggerating by even one grade in color or clarity significantly inflates the valuation, and the larger the stone, the greater the discrepancy.

Bulk purchases of Certificates

Retailers can buy diamond reports in bulk to accompany stones that were never examined by a gemologist. The reports may carry descriptions based only on the supplier’s description. Some retailers never question the description or examine the stones themselves.

“Certified Diamonds” from bogus labs

Disreputable or non-existent labs can say anything on a “report” and never be called to account. You may wind up paying a settlement based on the diamond report, so you want to be sure the report comes from a reliable source.

A chain of victims

Sometimes gem suppliers include lab reports with the gems they sell to retailers. In such cases, the retailers—as well as the subsequent consumers and, potentially, the insurers—are taken in.

Too little information

Be especially careful insuring purchases from shopping networks and internet sites, especially eBay. As we’ve discussed in other issues of JII, these sellers rely a lot on hype and rarely disclose all information about the jewelry (such as treatments). Consumers often buy on impulse or assume they are getting a bargain, rather than carefully comparison shop.

Also be cautious about insuring jewelry purchased while the client is traveling. Scams aimed at vacationers are widespread, and any certificates may be as phony as the “bargains.”

Save your client from a scam

Unless you, the agent, point out the potential for fraud, your client may not see the need to have such purchases appraised by a disinterested appraiser or examined by a reputable lab. You can do your client a good turn by passing on the above links so the client can educate him/herself about the dangers of unreliable lab reports.


GIA  (Gemological Institute of America)  GIA Report Check

AGS Laboratories
  AGS Report Verification

(Gem Certification and Assurance Lab)  GCAL Certificate Search

übelin  Gem Lab (based in Switzerland)  Gübelin Gem Lab

These are the ONLY labs
we can recommend for reliable diamond certificates. For high-value stones, insist on a report from one of these reputable labs. And verify the authenticity of the report on the lab’s Web site, using the links.


Don’t take at face value just any document that calls itself a diamond report. Consider the source. Any certificate you accept may be the basis for a future settlement, so you want to be sure the certificate is reliable. Trust only the labs recommended above.

Be wary of a diamond report if:

If a client submits a report from one of the reliable labs listed above, check the report’s authenticity.

And finally, remember that even a good lab report is not a substitute for an appraisal. The lab report describes only the stone; an appraisal describes the jewelry as a whole, including metal type, karatage, weight, trademark, etc. Ideally the appraisal should be on JISO 78/79, prepared by Graduate Gemologist who is a Certified Insurance Appraiser™.


If you have a report from one of the reliable labs, hopefully it was authenticated and you can trust it.

If there is a only a report from a lab not listed above, compare the report’s description with the description on the appraisal. Compare the valuation with the purchase price, if available. When a large settlement is at issue, it could be worthwhile to consult a jewelry insurance professional to help determine the true quality and value of the jewelry and avoid a large overpayment


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