August 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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What happens to stolen jewelry?

You can find anything on the internet these days. Chances are you could even find that stolen ring on which you just paid a huge settlement.

When a thief is caught with the goods, the stolen property is confiscated by police. Law enforcement agencies store it in their property room and eventually sell any unclaimed goods at auction. It used to be that the auctions were obscure events held in parking lots.

Now they might be on the net.

Bid Increment:
Minimum Bid:
Time left:
4 days


Maybe the jewelry is here: accepts merchandise on consignment from law enforcement agencies around the country and puts it up for bid. They claim about 1,400 law enforcement agencies in 47 states sell through the site.

For sale is everything from leaf blowers to laptops, from fire trucks to cervical traction systems. But about 40% of the site's volume—$38 million in 2008—comes from jewelry and watches.

A graduate gemologist on staff appraises jewelry and gives it a value. High-end pieces get lab reports. Top-brand watches are sent to an expert for authentication. Following the familiar online auction format, propertyroom pictures the item, states a value, and opens to bidding. says they maintain the only nationwide registry available to the general public for recovering lost or stolen goods. They record the serial number of each item received and check the numbers against the Stolen Property Registry. If there's a match, they contact the owner and return the item. Individuals can even register the serial numbers of items they own in case the items are ever lost or stolen.

This looks like a good place for insurers (and customers) to look for stolen jewelry.

But . . . It turns out this is little more than an auction site. A search for “diamond jewelry” turns up pages of items, many with an opening bid of just $1; but when we limited our search to police property room items, there was nothing. Apparently none of the jewelry pictured was stolen; it was just jewelry for sale, some of it from other online sites. Theft victims or insurers looking for stolen jewelry here would be wasting their time.

Or how about here: is another site that sounds promising, with its links to government auctions and foreclosures.

However . . . despite its name, the site doesn't even claim that the goods it displays for auction were confiscated by law enforcement. There's no reason to look for stolen jewelry here.

Or maybe here:

Jewelers' Security Alliance (JSA) is a non-profit trade association established in 1883. JSA set up to be a “central clearinghouse for the jewelry industry, law enforcement, insurance personnel and the general public to share information on jewelry that has been stolen or recovered in the United States.”

It has reports on jewelry store thefts around the country and a list, with photos, of “most wanted” robbery suspects. There is a form for submitting a crime report and a form for reporting jewelry losses. The site also allows users to search for recovered gems, jewelry and watches.

However . . . not much jewelry is listed there, and there are no entries for jewelry that has been recovered. The list of items stolen and the statistics on thefts are woefully incomplete. Meanwhile, there is an extensive collection of links to providers of burglar alarms, surveillance systems, locks and the like. In short, the site seems to be primarily an advertising tool for the jewelry industry.


No doubt stolen jewelry is being offered for sale on the internet. It's commonly understood that a lot of the goods available on eBay and similar sites are hot. Bloggers lament the difficulty of verifying that name-brand used goods offered online are not stolen. Meanwhile some sites, like those referenced above, imply they are selling stolen goods in order to suggest that buyers will be getting a bargain.

In this highly interconnected age, it seems that there should be a national registry for stolen jewelry. Or at least a site where recovered jewelry could be listed and described, so that victims or insurers could retrieve their jewelry. So far, this hasn't happened.

However . . . there are steps insurers can take to increase their chances of retrieving stolen jewelry. See below.



In the event of a theft, it's possible that the jewelry will be recovered by law enforcement, or uncovered when the piece is sent for to a lab for grading or to the manufacturer for repair. To report stolen jewelry or to identify recovered items, descriptive information is needed. This is the same information that allows the underwriter to determine insurance-to-value (ITV) and the adjuster to properly price a replacement.

Play the Numbers Game

Important information identifying the jewelry should be on file.

This diamond is etched with its GIA certificate number.
(This service is optional.)

A genuine Fabergé egg hasthe limited edition number on it.

A Longines watch has its serial number laser engraved on the case back.

For quality diamonds and colored gems, have a report from a respected lab—GIA, AGS or GCAL. These labs often inscribe the stone with its report number. The inscribed number is unique and can function as a serial number in identifying the gem.

For luxury watches, be sure to have the manufacturer, style number, and serial number-as well as any other details available. This information is useful not only in identifying the specific watch but also in establishing the age of the piece. Watches, unlike most other fine jewelry, lose value as they age. A 20-year-old Rolex would be replaced in most cases by a similar 20-year-old Rolex, not a new one.


Thefts of expensive jewelry:


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