June 2010

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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How Photos Cut Fraud
           —and help the insured

A surprising number of jewelry policies are written without pictures of the jewelry. What's so bad about that?

Bogus claims, that's what. And, an honest client could be unprotected.

Picture This # 1:

A client applies for insurance on a bracelet. She has the appraisal and even the sales receipt—but they're quite a bit out of date. Why has she waited so long before getting the jewelry insured? Could it be that the jewelry is already lost, and a policy is being acquired in order to make a future bogus claim?

A photo, taken by the agent or the insured, short-circuits such a fraudulent claim. The photo is evidence that the jewelry is in the client's possession at the time the policy is written.

Picture This # 2:

A client applies for insurance on a ring, presenting an appraisal that carries a picture of the jewelry. This might seem to meet the picture requirement, but there are drawbacks. If the insurer gets a copy of the appraisal, rather than the original, the printed image will be severely deteriorated. If the document is faxed, the image will probably be useless.

Copy of appraisal picture

Fax of appraisal picture


Best is to have a full-color electronic image. For complex jewelry, have several views of the piece.

Picture this #3:

Along with the appraisals, a client submits pictures of the jewelry taken at home. Are such photos acceptable?

Definitely, yes. For example, some women are not comfortable removing their wedding rings but will happily have them photographed at home. People may prefer to take their own pictures for safety reasons, or simply out of pride in the jewelry. Even though not of the highest quality, such photos are valuable to have on file as they visually identify the jewelry.

Picture This # 4:

A client applies for a policy on some inherited jewelry. It's been stored in his mother's safe deposit box for years. Now it belongs to him and he wants to insure the lot of it. He presents the schedule from his mother's policy. A few months after the new policy is written, a claim is filed: one of the pieces is missing.

The question is, was that piece even in the group? Perhaps the piece had been sold, lost or given as a gift after the former policy was written. The agent did not see the jewelry. And the heir probably did not go through the schedule and compare it with the contents of the safe. Photos of all the jewelry would have verified the existence of the jewelry claimed as lost.

On the other hand, what if jewelry had been added to the safety deposit box after the original policy was written? If that were so, the added jewelry would not be covered in the new policy—which is certainly not what the heir intends. Ideally, pictures of all the jewelry are included with the schedule. Both the policyholder and the insurer benefit from this level of documentation.

Picture This # 5:

A claim is made on lost jewelry said to be unique, complex, and therefore irreplaceable. On complex jewelry items, a written description, even from a jeweler, may not be detailed enough to make a replacement.

But as the cliché has it, a picture can be worth a thousand of words. A design that appears unique to the customer may turn out to be easily duplicated by a professional jeweler who can copy it from a picture. And that would probably cost the insurer considerably less than the limit of liability.

A picture of complex jewelry also protects the client. In case of a loss, the written description may sound simple and result in a settlement that is too low. A picture shows the complexity involved and makes possible a more satisfactory payment on the claim.

Picture This # 6:

A client submits an appraisal that has a recent date, along with a photo of the jewelry. However, it turns out that the appraiser has not recently seen the jewelry—he's just updated the valuation from his appraisal of 10 years ago and has supplied the 10-year-old picture from his files. This means the picture is not useful as evidence that the jewelry is currently in the client's possession. Again, this could be a set-up for a fraudulent claim, and the appraiser could be an intended or unintended co-conspirator.

Picture This # 7:

A customer submits the certificate that came with the jewelry she bought online, and the certificate has a photo on it.

Certificates, gem ID cards, and other such documents that accompany jewelry at time of sale, especially jewelry sold online, often carry a generic picture rather than a photo of the specific piece of jewelry the buyer purchased. A photo by the agent or the insured verifies the appearance of the exact jewelry being insured.

Also, such point-of-sale documents are basically sales tools, prepared in advance for display. Be wary of appraisals, certs and the like that are not specifically prepared for, and addressed to, your client. Such a document can change hands; if it becomes the basis for a policy on jewelry not owned by your client, the insurer is being set up for a subsequent bogus claim.

Picture This # 8:

There's a string of burglaries, and jewelry is what the thieves are after. Eventually the thieves are caught and police take possession of a substantial cache of goods. Most of the items are insured but, as we know, making sense of the details on an appraisal and jewelry schedule is the work of a professional jeweler. For law enforcement officials, matching stolen jewelry with its picture is much easier.

Without photos, the likelihood of recovering stolen jewelry is virtually nonexistent.


An agent's or client's photo of the jewelry is the best evidence that the jewelry exists and is in the policyholder's possession.

You can make photographing the jewelry a normal part of writing the policy, as it takes only a few moments. A small setup with digital camera (turn on the macro) and lighting (turn off the flash) will suffice. Often the client in your office is wearing the jewelry, especially with engagement rings and wedding sets.

A remark of admiration for the jewelry goes a long way in customer relations. And a little time spent photographing the jewelry will impress the client with your thoroughness and attention.


Make use of the picture when pricing a replacement. It often reveals details that are not on the appraisal.

A photograph, even a poor one, may show that a lost piece of jewelry can be duplicated. This will probably be much less costly than paying the full limit of liability, especially considering the inflated nature of most appraisals.

Always take photos of a damaged item. (Photos of damaged cars are a regular part of the auto claim procedure, though a totaled car may cost the insurer less that a total-loss payout on jewelry!) A photo of the jewelry may show that the damage can be repaired at far less expense than a total-loss payout.

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