February 2011

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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Replicas—Are they the real thing?

When it comes to jewelry, what does “replica” mean? And how is replica jewelry valued?

In terms of both meaning and value, there’s a broad spectrum.

Sometimes a Replica is just a reminder

The biggest story in replica jewelry these days is the production of knockoffs of the ring Prince William gave his fiancée Kate Middleton. The royal ring, which belonged to his mother Princess Diana, has a 16-carat natural blue sapphire surrounded by diamonds. Its value is put at between $150,000 and “priceless.”

Royal ring: >$150,000

Mass produced replicas:
$3 retail

The $99 version


Replicas of the ring are being produced in China by the tens of thousands and sold around the world. Probably the cheapest are made of plastic and quartz crystal; they wholesale for 45 cents and retail for $3.

Obviously, these replicas are not trying to pass as valuable jewelry. They are for the souvenir market, much like an Eiffel Tower refrigerator magnet or a paperweight shaped like the Sphinx.

A slightly more upscale version is also available. On this ring, the surrounding stones are cubic zirconia — CZ, fake diamond — and the sapphire is low-cost synthetic stone. This $99 model is also just a cheap knockoff. Though its appeal is mainly as a cultural artifact, the ad copy tries to suggest that the piece is comparable to the royal ring and has enduring value as jewelry. Is anyone being fooled? If the Royal Ring crosses your desk, don’t bite!

Period jewelry—making it new (& often better)

On the other end of the value spectrum is very fine replica jewelry, expertly crafted pieces patterned after jewelry styles from the past.

Jewelry styles are often associated with a particular time period, so jewelry made “in the style of” an earlier period is sometimes considered a replica. Contemporary craftsmen may replicate particular pieces from an earlier era, or they may make creative use of the signature features of that period to produce original creations.

Brooch/pendant of 18K yellow gold with diamonds and exquisite enamel work characteristic of Nouveau, $3,000

18K gold and sterling silver ring with blue sapphires and cultured pearl.  $950

Nouveau pendant of 18K white gold with diamonds.  $2, 560


Art Nouveau jewelry, for example, is much admired today. At its height from about 1880 to the First World War, the Art Nouveau movement was a revolt against the industrialization of jewelry-making. Jewelry of the period emphasized fluid lines, colorful enamel work and natural subjects, such as plants and the female figure.

One company has produced for modern buyers some of the same pieces it made when Art Nouveau was daring and avant-garde. These pieces are even better made than they could have been a century ago.

Deco bracelet of 18K white gold with diamonds and sapphires in popular Greek key design. $14,000

Deco pendant in silver and black onyx. $254


Art Deco’s angular, geometric features are also popular today. Designers also turn to Edwardian, Georgian, or Victorian periods for style ideas. The contemporary pieces may be better-made than jewelry from the period because gem cutting and other craftsmanship techniques have improved, and certain precious gems and metals are now more available.

Even Fabergé eggs, the masterpieces made for the Tsars of Russia between 1886 and 1917, have their modern counterparts. The one shown here is from a limited edition of 75. The egg features a snake with diamonds on the body and emerald eyes. The egg opens to reveal a green enameled frog.

Modern Fabergé egg. $17,760


This egg is not a copy of one of the imperial eggs but was made (under license from the House of Fabergé) using techniques and materials associated with the famous eggs of that earlier time. While it is a valuable work of jeweler’s art, its price does not compare with that of the Fabergé Winter Egg, made for the tsar in 1913, which sold at auction in 1994 for $5.5 million.

Bad copies of big names

Between high-quality jewelry and souvenir-grade stuff is a world of replicas, with something for every pocketbook. The Internet is full of sites trading on the name of a historical period, such as art deco, to market mediocre or poor quality merchandise.

Other sites openly advertise that their replicas are unauthorized imitations of famous name brands. One site boasts of carrying “only the most authentic looking replicas.” The jewelry may come with official-looking documentation and packaging and the consumer may be fooled. Or the consumer may realize he was taken in and want to pass his loss on to the insurer through a bogus claim. See our issue on the Hazards of Fakes for more information.

Only an appraisal from a qualified and experienced appraiser can tell you what the jewelry — replica or otherwise — is worth.


As an insurer, assume nothing about value. Take the word of an expert — an experienced graduate gemologist, preferably a Certified Insurance Appraiser™. The appraiser should be someone who is familiar with the market for the jewelry being appraised.

If you are dealing with old jewelry, such as inherited pieces, it would help to review our earlier issue on antique jewelry, which discusses terminology and warns about issues of concern to insurers.


Jewelry in the style of an earlier era may originate from that period or it may be modern. Its valuation is based on its quality.

Scrutinize the appraisal. If necessary, investigate the appraiser’s qualifications. Remember that appraising period jewelry requires an expertise beyond that of most jewelers dealing in contemporary pieces.

Don't take brand names at face value. There is big money in faking big name jewelry.

Be wary of high-value jewelry from unauthorized dealers, especially Internet sellers.


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