January 2018

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


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's a Certified Appraiser?

Unlike the insurance industry, jewelry appraising is completely unregulated. Literally anyone can call himself or herself an appraiser.

Yet an appraiser's qualifications are always important for insurers because: if an appraiser is not properly qualified, how can the appraisal be trusted?

It's the training that matters, not how many certificates are on the appraiser's wall, not impressive-sounding titles or mysterious letters after the appraiser's name.

Know what credentials to look for.

The following example, from one insurer's records, is ultimately about appraiser credentials, but it also brings up a few situations that all insurers encounter and should pay attention to.

The insurer received a submission for coverage on several pieces of jewelry.

  1. It is this insurer's practice to ask for sales receipts on recent purchases (a good idea!).  The receipt submitted showed the purchase price to be less than half of the appraised valuation - a grossly inflated valuation.
  2. Retail jewelers often inflate valuations so customers feel they are getting a bargain. Customers are led to believe the valuation is what the jewelry is "really worth", and they wrongly assume that an inflated appraisal works in their favor for insurance. The underwriter checked and, sure enough, the appraisal was from the seller.
  3. The appraiser's signature was illegible, and there was no indication of appraiser credentials. An appraiser who is proud of his work, and who wants the client's future business, will have his name printed on the appraisal. An illegible signature, with no printed name, is a warning sign for the insurer to be wary.
  4. Suspecting that all the valuations from this retailer were inflated, the insurer asked the client to get appraisals from a Graduate Gemologist.
  5. The client returned to the agent, not with new appraisals but with a photo of her retailer's credentials. That photo is shown above. These 6 certificates all bear the name of the Gemological Institute of America, highly regarded for its gem-grading lab and its Graduate Gemologist Program. The GIA name might put a lot of insurers at ease – but let's see what exactly these certificates signify.


About GIA Diplomas & courses

GG  (Graduate Gemologist)

The GIA offers the internationally respected Graduate Gemologist degree. GG after an appraiser's name signifies superior training that is recognized around the world.

The GIA credential that insurers should look for is Graduate Gemologist. The GG program takes 26 weeks on campus, or study is available online.  In either case, the course includes in-depth study and lab work with both diamonds and colored gems, and requires passing a proctored, closed-book exam.

A Graduate Gemologist knows this degree has recognized value and will usually put GG after his signature on the appraisal, and not have to bother passing out photographs of his wall of certificates.


Non-GG courses from GIA

However, GIA also offers a number of courses that do NOT lead to a Graduate Gemologist degree.

Certificates pictured at the beginning of this article, for example, attest that the appraiser completed classes in Diamond Essentials, Jewelry Essentials, and Colored Stone Essentials. These courses are part of GIA's "eLearning curriculum," where students are invited to work "at your own pace and from the convenience of your computer." These online classes include no labs - no hands-on or eyes-on work with gems!  And they have open-book exams.

A student who completes those 3 courses is awarded the diploma for Accredited Jewelry Professional (AJP). The Jewelry Professional Program, according to the GIA site, is designed to help students "answer customer questions with confidence and poise" and to prepare students for careers such as jewelry sales clerk, pawnbroker, and television shopping host. In short, this program trains students in selling jewelry, not in gemology.

Here's another measure of the lack of depth: Pursuing the AJP program online, a student can take as long as 18 months for each course. If he chose to complete the 3-course program on campus, and get those 4 certificates, it would be done in 5 days.

Taking a single course from GIA could technically make the person a GIA graduate, but a course in how to be a confident sales person does not qualify the student as a gemologist or appraiser.  

Nevertheless, some appraisers will use "GIA" below their signature, just to take advantage of the GIA brand. The picture shows some of the misleading "titles" we've seen.

NOTE: GIA does not teach appraising. It does not "qualify" or "certify" appraisers – so we can see at a glance that a couple of the titles in this illustration are bogus.


Appraisal: Evaluation + Valuation

An appraisal for insurance needs two things: a gemological evaluation (a description of the gem in accurate gemological language) and a valuation (an assessment of the jewelry's value in the marketplace). Of the two, valuation is less important to insurers; it is used to set premiums, but the settlement is based on valuation at time of loss. Once the jewelry is gone, the appraisal's description is used to determine the valuation.

Two credentials most highly regarded as indicators of thorough training in gemological evaluation are GG (Graduate Gemologist of the GIA) and FGA+ (Fellow of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain). The + after FGA is important, because it means that the titleholder has taken advanced courses in both gemology and diamond, and has passed demanding exams.

A simple rule of thumb is: an appraiser who is a GG or FGA+ will say so next to their signature.

To increase your awareness of credentials that are inadequate and even bogus, see Credential Conundrum.


Certified Insurance Appraiser™

Several courses teach jewelry appraising, but they are not geared to appraising for insurance. Because insurance appraisals need detailed jewelry descriptions, we recommend seeking out a Certified Insurance Appraiser (CIA).

A CIA is a GG or FGA+ who has additional training in how insurers use jewelry appraisals. The CIA program teaches how to express gemological characteristics in a manner understandable to insurers and how to assess proper valuation.

Appraisers with this qualification will have CIA after their signature.

It is worthwhile for agents to connect with a CIA in their area, so they have a reliable appraiser to recommend to insureds.


The reliability of an appraisal depends on the training, expertise and honesty of the appraiser. The training is easiest for a non-gemologist to assess, since the appraiser will generally indicate his credentials after his signature. If there are no letters after the appraiser's signature, she/he may have no formal gemological training. In that case you may want to request an appraisal from a qualified independent appraiser.

We recommend that insurers look for the following credentials:

GG   Graduate Gemologist, trained at GIA.

FGA+   Fellow of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain. (The + is important in this title. It means that the titleholder has taken and passed advanced courses in both gemology and diamond.)

CIA   Certified Insurance Appraiser. A CIA is a GG or FGA+ appraiser who has additional training in appraising for insurance from the Jewelry Insurance Appraisal Institute.

Recommend that policyholders obtain appraisals on the JISO (formerly ACORD) industry standard forms. The JISO appraisals are in a standardized format, making it is easy for underwriters to determine that all necessary information is included. (An appraisal by a CIA will include JISO 78/79.)

Be wary of appraisals from the retailer who sold the jewelry, as both the valuation and the quality of the jewelry are likely to be inflated. Request an appraisal from an appraiser independent of the seller.


If you are not working with a JISO 78/79805, or 806, use JISO 18 Jewelry Appraisal and Claim Evaluation to organize data from various documents, such as appraisals and diamond reports. If too much information is lacking and the jewelry's valuation is substantial, consider consulting your in-house jewelry expert to avoid overpayment.

When pricing a replacement, use your JISO 18 evaluation form to gather information from all available documents.

Do not give the replacement jeweler the appraisal valuation. Replacement quotes are generally 80-90% of the valuation, which may well be higher than retail if the valuation was inflated to begin with! You will get a more honest price if you have the jeweler submit a bid based on the jewelry's description rather than on the appraisal valuation.

A valuation that is well above the selling price is probably inflated. Base the settlement on the description of the jewelry, not its valuation.

Be aware that if you are dealing with an unreliable or questionable appraisal, not only may the valuation be inflated but also the qualities.


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