What is wrong with this "appraisal"?

by Admin 16. December 2014 12:12


It does not indicate the weight of the ring, which means we don’t know the actual platinum value.

It describes the color as “L or better”, meaning it could be D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K or L.

It describes the clarity as “SI2 or better”, meaning it could be Flawless (FL), Internally Flawless (IF), Very Very Slight One (VVS1), Very Very Slight Two (VVS2), Very Slight One (VVS1), Very Slight Two (VS2), Slightly Included One (SI1) or Slightly Included Two (SI2).

So in this case, the ring was actually lost, and I was asked to provide a current replacement cost.

What is the difference in today’s market as to the replacement cost of this ring with diamonds from L SI2 to D FL?

$1,180 or $6,350.

What do you really have?

What will happen in the event you have a loss?

If this appraisal had been screened prior to acceptance by the insurance company for scheduling, the client would know their “appraisal” was not adequate.  The jewelry owner could have obtained an accurate appraisal to make sure they were paying the proper premium, as well as being adequately protected. The insurance company not only would be providing better customer service to make sure their client is protected, but also would be assured of a proper settlement in the event of a loss.

In this event I had to make an assumption that the ring weighed 6 grams and, as I had no evidence as to the quality being greater than the L SI2 indicated, I recommended the current replacement cost to be $1,180.

How can you be assured a fair and accurate claims settlement in the event of a loss, if your document doesn’t adequately describe or value what you own?


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Unethical Insurance Agent

by Admin 5. December 2014 09:12

So, Mr. Agent, you attempted to coerce me into participating in unethical behavior?

An associate in an insurance office called yesterday saying I had done a couple of appraisals for a client, who now needs updates.  They also had other articles, which I had not seen, that had not been appraised or updated in years.  She asked if I needed to see the articles, and if I could update from the appraisals I had not written.

I said I would need to examine the articles because an appraisal is a legal document, and I am attesting to the existence and condition of the article.  This is important because it protects the jewelry owner as well and the insurance company.

Here is why:

What if, upon examination, I found the diamond had become chipped or fractured since the last appraisal?  The owner may choose to submit a claim to have the diamond replaced. 

What if, upon examination, the setting is no longer secure?  The diamond could drop out of the mounting and the insurance company would have to pay to have it replaced, whereas catching it allows the owner to get the setting repaired and avoid an unfortunate and emotional loss.

I also said I would need to do new appraisals on the articles I had not seen because I need to determine my opinion, and not assume that I agree with someone else.

She said she understood…but apparently her boss, an agent, did not.

He called me back.

He stated he had been using a jeweler (who shall go nameless here) to refer for appraisals, but would prefer to use me.  A shameless, obvious, and insulting attempt at manipulation.

He stated the clients are unavailable as they are in Europe, he had seen the articles himself, and he wanted me to update the appraisals without seeing them.

When I refused, he said he would go to the jeweler he mentioned who understood and would accommodate him.

So, because he failed to notify his insured in advance of their trip that they would need updates for their renewal, and because he was more concerned about collecting his commission than protecting his clients (although I’m sure he sold it to them as he is the hero saving them time) as well as protecting the company he works for….

It makes me wonder how he defines personal and business ethics.



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Even the experts are not immune

by Admin 25. November 2014 13:11

Recently, I gave a demonstration of i-Val to a client of mine, whose career has been in insurance for many years. 


I showed her an example of a poor appraisal which resulted in the overpayment of thousands of dollars of premiums paid for several years by the jewelry owner.  And how, had there been a loss, the insurance company would have overpaid hundreds of thousands of dollars in a claims settlement.

We talked about how exposed both the insured and the insurance company are, if the appraisal document fails to adequately describe and/or value an article, and how i-Val would have flagged issues prior to scheduling.

I spoke with her again this week.

Here is someone who knows the language and the risks, based on working in the insurance industry for many years on a daily basis.

And, she admitted that it was our demo and conversation that prompted her to revisit her own jewelry coverage again.

We all get busy and lose track of time. 

Jewelry owners must rely on their jewelry and insurance experts to help them navigate through the proper information and coverage. 

Perhaps ask your jeweler or appraiser if they could remind you of when you need to get your jewelry examined for security, as well as when you need appraisal updates.



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A Low Stress Way to Purchase Jewelry for the Holidays

by Admin 17. October 2014 15:10

As technology grows, and culturally we are urged to continuously move forward, occasionally adopting a practice from the past may be provide practicality we still need and have forgotten. 


One thing that happened as a result of the downturn in the economy was that people were unable to rely on credit as they had become accustomed to.  This was actually a healthy reality in that, for some, credit became a monetary vortex from which it was difficult to recover.


In the good old days, which I regret to admit I remember, there was a practice called “layaway”.  It originated prior to credit cards.


People would begin thinking about Christmas and gifts in the fall.  They would select a gift at their local jewelry store, and pay an amount of their choosing and frequency with the goal of retrieving the article just before Christmas.


It was built into budgets, consciously planned, and excitedly anticipated.  And it avoided the dreaded January credit card statement, which could make the memory of the holiday sour.


The benefit to the jeweler is that they knew what is being sold, had the payments steadily in hand, and didn’t recognize the sale until completion of the transaction. In the event the client chose to abandon the layaway, the jewelry the deposit might have been forfeited. 


Maybe this retro practice would provide a controlled, less stressful, and more enjoyable approach to the upcoming holiday season.


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How to value life diamonds part two

by Admin 15. July 2014 17:07

Since life diamonds are created from cremation ash or hair, and since the purpose of appraisals is to describe and value an article for insuring in order to replace in the event of a loss… I needed to answer two basic questions: 

What companies use this technology, and what do they charge to create a gem based on my description of shape, size, color, and clarity? 

Since the material is created from the ashes or hair someone who has passed, how could they replace the gem in the event of a loss?

If they couldn’t, how could the insurance company reach a fair value up to the limit of the appraisal on such a sentimentally valuable article?

My appraisal described the articles, and the value based on the retail replacement new to create similar gems, plus the current insurance replacement value to reconstruct the mounting.

What if the cost to produce increases over time?  This is another example of why appraisal updates are so important.

I contacted one of the companies to determine if they discount to insurance companies upon replacement.  If a jewelry owner has an agreed value policy, they would receive the limit of the value on the appraisal.  However, if a jewelry owner has an insurance policy based on replacement of like kind and quality, actual cash value at the date of the loss, the insurance company may be able to replace for less.

My most important question was, since the carbon material belonged to someone who has passed, and that the purpose of it all was a remembrance of them, how could we possibly get a replacement?

Interestingly, the answer is…..the company actual archives remaining material. 

So yes, in the unfortunate event of such a loss, your life diamond can be recreated.


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