Aren't all jewelers trained professionals
who know their stuff?
Not nearly. In one investigation, TV reporters found that a
number of jewelers in New York's diamond district couldn't even distinguish
real diamond from moissanite, a diamond simulant —
that is, a fake.
Reporters took a moissanite ring to several jewelers, asking for an appraisal of its value. Moissanite costs $600 a carat, about a tenth the price of diamond, yet half the jewelers who looked at the imitation took it for real diamond and valued it at ten times its worth.
Moissanite is a good fake, being almost as hard as diamond and even more brilliant. But a trained gemologist can easily distinguish moissanite from real diamond under microscope magnification. Charles and Colvard, the company that sells the simulant, has even developed a detection that jewelers can use.
The story points out the importance of dealing with a jeweler who has the training and equipment to verify what he is buying and selling.
No Credentials Necessary!
Surprising but true: literally anyone can call himself or herself a jeweler. Or a jewelry appraiser. There is no federal or independent body setting qualifications for these professions. In fact, the majority of jewelry retailers have no formal gemological training. Customers, as well as insurers, are left to wonder:
- How do I know whether to trust this appraisal?
- How knowledgeable was the appraiser?
- Is the valuation accurate?
- Did the jeweler really know what he was looking at?
- Did he examine the jewelry in a gem lab, or did he simply accept the description given him by the gem supplier, or did he just guess?
- Does the appraiser assume responsibility for the accuracy of the appraisal?
The appraisal and valuation are only as reliable as the appraiser.
The JISO Solution
By recommending to policyholders a JISO 78/79 Jewelry Appraisal, you can be sure the appraiser is qualified and the appraisal is reliable.
JISO 78/79 guarantees that:
- The appraiser is a Graduate Gemologist (GG), having received formal training in gemology at the Gemological Institute of America.
- The appraiser examined the jewelry in a gem lab, using appropriate gemological equipment.
- The appraiser is a Certified Insurance Appraiser (CIA)™, having completed formal classroom training in jewelry appraising for insurance, so that he understands how the insurer uses the appraisal and what information is needed.
- The appraiser stands behind the accuracy of the appraisal, and provides the appraisal to both the customer and the insurer. (Many appraisals carry a disclaimer, such as “We assume no liability with respect to any action that may be taken on the basis of this appraisal.” The appraiser using JISO 78/79 recognizes that the appraisal will be used as a basis for insurance and does not deny responsibility for its accuracy.)
JISO 805, the Jewelry Receipt for Insurance Purposes, is recommended for situations in which you cannot obtain a JISO 78/79 appraisal because the jeweler does not meet the education and training requirements set forth in JISO 78/79. The JISO 805 form can be filled out by any selling jeweler. It documents the price actually paid for the jewelry and describes the jewelry in detail.
is not an appraisal, but it provides the information necessary for scheduling
typical jewelry items of lower value, for which the underwriter does not
require an appraisal.