Jewelry, Insurance, and Appraisals, Oh, my! Part 1

“Oh, my” is correct.  As much as we all love our jewelry, and love wearing it ALL THE TIME, we do not love insuring it.  Most people groan when I mention insuring their jewelry.  However, since in the past six weeks we’ve had three clients who had losses who were underinsured, I thought the topic should be addressed.

There are several things to consider.  First, how do you insure jewelry?  Most people reach out to their homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, or use an insurer like we have for our jewelry in the store.  Most policies will have something called “unscheduled jewelry” which will stipulate a dollar amount that will be covered in the event of a total loss.  This is good, although if you start to add up all your costume jewelry, sterling jewelry and better jewelry, you will be surprised how quickly the total climbs.  To get an idea of how much you may have, put a “pretend” value on each piece.  It’s easier to do for your costume and sterling jewelry.  What would something similar cost in the typical place you would buy it (like costume jewelry in a department store)?    $15?  $25?  $75?  If you know how much it cost, all the better.   Add those first.  I bet you have more there than you thought.

So now you know approximately how much you have in smaller value pieces.  How does that compare to the amount stipulated on your policy?  If that amount is already over your limit, check with your agent or insurance carrier.  Maybe you can raise the limit.  There is a cost to that, but it may be worth it to you.  Or maybe you will decide to self insure, meaning you won’t get enough money to replace all those pieces, because you don’t want to replace them anyway.  You could set aside part of the premium difference in case you have a total loss, so you have a stash to draw from over and above what the insurance company might pay.  Take some pictures of your costume and sterling jewelry so you can substantiate what you have.  Insurance companies like that.

Coming soon:

Jewelry, Insurance and Appraisals, Oh My!  Part 2

Please note:  We are not insurance agents nor do we profess to understand all the policy choices available.  The info is based on our experience.  Check with your insurance agent to get the specifics on your policy.  And if you would like help sorting, give us a call.  We’d be happy to sort through your jewelry and give you some direction (there’s no cost for this service).

Shopping for a Diamond Online


Many people believe that they can buy a diamond cheaper online than in a retail store.  I find that interesting because if we want to sell diamonds, and we do, we have to be competitively priced.  We regularly compare a variety of sources, from the big internet retailers to smaller lesser known sites.  We compare quality.  We make sure we are making an apples to apples comparison.  I think this is where the online consumer gets misled.  When you start price comparing the cut, color, clarity and carat weight of a diamond, you will find a wide range of pricing, sometimes as much as an $8000 range.  Why? Two diamonds can have the same quality grade but be priced differently for a variety of reasons.  It could be because of the nature and placement of the internal characteristics which make up the clarity grade. The plot diagram you see with the grading report is one dimensional and typically does not show all the internal characteristics, just the grade defining ones.  What grading reports are those grades based on?  There are two widely respected labs (AGS and GIA) and a host of lesser respected labs.  If you don’t have accurate grades, the comparisons won’t work.


As for the cut quality, not all diamonds with excellent symmetry and polish are alike.  There are other proportion factors to consider.  The proportions influence price based on preferred demand in the marketplace.  The market actually varies within these details.  62% table?  A little outside the preferred ideal cut quality.  Probably priced less because it’s not as desired.  Still pretty but tighter proportions are more valued.  So are you getting a bargain?  No, it’s cheaper because it’s valued less in the marketplace.  Is that bad?  Not necessarily.  But you can’t compare it to a 55% table percentage.  You can’t just compare the table percentage.  The other proportions combine with it to tell a cut quality story.  And some of those combinations are more valued than others.


Here’s my point…We know we are priced competitively to online sources for the same quality. However, because we understand these distinctions we are better able to make these comparisons and explain why the values can vary.  This is not car shopping where you are comparing two of the same make and models from different dealerships.  Diamonds (and snowflakes) are natural and unique and not easily compared by grading report alone.  We scrutinize carefully.  We can physically show you the differences so you can determine what’s important to you, while staying in budget.


Diamond Security

We offer a service we call “Jewel Care” in which we encourage clients to stop in every six months to let us check their frequently worn jewelry (especially rings) for wear.  We go over each prong under magnification to make sure it is tight over the diamond (or gemstone) and has enough metal to hold up under normal wearing conditions.  After a thorough inspection, we put the jewelry through a “spa” treatment, cleaning away dirt that dulls its sparkle.  Depending on the condition when the jewelry was brought in, we may check it again after cleaning, to confirm that all gems are nice and secure.  If requested, we’ll check the security of connections and clasps on pendants and bracelets that are worn regularly as well.  Although we can’t guarantee our “Jewel Care” process will absolutely prevent loss, an observation of worn prongs or loose gems can be a forewarning of needed maintenance.  We offer this service at no charge, and will send a reminder postcard every six months as well.  Take a look below at examples of the wear and/or poor setting we look for:

FB Bad Prongs

Have questions?  Let us know!  We love your feedback!

Jewelry Design and Function

In the past few weeks I’ve had three different clients who have been given misinformation by other jewelers.  It’s frustrating.  The first was a client who wanted to alter a ring she didn’t wear often to hold her children’s birthstones but was told that if the gemstones were set low (her preference), they would not be secure and would probably fall out.  Not true.  If the prongs were configured and built properly, the gemstones would stay in the ring just fine.  The second client was looking for a way to commemorate her husband who had passed a few years ago and wanted to use husband’s wedding band in some way.  Before she came to us she was told she could really only make a pendant with it, and she wasn’t sure she would wear a pendant often enough.  We designed a way for her to use his ring with her engagement ring so she could wear his ring every day, keeping him close, which was her ultimate goal.  The most recent client has a larger emerald, cut to maximize the color, so it’s very deep.  She was told the only way she could set it into a ring was to custom make a ring for around $5000, which is ridiculous.  There are ready made parts which can be altered to fit the deep gemstone starting around $1300, depending on her final design goal.  Could she spend $5000, which is out of her budget?  Of course.  Does she need to? No.  We love working with clients to design sentimental and beautiful jewelry that is wearable, functional and practical, using their existing pieces or designing something entirely new.  If you’ve had a jewelry design idea and haven’t been able to execute it, stop in.  We’ll be happy to give you our thoughts on your options.

Jewelry as an Investment

I’ve seen a sponsored Facebook post recently that talks about jewelry as a financial investment.  I get very angry when I read articles like this because jewelry is not a stock, bond or mutual fund.  Jewelry cannot be resold as new when it’s been previously owned.   There is a secondary market for preowned jewelry that makes it difficult to recoup the initial dollars spent unless you are dealing in the finest and rarest and willing to gamble.  (Got a few million to spare?  Then this can be a different conversation.)  But jewelry is an investment.  It’s an emotional investment.  Whether you buy jewelry to enjoy wearing yourself or to show someone how you feel about them, jewelry is an investment in joy, pleasure and love.  Consider the following article I read at the holidays…

No, it’s not about Pandora beads.  Keep reading.  It’s about how jewelry symbolizes the love of a couple and a family.  My sister and I can relate well to the feelings expressed here.  Mom passed away a little over five years ago.  We wear her jewelry every day.  It’s a visual, tactile reminder of how much she loved us and we love her.  That’s the beauty of jewelry and why it’s necessary in our lives.  The most important moments are celebrated with a gift of jewelry.  It’s an investment worth making.