The key word in independent diamond appraisal is independent.
When people think about getting a jewelry appraisal for insurance
purposes, or to find out if their diamonds are real, they don't give enough
thought to who is going to do it. Most will find the easiest and most convenient
source, but that may not always be the best decision.
jewelry stores have appraisers but remember that many jewelry stores are in the
business of selling and buying stones (and jewelry) so you can never be too sure of what factors went
into your appraisal or their motives for giving the appraisal that they did.
That's not to say that there aren't lots of good and honest independent
appraisers out there who work in stores, there are, but it is something to
Diamond and jewelry appraisal is important for two reasons.
The first and most obvious, especially when it comes
to diamonds, is so that you know exactly what you have—particularly
if your stone didn't come with any GIA
type of certification. Is it a real or fake diamond?
What's the size and grade?
Engaging Tip: Always buy a diamond that comes with a
certificate, especially if it's larger than .30 carats. It isn't necessary for
smaller diamonds that are part of the setting because the value is always in the
The most reliable and fastest way to validate any doubts regarding the
authenticity of your diamond engagement ring is with an independent diamond appraisal
(or jewelry appraisal).
The second reason is for insurance purposes because all good jewelry is a
financial, as well as, emotional investment and it needs to be protected. That's
why we always recommend engagement ring
insurance and insuring any other precious jewelry you may own.
We'll say it again, if you paid a pretty penny for your engagement ring or
other jewelry make sure that, at the very least, it's
covered by your existing insurance policy. Ideally, you want a separate jewelry insurance repair and replacement policy that will cover you in the event
of loss, theft, and damage. And a proper jewelry appraisal specifically done for
insurance purposes is the only way to start.
Getting A Jewelry Or Diamond Appraisal
The best way to ensure you find an independent jewelry appraiser that you can
trust is through a larger association that upholds its members to strict
standards and ethics.
In the U.S., check out the
Society (AGS). Their website is terrific and lets you search
for an accredited jewelry appraiser by state or by zip code:
For Canadians, the
Canadian Jewellers Association (CJA) has a similar search. You simply enter
your location and they bring back the results for your city or town. By the way,
AGS also offers a Canadian search.
You can also do a quick search
online to find a comparable organization in your country if none of these
service your part of the world.
Pricescope.com is also a
good resource for finding appraisers worldwide.
Whether you go through one of the more official organizations (which is what we
recommend) or find your own appraiser, here are a few things to consider:
Call ahead and check to see if you need to schedule an appointment or if
you can just drop by.
Ask about their fee. On average it should fall between $45.00-$80.00
Check to see if they're able to appraise the diamond in front of you,
especially if you haven't gone through one of the recommended associations.
If the appraiser says they won't, find another appraiser.
It isn't necessary that they evaluate your engagement ring in front of you,
if you trust your appraiser. If you prefer, you can just drop it off and
pick it up once the diamond appraisal is complete. That's what we did and we had
no problems but thought we should mention it.
Finally, diamond appraisal and jewelry appraisal in general can have
different values assigned to it depending on the purpose of the report.
The value assigned for insurance purposes will factor in all aspects
including raw materials, workmanship, detailing and rarity while a standard
appraisal focuses on the value of raw materials and what the piece is worth. So,
make sure that you talk to the appraiser and tell them purpose of the appraisal
before they start.
Engagement ring insurance is very important and should be factored in to the
cost of buying the ring. You need to protect your financial investment and more
importantly, the emotional one that comes along with an engagement ring.
Generally speaking you have a few options.
You can add the ring to your
existing renter/homeowner insurance policy or get a Personal Articles Floater
Policy which means that your engagement ring or any other pieces of jewelry are
Most homeowner insurance policies will have limitations on coverage when
it comes to engagement ring insurance and only cover you for specific named
perils or events so you need to ask your insurance company what is covered and
under what conditions.
Engagement Ring Insurance: Floater or Homeowner
The safest and most protected route in our opinion is the separate Personal
Articles Floater regardless of whether it is done through a jewelry endorsement
for a specific amount with additional and expanded coverage or, if it is a
completely separate policy.
The jewelry endorsement is basically an add-on to your policy with specific
coverage for you engagement ring rather than being an entirely separate policy.
Beware that an agent might recommend blanket
coverage for your ring because it is an easier process for both you and them but
rarely will you get the same type of coverage. Blanket coverage will mean that
your ring is unscheduled (which means not specifically listed)
on the policy as opposed to scheduled (where it would be
An additional benefit of having engagement ring insurance or any jewelry insurance
under a separate
policy is that it can have no deductible, unlike your homeowner policy which may
have deductibles of $1000 or more.
You may pay a little bit more (or you may not, depending on where you live
and your insurance company) to have a separate policy but if your ring cost
$1500 and your homeowner policy's deductible is $1000 it doesn't make sense to
go that route.
Insurance Coverage, Claims & Questions
Whichever way you decide to go, make sure that you are covered for all
perils, damage, theft, loss, mysterious disappearance, chips, lost stone, etc.
You need to ask your insurance agent specifically about all the coverage they
offer because it can vary significantly from one insurance company to the next
and from one policy to another.
Make your insurance agent explain to you the difference between
replacement cost and agreed value insurance. The
latter replaces your engagement ring with cash or an equivalent on a
pre-determined agreed value while the other covers you for the cost of
replacement on the day of the claim.
It's also really important to find out the procedure if you make a claim.
Find out BEFORE you have to because you don't want any nasty surprises when
you're emotionally distraught over your ring.
In terms of a claim, you'll want to know if they give
you a check for the damages and/or loss or will they simply replace the stone or ring?
(We recommend the check so
that you know exactly what you are getting since you're in control of the repair
or purchase.) Is it replacement cost or the value at the time of purchase?
What is the repair policy? Do you
need to go to a specific jeweler or can you take the ring anywhere that you want
to? It's important to be aware of the claims procedure before signing any
contracts so that you can rest easy knowing that if something happens you are
covered the way you want and expect to be.
Steps for Insuring Engagement Rings
As mentioned above, the fist step is to research your insurance options and get an independent
jewelry appraisal specifically for insurance purposes. (An insurance
appraisal is different than a regular appraisal). With your insurance appraisal
in hand you then need to ask a bunch of questions no matter who you decide to go
with or what type of policy you choose.
What kinds of policies are available to me?
How much does the policy cover towards the ring's value? (All of it or
only a portion?)
What exactly and specifically am I covered for?
What, if anything, am I not covered for?
What's in the policy's fine print (which I will read) but should be aware of?
Are there any circumstances that could affect my coverage?
What if the ring appreciates in value, will I only receive what we paid for it?
These are the types of questions you need to ask your agent and it is there
job to explain all of your options and answer all of your questions. It's
mutually beneficial for both of you to be open and honest about everything.
If your agent isn't able to provide you with the type of coverage you need,
try Jewelers Mutual, they are
probably the best known and most respected jewelry specific insurance company in
Generally speaking, engagement ring insurance policies will cost somewhere
between 1 and 2 percent of the value of the ring per year. So, if you paid $5000
for your ring (which is the average cost in the U.S.) you can expect to pay
between $50 and $100 per year for insurance on average. The cost of insurance
can vary significantly depending on the
country, state or even city that you live in.
Engagement rings have sentimental value as well as being major investments.
Whether you choose an engagement ring insurance policy that is part of your
homeowner's insurance, renter's insurance, or one from an outside jewelry
insurance company, it's important to protect its value and you can only do that
with a proper diamond appraisal.