Spring rolls around like clockwork every year. And every spring, I can count on seeing clients who have gone on vacation to sunny destinations and brought back jeweled baubles from their trip. Their stories are unique, but the theme is the same – “Boy, did I get taken...did I pay too much?” It takes me back to a three-part series of articles I wrote last year titled, “Going on a Tropical Vacation? Why You Should Bring Home T-Shirts, Not Jewelry.” Here are links to Part I, Part II, and Part III. These three stories are worth reading, especially if you plan to travel to the tropics. So far, those clients that have sought an appraisal for their vacation purchases have been disproportionately disappointed with their purchase. Most feel like they did not get a good value for the money spent. And when you’re spending thousands of dollars, that’s the last thing you want to feel. If you’re headed on a tropical vacation soon, my advice - pick up some T-shirts!
Here are some tips for insuring your new (and not so new) jewels:
- What is the standard coverage limit for jewelry on your homeowner’s policy? Each policy is different; and in some cases you have a choice as to what standard coverage limit you have. Talk with your insurance agent about your options.
- What is your comfort level of risk? Is there jewelry in your box that you may not be absolutely broken hearted about if it were gone? Or, maybe you have a high level of risk comfort and a savings account to back it up. If you
In observation of Labor Day, I honor the people who work passionately to mine and cut the beautiful gems and design and craft the jewelry we wear and love. Here’s to you! Click on each link to see inside the world of: Diamond Miners Diamond Cutters Gemstone Cutters Jewelry Design Artists Jewelry Designers Goldsmiths Diamond Setters Engravers
Although it seems that synthetic (man-made) diamonds are new on the scene, they have been around for decades. In fact, three scientists in early 20th century claimed to have manufactured diamonds. General Electric was the first to synthesize diamonds with proven success in the early 1950’s. Since then, synthetic diamonds have been used for industrial purposes (think, diamond coated saw blades and drill bits). More recently, a division of DeBeers, Element Six manufactures synthetic diamonds for numerous applications in industries ranging from Aerospace to Healthcare, asserting, “Synthetic diamond’s molecular structure makes it the world’s most versatile supermaterial.”
A little more than a week ago, I heard the news that my mentor, Harold Tivol, had passed away. He was 92. If you’re from Kansas City, you likely recall Harold in his TV commercials. My favorite one is where it appears that you’re looking over the surface of the moon until the camera pans out and it turns out to be Harold’s bald head. Probably his most popular commercial is this one - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4ckFrrefFo - celebrating Tivol’s 100th anniversary. With Harold, what you see is what you get. As funny as he was in his commercials, he was just as fun-loving at the store every day he was there. And he was in the store every day well into his late 80’s. He LOVED being in the jewelry business. He loved it not for the money. That was a nice by-product, but his love was for the gemstones that were mined and fashioned into brilliant colors of the rainbow, and of the craftsmanship that defines the art of jewelry. Beyond all of that, though, was Harold’s love of sharing his passion and his instinctive need to tell the truth, the whole truth. Telling the truth required always seeking the truth. Harold was a perpetual learner and caring teacher.
It turns out there are countless reasons why individuals decide to sell their jewelry. Jewelry is one of those belongings that holds great sentimental value, so the selling process hits close to the heart for many. Whatever the reason might be to make the decision to sell, it’s important to consider these factors before taking the first step:
Weigh Your Selling Options
Not many people are aware that, unlike real estate appraisers, personal property (including jewelry) appraisers aren’t required any licensing. Translated, that is, anyone (and I mean ANYONE) can set up shop and call themselves a jewelry appraiser. There are “diamontologists” and “gemologists” and “jewelry judges” and “accredited jewelry professionals”. So, what is a "Certified Appraiser" and why should you care? If you needed brain surgery, wouldn’t you rather have a Board Certified brain surgeon than a general surgeon in the operating room? Having worked in the jewelry industry for 27 years, now serving as an appraiser, I’ve been asked “How did you become a jewelry appraiser”? My path started with a series of conversations with a friend of mine who owns a jewelry store that led me to enroll in the Graduate Gemologist (“GG”) program at the Gemological Institute of America. After graduating, I was fortunate enough to apprentice with Tom and Harold Tivol of Tivol Jewelers, the guild store in Kansas City. I had high aspirations from the beginning. With my GIA diploma tucked under my arm, I was certain that appraising was my career goal. As it turns out,
The other day as I was driving down the road, the little wrench lit up on my dashboard, indicating that it’s time for an oil change and a few other maintenance checks. On the odometer, a series of numbers show specifically what needs to be addressed. I can look up the numbers or code in the owner’s manual to see just what needs to be done. I love new technology! If only there were a simple code to let us know when our jewelry appraisal is in need of updating to reflect the current markets. Most homeowner’s insurance policies renew in the summer months because that’s when the majority of us feel compelled to make the move and purchase a home. So today I’m throwing up the “wrench” to signal that it may be time for you to check your last jewelry appraisal. Has it been more than three years since your appraisal was issued?
The month of March brings to mind St. Patrick’s Day and Spring Break. It’s a great time to escape to sandy beaches and the abundant sunshine of the Caribbean. Throw on the flip flops and grab the beach towel for some fun and relaxation! And a little shopping for some souvenirs to bring home will remind us of the good times had. T-shirts are a perfect souvenir. When you wear them T-shirts tend to be conversation-starters, and those conversations take you right back to that sandy beach. Jewelry can do the same. So, why T-shirts and not jewelry? Yet another couple set an appointment with me last week after returning home from a fabulous cruise vacation. Apparently, the theme in the Western Caribbean isn’t “Feelin’ Hot, Hot, Hot” but rather “Feelin’ taken, taken, taken…”.
February is a great time to escape the winter blues and head for sandy beaches and abundant sunshine. Shed those heavy winter coats and boots, put your toes in the warm sand and watch the waves roll in. Relaxing with family and friends and making memories is what it’s all about. A little shopping for some souvenirs to bring home reminds us of the good times had. T-shirts are a perfect souvenir. When you wear them T-shirts tend to be conversation-starters, and those conversations take you right back to that sandy beach. Jewelry can do the same. So, why T-shirts and not jewelry? A couple set an appointment with me last week. They had recently gone on a cruise and purchased a diamond engagement ring. During our initial discussion about their circumstances, this is how they told me it all played out. Generally, the first day on a cruise is an “at sea” day. It’s a great time to relax and discover the amenities and shops on the ship. The couple, Bob and Susan, decided to sit in on a presentation about diamonds. They were told that they could save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, on diamonds at a particular retailer that the cruise line endorsed. Bob and Susan have been together for some time and had talked about marriage, but they hadn’t intended on buying a diamond engagement ring on this vacation. However, if they could save hundreds or thousands of dollars, they supposed that spending a few minutes at the next port looking at diamonds at the endorsed retailer certainly wouldn’t hurt. They made it their first stop. They were offered margaritas and tequila as they shopped. They were in love, on a tropical island, and having fun. They couldn’t have felt any happier. Susan found a ring she loved and Bob stepped aside to choose the diamond with the sales associate. The sales associate told Bob he could have the diamond mounted and ready to pick up by the time Bob and Susan needed to reboard the ship. Bob and Susan were thrilled. Bob and Susan decided to tour the island for the day and were a bit rushed to get back on the ship. They stopped in the jewelry store and were presented their new ring. They quickly settled the bill, took their receipt and appraisal, and hurried to the ship. Concerned for the ring’s security, Susan decided not to wear her new ring and they stored it in the ship’s safe deposit box. When they returned home, they took the ring to their local jeweler. They were informed that the center diamond was a very low clarity posing a durability threat and suggested they return the diamond and choose one of a higher clarity. After having spent over $5000, they were concerned. This purchase was one of the largest they had ever made. The following week was a frustrating series of emails and phone calls to the jewelry retailer back in paradise, some unanswered. As was disclosed on the back of the receipt, the customer service representative informed Bob and Susan that they don’t accept returns unless the diamonds were misrepresented by TWO grades. But they were certainly welcome to return the ring for an exchange or store credit. If you’re on a cruise ship or in a foreign country, remember you shop under their regulations, not U.S. regulations. The last thing anyone wants to do is spend hundreds or even thousands on a diamond that turns out not to be as rare and valuable as was presented. And the return process may be very difficult or even impossible.