Tips for Protecting Your Jewelry
When it comes to protecting your jewelry from theft or damage, the more information you
have at the time of loss, the better you can cover it. That advice comes from Janece
White, Worldwide Signature manager for Chubb Personal Insurance.
Chubb covers jewelry items up to 150 percent in most states, which means that if the
replacement cost value is more than what you have it insured for, Chubb will insure it up to
50 percent more. The problem, she says, is that many people are shocked when they find
how underinsured they are. With the sharp rise in gold prices, for instance, a gold band
purchased in 2005 when gold’s average price was just over $400, wouldn’t be fully
covered even by 150 percent coverage today if the piece hasn’t been reappraised since.
There are a few key elements to a jewelry appraisal. Among them: What type of jewelry is
it? What is it made of? What type of gemstones are used and how are they graded?
“The wholesale price of a two-carat diamond ring can vary wildly—from a colorless ‘D’ at
$95,400 to an ‘M’ color, highly included stone that wholesales only at only $2,000,” White
says. You’ll also want to consider the credentials of your appraiser. “You wouldn’t want a
store clerk to appraise your piece. Look for a graduate gemologist or a diamond
gemologist,” she says. Also, make sure your appraisal is signed and dated by the
appraiser. Rare pieces demand a specialist. And don’t forget, she notes, that appraisers
should do a condition check. “Are the prongs loose? Is there a chip in the stone?”
Whether you own a million-dollar ring or jewelry that is far less valuable, White
recommends adhering to this jewelry care checklist:
Don’t keep your most valuable pieces in your bedroom. Install a secure home safe
with the appropriate fire and theft rating for jewelry or keep valuable items in a bank
When traveling, keep expensive items with you at all times, or use a hotel safe (not
the safe in your room). Don’t pack jewelry in your luggage or wear valuables to the
pool or beach.
Replace broken or scratched crystals immediately. Even hairline cracks can let dust
or moisture into the mechanism, threatening its accuracy. Check your watch clasp
periodically to prevent accidental loss.
When cleaning diamonds, use mild detergent or a sudsy ammonia bath. Never let
your diamond touch chorine bleach, as it can pit and discolor the mounting. Have
your prongs and mountings checked annually, since wear and tear can loosen a
stone. Diamonds can scratch all other jewelry, so store them separately.
Make sure your pearls are cleaned and restrung regularly to prevent pearl strings
from becoming stretched, weakened or soiled. Wipe pearls with a soft cloth after
each wearing because over time, perfume, cosmetics, hairsprays, and oils and
chemicals on your skin can erode the quality. To protect pearls from scratches, store
them in a soft cloth pouch.
Guard against loose stone settings by having prongs and mountings checked
annually. Remove gemstone jewelry while outdoors during intense sunlight or under
tanning lamps, which can fade the stone. Because each gemstone is different,
discuss specific care and cleaning procedures with your jeweler.