ARTICLE: All That Glitters
As the second highest value item that individuals list when getting quotes for their contents insurance, jewellery cover is essential for those of you with gems and stones of high monetary and sentimental value, such as family heirlooms and engagement/wedding rings.
In order to access the appropriate level of cover for your jewellery, you need to know exactly how much it’s worth, particularly if you own a number of more expensive items. These may not be covered in a standard contents insurance policy, so before you look into more specialist cover, it is essential that you get your collection properly valued first. This will provide you with complete peace of mind, as well as rule out the possibility of you overpaying for your claim if you should need to make one.
Russell Scanlan spoke to the experts at Doerr Valuations – Rachel Doerr, managing director, and Mary Waterhouse, jewellery specialist – about the importance of regular and thorough valuations of your jewellery and gemstone collections.
Are there any particular trends in jewellery/gems this year?
Mary: This year, the major trend within the jewellery and gems sector seems to be the bolder, the better, with asymmetric, abstract and bold jewellery designs and coloured gemstones taking over. With wedding season in full swing, engagement rings with pear and oval-shaped diamonds are proving incredibly popular, as opposed to the traditional round style. There has also been a surge in demand for rose gold and vintage style items.
Rachel: Pearls are now enjoying a renaissance after so many years out of fashion, with contemporary designers embracing the more irregular shapes of baroque pearls to make bespoke creations. Diamonds are obviously another major investment. However, you need to be aware of where exactly your diamonds are coming from and what it is that you are buying, as some are created through synthetic processes, while some are grown within a petri dish. The latter is relatively new to the market and can be far more expensive, with the potential to drag the overall value of more natural diamonds down. This is why it is so important to be as specific as possible about the origins of your gems and stones when valuating them.
Why is it so important to carry out accurate and up-to-date valuations?
Rachel: Valuations are all part of the care and due diligence that comes with looking after stones and jewellery. It’s not as expensive as people think, either. Knowing an item’s value is extremely important, as you have to act on the basis that you may make a claim in the future. So many people are being underinsured as a result of not having carried out a valuation on their gems and jewellery prior to making a claim. Underinsurance is a huge problem in the industry, especially when it comes to jewellery – 73% of clients have been undersold by as much as 50%. The general rule of thumb is that, although you may never have to make a claim, knowing the value of your jewellery box is absolutely essential.
Rachel: It is highly recommended that you are valuating your items at least once every three to five years. In the past, some clients have only valued their top pieces and neglected the rest of their collections – instead, you should be getting a valuation for the contents of your entire jewellery box in order for your potential claim to be as accurate as possible. An insurer will stick to your original valuation if you haven’t had one done recently, and as many items have increased in value, this could mean that you lose out on a considerable sum.
Have any particular gems/jewellery increased or decreased in value in recent years?
Mary: Prices for the vast majority of gems and jewellery have increased. Coloured stones and pearls are becoming more en vogue, and this is reflected in an increase in their overall value. As a result of these fluctuations, as well as changing rates in the price of gold and the dollar, the majority of insurance companies recommend that clients carry out a valuation every three to five years.
Rachel: All gems and jewellery are increasing in value as a whole, but those that have seen a considerable price hike can be put down to what is in fashion. For instance, brooches are not as fashionable these days, but what many don’t realise is that you can get the diamonds within the brooch reworked into something else. There’s so much life in your jewellery box, and those unwanted stones can be made into an entirely new, fashionable piece! You should also be aware that all stones are traded in dollars, so a change in daily rate may mean that they could cost more to replace.
What sort of factors can impact jewellery insurance?
Mary: The fluctuating rates in the price of gold and the rate of the dollar can impact the going rate of an insurance policy. It’s also incredibly important to have a conversation with your insurance company about how exactly your items would be replaced, such as exchanging old items for new. This can largely depend on not only the value of your items, but also your buying habits, security measures and the retailers that these items were originally purchased from.
Rachel: Make sure you read all the terms and conditions of your insurance policy very carefully. Specific policies have a clasp/settings clause which you will need to acknowledge, as you might not be covered if you lose one after three years. There may also be certain conditions on where you store the items, worldwide cover, as well as whether you are insured for accidental damage.
Doerr Valuations provides an independent specialist valuations service of fine art, antiques, jewellery watches and classic cars. They work closely with leading insurance brokers, solicitors, private banks and professional advisers to provide a personal, professional and completely confidential customer experience: www.doerrvaluations.co.uk