Taking Care of Your Emeralds

After years of studying Emeralds, I pride myself in being one of a handful of experts on the subject.

Emeralds are frequently bezel-set to protect them from bumps and knocks. Many jewelry designs for Emeralds may have them surrounded with accent stones such as Diamonds or White Sapphires, to add beauty and to protect them from side impacts. Although Emeralds have a high hardness rating and are not easily scratched (7.5 to 8.0 on Mohs scale), they can be chipped from impact.

Care for EmeraldEmeralds typically have inclusions. The inclusions in Emeralds may be solid, liquid or gas filled. Emeralds are typically oil-treated to improve the clarity and luster. Cleaning of Emeralds should take into consideration these facts. Although Emeralds are a fairly hard gemstone, this does not mean that they can be subjected to harsh cleaning.

Emeralds should never be cleaned with steam or any cleaning solution that contains petroleum distillates or any other organic solvent, even if the cleaning solution is a recommended “jewelry cleaner”. Most of these are not compatible with the oil treatment of Emeralds.

Emeralds should not be placed in ultrasonic cleaning equipment at all, either, and should not be exposed to high heat. A good rule of thumb is that if the cleaning solution you use is too hot for you to put your hand in, you should not place your Emerald in it.

An Emerald should be cleaned gently with a warm, mild detergent solution and a very soft brush, such as a worn-out toothbrush. We recommend soaking your Emerald in a dishwashing-detergent solution similar to that used to clean regular household dishes, for approximately ten minutes. Then, clean the emerald and mounting with a soft brush. The Emerald should then be rinsed with warm water, and patted dry. You should not leave your Emerald immersed in the cleaning or rinse solution any longer than is necessary. Cleaning should be done no more frequently than is necessary, and in no cases more than several times a year.

How Often Do You Need Your Jewelry Appraised?

You may think that if you get your jewelry appraised immediately after purchase you are set for life. However appraisals are only valid for a limited period of time. The reasons jewelry needs to be appraised every few years include:

• Jewelry markets can be volatile and prices for certain stones change from year to year. You will want to have up to date information.
• As the inflation rate changes the values of your jewelry may change. Again up to date information is necessary especially for insurance purposes.
• Any damage to your jewelry may impact the value. If you are passing jewelry on to beneficiaries and want to divide equitably you will want to verify the condition has not changed.

The Insurance Institute of America recommends that you have your jewelry appraisal updated every 2 years. If you are insuring your jewelry you will want to check your specific insurance policy to find out how often they require appraisals. It is unlikely they will provide you an appraisal reminder so you will need to keep track yourself.

5 Important Reasons to Have Your Jewelry Appraised

1. Appraisals are important to the insurance process

If you have a sentimental attachment to your most cherished jewelry pieces, you’ll love them no matter what they’re worth. Still determining a value is important, especially when you’re purchasing insurance.

  • You need to know if your Homeowners Policy jewelry limit will cover them, or if you need a valuable items endorsement or a separate policy.
  • If you need a special endorsement or policy, underwriters will base your coverage amount on the appraised value of your jewelry.
  • Your insurance premium will be based on that same value.

2. Insurance companies never take your word for value

Even if you’ve had the same insurance agent for years, that relationship will only take you so far. Your agent might trust you when you tell him the value of your newest jewelry piece, but the insurance company underwriters will want more. Before an underwriter finalizes the jewelry schedule on your Valuable Items Policy or your Homeowners Policy jewelry floater, he will insist on a written appraisal from a reputable source.

3. A sales receipt won’t do

Insurance companies won’t accept a receipt of purchase as a legitimate measure of value. It doesn’t matter how much you paid for your jewelry. When writing a policy or paying a claim, the insurance company relies on the actual appraised value, not the cost.

4. The insurance company might require updated appraisals

Even if your insurance company doesn’t require regular appraisal updates, you might want to get them anyway.

  • It’s the best way to make certain you are insuring your jewelry to its proper value.
  • If the market prices of precious metals, diamonds, and fine jewels rise or fall, it could change the value of your jewelry.
  • Vintage, antique, and collectible jewelry styles go in and out of favor, causing the values to go up or down.
  • Values rarely remain constant, and your policies should change accordingly.

Ask your agent or underwriter about insurance policy appraisal guidelines.

5. You may still have to prove the value if a loss occurs

When you file a claim, the insurance company won’t simply write a check for the amount of your stated coverage. They will verify the details before settling your claim.

If a thief stole your jewelry, they will want to see a police report. If you lost it or it simply disappears, they will want to know how and why. If you have no witnesses, the insurance company adjuster may decide to talk to friends and relatives about you and your jewelry.

Regular appraisals can help you prove an insurance claim. An appraiser can attest to the quality, design, condition, and valuation of your jewelry. If a jewelry professional has inspected your collection a number of times over the years, the dated documentation can verify ownership and custody.

Before you take steps to insure your jewelry, contact an appraiser to properly evaluate your collection. For your peace of mind, make sure the professional you choose is well-trained and can handle the task with confidence.