Review continued from Part 3 – Side Stones: Sapphires and Rhodolites from Yvonne Raley of Cecile Raley Designs…
- Part 1: Back Story
- Part 2 – Center Stone: Tsavorite from Bruce Bridges of Tsavorite.com
- Part 3 – Side Stones: Sapphires and Rhodolites from Yvonne Raley of Cecile Raley Designs
- Part 4 – Personal Jewelry Insurance: Perfect Circle Insurance from Jewelers Mutual
- Part 5 – The Ring: Custom Setting from Dan and Caren of DanielM Jewelry
- Part 6 – Final Result Photos
Part 4 – Personal Jewelry Insurance: Perfect Circle Insurance from Jewelers Mutual
Have you ever calculated how much your jewelry, put together, is worth? I haven’t. I own just a few pieces, most of which can brag only sentimental value.
Most of that has been passed down from my grandmothers’ jewelry boxes, or was given by them to me for birthdays back when I was a little kid, still a Russian native. A note about Russian jewelry, acquired by impoverished working class grandparents around the time of the Soviet Union collapse: quality is questionable. I suppose gold is gold, and those tarnishes pieces definitely silver, but all those gemstones… I don’t think any are real. I am, in fact, uncomfortably certain that anything represented as real sapphires is a man-made substitute, any diamonds actually cubic zirconia, maybe quartz. At best, these pieces might fetch 50%-70% of the current whole sale price for their respective metal and weight. That’s barely anything. And despite the connection to my grandparents, to their work and expression of love, I am not planning to insure any of these pieces because I don’t wear most of them. Furthermore, insuring them would require appraisals, which would potentially come out costing more than the pieces themselves?
Another portion of my jewelry is sentimental for a different reason – self love. I grew up in a household that effectively sabotaged any natural skill I had for developing a healthy notion of self-worth, of self-pride. I’ve been pretty angry at my mom and dad (this anger is recent. Till about a year ago, I didn’t know any better) for the emotional pruning that resulted in this deficiency of my character. Because, aggh! Yes, I can trace how events and choices of their life shaped their personalities, and perhaps they even did the best they could, but come on! How dare they not see that they have created this in me, that it will take me years to neutralize this roadblock! I wish they’d admit responsibility, acknowledge how this complicates growth. After all, it is pitiful and pathetic that I feel like a doomed failure every time I go for a run and it isn’t easy (even though I’m reaching distances I’ve never before tackled, and training consistently – a minor miracle in itself). All in all, it is work, the developing of self-confidence: feeling accomplished; identifying my own opinions, wants and goals; self-indulging without guilt.
This project is one of the self-love pieces for me. The “Relationship” ring is already an emotional investment, a lesson in listening to myself. In the end (amongst other things) it’ll be representative of me trusting my own judgement.
It’ll also cost almost $2K: ~$950 for gemstones, ~$950 for the custom setting, some amount for shipping with insurance. A frivolous $2K spent purely so I can look at something pretty. This is not something I’d be easily willing, or able to, replicate. So the logical process leading me to get insurance for this ring goes like this:
- Out of the five gemstones I’m using for this ring, I can probably replace and eat the losses for the smaller ones – sapphires and rhodolites (~$150). Not so with tsavorite – if it breaks, I will not be able to replace it.
- Tsavorites are tough, but even diamonds chip or break during setting, and sometimes to no fault of the setter, but due to imperfections/inclusions in the stone.
- Tsavorites are tough, but I’m clumsy. I want to wear this ring daily and minimize potential damage – therefore, I want a bezeled setting (instead of the more standard prongs).
- Quality bezels require skilled craftsmen, and custom stones require custom sized bezels. Even picking out of the more economic options (going with DanielM Jewelry), the setting cost comes close to $1K. If the center stone breaks, the bezeled setting becomes unusable, since it’s incredibly difficult to calibrate a new stone to an existing setting.
- Does anyone insure loose stones against damage during setting?
So when I wrote to Caren and Dan of DanielM Jewelers about taking on my ring project, one of my first questions was about insurance. Caren explained that if I wanted to insure the stones during the time they were in DanielM’s possession, I had to open a policy prior to shipping the stones out. Caren also suggested Jewelers Mutual, as a number of their customers have used it.
I have mentioned that sometimes I am chicken and avoid conversations with real people – so at first, I poked around Jewelers Mutual website, filled out their quote forms, sent in some questions via their contact forms. One of their representatives e-mailed me back quickly, but must have copy-pasted a large part of the response from their policy – I could tell that my questions were not read very carefully, as the responses were general and kept mentioning diamonds (hah!). However, I got a clear understanding that for items valued at $5000 or less, all that was needed to get evaluated for a policy was a description for the setting and a detailed receipt for the stones.
Caren provided me with a .pdf letter of description in the following format:
“We <the vendor> have been commissioned to design and fabricate a setting for <customer name>, using <list of stones, types and sizes>. The setting to be provided is <setting description: style, metals, approximate value>.”
Next, I contacted Bruce Bridges (the epic supplier of my center stone) for an electronic invoice. As it’s been almost a year since my last communication with him, I was once again struck by how pleasant and helpful he was. Bruce responded within 24 hours, and even referred me to a contact of his at Jewelers Mutual. As I requested, Bruce provided me a detailed receipt, where he listed:
Stone type, origin, treatments (“not enhanced”), carat weight, shape, size, total price, and date of purchase.
I e-mailed Bruce’s contact at JM, and from that point my experience with them was terrific. We had a brief e-mail exchange while I was confirming that I had all the right documentation for a policy, and then a phone call, during which I was given directions for applying to a policy, attaching documents, and keeping in touch. Once I submitted online forms through JM’s website, Bruce’s contact was ready for my application – she processed it and placed my policy in effect the same day.
As for calculating the cost of insurance. The total value of stones + setting at cost to me is ~$2000. However, JM’s personal jewelry insurance policy is for replacement at retail value. Since I didn’t have an appraisal of the retail value of the setting, JM suggested we estimate the value at $2500. Thus, my payment for the 1 year’s period came out to $26. I figure, it’s basically 0.1 * <$ value being insured> + $1. (Perhaps this formula also changes based on you residential zipcode, and whether you keep your jewelry stores in safes or not).
Some useful tidbits about their policy:
- If a stone gets damaged during setting, JM will work on replacement with the jeweler or vendor of the client’s choice. This doesn’t have to be the same vendor that provided the original stone. The Jeweler of the client’s choice will provide JM with the invoice for the replacement and JM will reimburse the jeweler directly on the client’s behalf, up to the limit of the client’s insurance.
- As a private individual, the client purchases Jewelers Mutual Perfect Circle Insurance for personal jewelry, which gets insured at the Current Retail Replacement Value. In contrast, if the client owns a jewelry store or is a principal owner of a jewelry business, they can insure their personal jewelry at the Wholesale Replacement Limit.
- The insurance doesn’t cover wear and tear, but covers damage.
Wear and tear is something that happens gradually over time. Example: over years the ring shank has worn thin and needs to be resized or reshanked – not covered.
Damage is something that happens suddenly and accidental. Examples: you look down and notice a side stone is missing, the center stone has been chipped or is cracked, a prong is bent and needs repair, a prong is prong off and the ring needs repair and restoration — all would be covered.
A complete review of JM’s policy, of course, would include the experience of filing a claim with them – something I’ll hopefully not have cause for. However, if anyone has filed a claim with them, please share your impressions!
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Next up… Part 5 – The Ring: Custom Setting from Dan and Caren of DanielM Jewelry