Rocking Rocks

Diamonds are forever. They’re also a girl’s best friend and an insurance nightmare. But they needn’t be.

A few days ago I was lucky enough to be invited back to Hiscox to listen to a lecture by John C Benjamin of Antiques Roadshow fame entitled “Romancing The Stone”. In a roomful of people (admittedly more ladies than gents) John carefully explained how the insurance industry has a duty to carefully work with valuers to prevent the catastrophe that is underinsurance. He went on to take us through a presentation of cases which left us with our jaws hanging in disbelief; sometimes in horror, and sometimes in blatant, outright jealousy.

The first point that John made was one with which I wholeheartedly agree. You can never insure for sentimental value. Perhaps one of the greatest factors of owning a piece of jewellery is that it is likely to have a deeply personal connection to you, a connection for which no amount of financial compensation could replace the emotional loss to you. There are expensive gems, inexpensive gems and mega-bucks-queen of England gems, but a piece of jewellery that means something to you will have no greater value on anyone else’s hand than your own.

The second point John made was that something is only worth what someone else is willing to pay for it. As with all commodities, the prices will rise and fall based on supply and demand, and what is deemed to be ‘fashionable’ at the time. A broker with a bit of gem knowledge may be able to make an accurate guess by comparing the rock in question to similar stones, and the prices they had been sold for recently.

I questioned the power of the brand when it came to diamonds. How did a Tiffany diamond come to be the epitome of all that glitters? John explained that even with diamonds branding and history can adjust the value of a piece of jewellery. The Hope Diamond (famous for its unusual colour and size) gained even more notoriety as each of its owners befell some cruel and unfortunate fate. When Harry Winston got hold of The Hope, he used its romantic and superstitious background to pull in crowds whilst he exhibited it, making a fortune from it before even having to sell it on.

Whilst your own personal collection may not draw the audience of The Hope diamond, jewellery is meant to be worn, and a cheap insurance policy may mean you have to have your baubles tucked away in a bank somewhere never to be seen by the light of day. A high net worth insurance policy provides the solution by making sure you are covered for the exact value of what you are wearing at any given moment. Brokers understand that the jewellery you wear is a lifestyle choice and will make sure you have the right protection in place. They will also be able to recommend a valuer so that you know the correct amount each piece should be insured for. Your broker will also ensure this is done with the upmost discretion, as well as caution towards the overall expense.

I have never met a woman who has not wanted her jewellery insured correctly, regardless of the shape, style or the value. In the infamous words of a lady perhaps best know for her love of diamonds “Size does matter, but so does the size of the emotion behind it.” Elizabeth Taylor was a client who knew the true value of the rocks she so loved.

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