You might want to ask the grandparents about this one:
Remember the phenomenal Taylor-Burton diamond, the 69-carat, pear-cut diamond bought by the actors Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor in 1969?
Well, of course, you don’t, but that’s one more reason to cherish those grandparents of yours, right? In case they can’t remember either, believe me when I say this thing created a huge worldwide buzz even without the benefit of Twitter.
What hardly anyone knows is the reason the diamond had gone on the market at all: Its original owner, Harriet Annenberg Ames, felt she couldn’t wear it in public for fear of being robbed. She also felt that letting it sit in a bank vault seemed a waste.
Sadly, one of the terms of Burton’s insurance policy on the diamond was that it do just that: spend most of its time in a bank vault. The gem could only be worn 30 days a year, and Taylor had to be accompanied by armed guards when wearing it in public.
More recently, Kim Kardashian had guards, too, but that didn’t prevent armed robbers from stealing nearly $10 million in jewels from her — including her nearly $5 million, 20-carat diamond ring — while she was traveling in Paris.
So let’s assume you own a really nice diamond ring or necklace and are planning a big trip this summer but cannot stand the idea of leaving it behind.
What do you do? First thing you might want to check is your insurance policy and ask yourself a few questions:
- Does your policy provide “worldwide coverage?”
- Is the amount of coverage provided while traveling different than it might be while you’re at home?
- Are there any expectations about where you should secure your bauble while traveling? For example, are you required to keep it in a hotel safe rather than a room safe?
- Is the deductible eliminated for most causes of loss?
- Does it come with inflation protection?
If your policy falls short on any of the above, it might be a good time to think about whether you haven’t outgrown the standard policy you bought 10-15 years ago.
Also, remember that the more information you can provide to insurance companies, the better they can assist you.
I suggest keeping an up-to-date appraisal in a secured area. The appraisal should include type of jewelry, what it’s made of, the gemstones used and how they are graded. It should be signed by a graduate gemologist or diamond gemologist and dated by the appraiser.
Your jewelry’s condition also must be included in the assessment; a specialist should appraise rare pieces.
And remember to check in with an appraiser on a regular basis to keep pace with market fluctuations. Particularly with rare or large collections, values can change dramatically.
Regardless of your jewelry’s insurance policy’s specific terms, always adhere to these general safety rules: When traveling, keep your expensive items with you at all times, or use the hotel vault (not the room safe, as mentioned earlier). Don’t pack jewelry in your luggage or wear valuables to less secure areas like the pool or beach.
Finally, if you love dazzling while you travel, but don’t want the worry or extra security, follow Elizabeth Taylor’s example and consider investing in “travel jewelry.” Taylor had a replica made of her renowned diamond. At $2,800, it cost a fraction of the real McCoy and undoubtedly made her trips more carefree.
Mike Rosser leads the Private Client Group practice at CCIG. Reach him at MikeR@thinkccig.com or 720-212-2068.
CCIG is a Denver-area insurance brokerage with the full-service capabilities of a national brokerage. We do more than make sure you have the right policy. We also help you manage your long-term cost of insurance with our risk and claims management expertise and a commitment to service excellence.
Note: Trice Jewelers is CCIG’s preferred fine jewelry appraiser.