Warning for Jewelry Owners: How to Avoid Fake Gem Lab Reports

Near the end of 2019, the Accredited Gemologists Association (AGA) issued an alert to consumers and its industry. The AGA had learned fake gem lab reports are circulating that feature the unauthorized use of AGA’s logo. AGA’s notice is similar to an announcement the Asian Institute of Gemological Sciences issued in 2018, when that organization became aware of fraudulent lab reports bearing its logo. The following tips can help jewelry owners and consumers avoid fake gem lab reports.

couple looking at watches in a jewelry store

1. An “AGA Lab Report” Is Always a Fake

Any report supposedly issued by the Accredited Gemologists Association or bears AGA’s logo is always a fraudulent report. The AGA is not a lab. The organization never issues gem lab reports.

2. Look Carefully at the Lab’s Name

Frequently, fraudulent labs try to confuse the public by using a name that’s very similar to the name of a respected laboratory. According to Jewelry Insurance Issues, a newsletter for the insurance industry, fake labs are using names such as GIE and GLA to mimic the name of the well-known and highly-respected GIA.

3. Research the Lab Report Number

Gem lab report numbers are checked easily online. Jewelry owners can enter the report number on the websites of trustworthy gem labs like the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), Gem Certification and Assurance Laband American Gem Society Lab. Researching the report number may reveal conclusions such as:

  • No such report number exists.
  • The number is associated with a report that describes a different gem.
  • Your report is authentic.

4. Learn Other Signs of a Fake Gem Lab Report

Reputable labs do not assign a value to the gem or carry a retailer’s logo. If either appears on the gem report, the report has not been issued by a reliable, independent gem lab. 

The Takeaway

A gem lab report from an unreliable or nonexistent gem lab is completely worthless. Jewelry owners need to seek the services of a qualified gemologist who also has insurance appraisal training. The AGA maintains an online directory of accredited gemologists that can be sorted by state.

Your jewelry needs to be appraised to be properly insured at the right value. When you purchase new jewelry or receive jewelry as a gift, you should always notify your local independent insurance agent.

How Much is Your Property Worth?

Some possessions in your home are more valuable than others.  These items can be a curated collection, such as fine porcelain figurines, baseball cards or comic books.  Other valuable items can be heirloom jewelry or fine art pieces, including paintings, sketches, and sculptures.

The value of these special items is not defined only by a monetary figure.  There is also the intrinsic value, the emotional value to you.  There is a fond family memory surrounding a particular heirloom object. What about the satisfaction of assembling learning about a particular collection of items, such as sculpted glass paperweights or famous autographs. This can be appraised but cannot be monetized due to the emotional value they hold.

Your homeowners insurance likely only covers a minimal amount of these valuable items, not necessarily covering the true market value in the event of a calamity that damages or destroys these valuable possessions. 

These special items need to be appraised by a professional to create a monetary record of their worth.  The expense of such an appraisal is well worth the cost in the event of a claim against your Homeowners Insurance and your desire to obtain the proper recompense for the damage or loss to these valuables.

There are two avenues to obtain an appraisal of your valuable items.  The first, and possibly less-costly, is to obtain an appraisal through a recognized expert.  For example, a jeweler can complete an appraisal of your heirloom jewelry items.  Likewise, an expert in art, or objets d’ art can be consulted to provide an appraisal opinion for other items you may own.  

The second method is to engage a Certified and Licensed Appraiser.  Typically we think of appraisers as professionals in the real estate trade, to appraise homes.  But Appraisers are trained in specific valuation methodologies.  There is a regimen that Appraisers follow to assemble a high-grade valuation of your personal property.  This regimen is based on professionally-accepted standards necessary for an appraisal to be certified.

While the cost of the latter valuation method may be higher than that of an expert opinion, you may want to incur the higher cost to provide your insurance carrier with the best possible valuation.   If you are using an expert opinion, be sure the documentation they use is acceptable to your insurance carrier.  You don’t want to find out that your carrier will not accept valuation documents when filing a claim.

Call us today to discuss how to appraise the true value of your treasured possessions and how to understand your coverage. That’s what happens when you work with an Independent Insurance Agent! Call now at 617-298-0655 or text us at 617-409-0329. Click here to Visit our Contact Us page.