At a glance
- Ensuring valuable jewellery is correctly valued is vital if high-net-worth clients are to avoid underinsurance
- A valuation report will make it easier to replace or recover an item should it get lost or stolen
- We also explore how clients can keep these items safe at home or abroad
Items of jewellery are often some of our clients’ most treasured possessions. Due to their construction, monetary value and sentimental value, they require a greater level of care.
Getting professional valuations
It is important that regular valuations of jewellery and watches are carried out to ensure that items or collections are not underinsured and we recommend that these items are revalued at least every five years.
When valuations are undertaken, it is important to check that the jeweller or valuer is a member of the National Association of Jewellers (NAJ) or a member of the Guild of Valuers and Jewellers. Valuers may charge a percentage of the value of the jewellery or a fixed fee for valuations.
A professional valuation should include a full description and photograph of the item. Therefore, if an item of jewellery is lost or stolen, this document will make it easier to replace or recover an item. It will also provide the Police with a detailed description to aid the chances of recovery.
Zurich Private Clients’ valuation service includes the option for a home visit from an expert from Bonhams or Mappin & Webb. They can provide a bespoke report giving full details about the watch being valued, including materials and techniques used, and can help clients make accurate valuations in the future.
Buying jewellery items
Many retailers, when selling modern diamonds weighing more than one carat, provide a diamond grading report stating the grade (colour, clarity, carat and cut) of the diamond.
It is important to retain any diamond grading laboratory report given at purchase.
Keeping jewellery safe
Safes provide a secure environment within the home for jewellery, precious metals, sentimental items and money.
There are various types and designs of safe, all of which are suitable for different needs.
The physical size of a safe does not always relate to the level of protection it can provide. For maximum protection, a safe should be housed within an alarmed, yet easily accessible and well lit area, benefitting where possible, from 24-hour alarm coverage or fitted with a safe limpet.
Safes are rated in cash values, which is a method of classifying security safes by their security level. Manufacturers design their safes to meet various levels of security and these are designated by a cash rating from £1,000 up to £150,000. The jewellery rating of a safe can be calculated from its cash rating and indicates the value of jewellery that can be kept in it. The jewellery rating is flexible, depending on the type, size and location of the safe.
When purchasing a safe, the locking mechanism must be considered. Most modern safes are fitted with electronic locks that are powered by standard alkaline batteries. Each lock has a low battery level indicator, but even if the battery is flat the internal memory of the lock will retain the user code. Electronic locks are both reliable and flexible as the code can be re-programmed as many times as required.
The quality of the safe can be measured by a number of standards; the most reliable of which are those that are Eurograde Tested. Any safe tested to this level is respected by the European Insurance Industry for protecting cash or valuables overnight up to various cash levels depending on model and grade. This is the ultimate test for security storage. In addition, there are safes that have been ‘Sold Secure’ certificated which is a scheme evaluated by attack testing, and has been conceived by the Police with the help of the Home Office. This scheme is administered by the Master Locksmiths Association, who work closely with both the Police and insurance companies.
In addition, there are specialist safes available for specific collections, including safes incorporating watch winders, chilling facilities for wine collections and humidors for cigar collections. Bespoke safes are useful where space is of a premium or if something unique is required. Specialist safe companies can install internal lighting systems, additional drawer inserts, offer a wide variety of colour options and a variety of locking mechanisms.
In all cases, it is imperative that a safe is installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
For high value jewellery schedules, it may be necessary to have two or more safes. This enables you to spread your collection in more than one secure location within your home and can be of more benefit than upgrading an existing safe. Many jewellery thefts involve a hold-up situation and the splitting of valuable items between safes helps to further reduce the risk of them being stolen.
Strong rooms and bank vaults
Other precautions for larger collections include strong rooms and bank vaults. Strong rooms are normally purpose-built rooms with either solid timber doors or, for high values at risk, a steel door similar to a safe. The construction and lock will determine the value of the items that can be stored within.
Vaults in high-street banks are ideal locations for unworn jewellery, watches and sentimental items, or for the safe keeping of jewellery when away from the home.
For more information on Zurich Private Clients or our valuations service, speak to your local Zurich contact.
Top tips to keeping jewellery safe
- Ensure that there is adequate safe protection in all homes, including weekend and holiday homes
- Keep valuable pieces out of sight when travelling to special functions or holiday destinations
- Keep jewellery items on the person or in your hand luggage when flying
- Make use of the main hotel safe facilities
- Avoid wearing an accumulation of high-value pieces in areas or places that you don’t know
- Turn rings around to conceal diamonds and stones and cover high-value watches with long-sleeved clothing when in busy, public areas
- Have the clasps and settings on jewellery and watches inspected by a jeweller on a regular basis, to ensure that they have not become worn or damaged