How To Photograph Your Jewelry For Insurance

Your engagement ring, heirloom pieces, and jewelry collection are worth protecting. Jewelry insurance is supplemental insurance you can purchase at retailers and through most home insurance agents to protect the pieces you cherish. But is it worth it?

The answer depends on a number of factors, including the overall value of your collection or item and whether or not an insurance settlement could replace the items if they were stolen. For example, the priceless Crown Jewels of England are uninsured. They have never been officially valued, but estimates suggest they are worth “at least $4 billion.” With a net worth of about $88 billion, the Royal Family chooses to carry the risk. Contrary to the English tradition, the Swedish Royal Family carries insurance on their Crown Jewels, including those stolen on July 31, 2018. Although the insurance cannot replace the priceless 17th-century funerary jewels of King Karl IV and Queen Kristina, an insurance claim could provide a measure of monetary condolence.

How to Photograph Jewelry for Insurance Purposes

If you decide to insure your jewels know that even if all the requirements are met you will be rewarded the cost of materials; the ounces of silver, or gold, and the carats of stones, that it would take to replace your item(s). You will not be compensated for sentimental value or labor should a one-of-a-kind item need to be crafted.

In the event that your insured jewelry is stolen (let’s hope never!) your photos and appraisals will help determine your claim. Taking the right kind of photos will make a big difference in your case. Follow the tips below to make sure your insurance photos capture the true value of your jewelry collection.

  • Get your jewelry cleaned.
  • Photograph items individually.
  • Take three pictures of each item, one from above, one from the side and one from the front.
  • Use a tripod to minimize blur.
  • Use natural light (go outside) in the late afternoon to take advantage of the golden hour when the light conditions are ideal.
  • Turn your item between photos to capture different light and shadow.
  • Use only white and black backgrounds. Gold looks better on white and silver shines on black.
  • No flash!
  • You can use a drop of hot glue to get your rings to “stand up” for better photos.
  • Take close-ups. Move physically closer to the jewelry item instead of using the zoom feature. Zooming in can make the clearest diamond look like flat glass.
  • Use a macro lens or the macro setting. It is the little flower setting on your camera. Most phones have this setting too. You can access it by setting your camera mode to manual and clicking on the flower icon.
  • Save your pictures in more than one place. Keeping the photos on your camera, or on your phone is fine, but also save these images in other places, like on your laptop, on a USB drive, and in the cloud. Always keep backups!

Make sure to update your photos occasionally. Not only do cameras improve in quality, so too do your photography skills. As the market fluctuates the monetary value of your jewelry as goes up. Gold cost about $260 per troy ounce in 1999. In 2019 the value of gold is much higher. As of this writing, 1 troy ounce of gold costs about $1500. Your gold ring is worth more than that in sentimental value, but it is nice to know that in the case of loss, an insurance claim may offer a larger sum than you thought.


© Pendant and Ring 2018

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