Regardless of their value, diamonds, gold and other precious gemstones and metals are fun and exciting to own and wear . See “Diamonds: a Cut Above.” The only downside is the risk of misplacement, damage and theft—the latter the primary cause of financial loss.
Theft is the primary risk to diamond ownership, since damaging a diamond is difficult, though not impossible, because of its hard exterior. (See the Great Star of Africa, left)
Scratches and chips are indeed possible, and it is advisable to store jewelry in soft cloth in a jewelry box or safe deposit box. Owners also are counseled to make sure that a certified jeweler periodically checks jewelry to assure the prongs and clasps are secure. Wear and tear over time can loosen stones, giving rise to another risk of ownership—lost gems.
The FBI ranks jewelry theft as second only to automobile theft nationwide, with the wholesale and retail jewelry industry enduring more than $100 million a year in financial losses. Jewelry thieves know their diamonds, using pocket loupes, or small magnifying glasses, to inspect gems for the Four C’s. Once a stone is removed from a setting, it is difficult to document ownership. While laser inscribing the owner’s name or other identifying data offers a measure of security, savvy thieves simply re-cut a stolen diamond to remove the inscription.
The first place a burglar will look for valuable gemstones is the bedroom, especially jewelry left in plain sight. It is advisable to install a home safe specifically designed for jewelry, one that is secured into the infrastructure and cannot be removed. It also makes sense to have two security alarm systems, one to detect intruders at the perimeter of the home and another dedicated exclusively to the safe. The sound of the alarm during tampering should scare off most thieves. Many burglaries are committed by individuals permitted unfettered access to home environs—hence the need to conduct deep background criminal checks during staff recruitment. The installation of video monitors in the house is also advisable.