Who Insures Celebrity Jewelry?

January 20, 2014

Jennifer Lawrence

The Oscar nominations have been announced and soon everyone will be asking the golden question: Who are you wearing? And while many are quick to first look at a celebrity’s suit or gown, it’s those sparkling accessories that truly make an outfit shine.

Jewelry on the red carpet is a big deal. It can mean big business and new opportunities for a small-time jeweler looking to make its break into the industry. Yes, this is the time of year when designers, brand consultants and public relations companies are all busy trying to get their pieces on celebrities—including some of the biggest names in Hollywood. Whether it’s a sparkly pendant on a necklace worn by Jennifer Lawrence or ritzy tie clip on Leonardo DiCaprio, designers know all eyes will be on the details.

When it comes to insurance, red carpet jewelry is a matter of time and place. Janece White, the vice president and jewelry-underwriting specialist for the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, spoke to Fox Business about the business of bling. She says typically jewelers carry “jewelers block” insurance, which covers and protects their entire jewelry inventory. This coverage may extend to loan or consignment, but once that jewelry is on a celebrity, it’s up to the celebrity to have insurance on the piece.

“If the celebrity already has jewelry coverage, their insurer may be able to extend its limits to cover the event,” White says in the article. “But if they don’t have coverage, it would be very difficult to buy insurance for those couple of days. They would have to buy short-term coverage from an insurance broker through a syndicate like Lloyd’s of London, and it would be very expensive.”

Jorge Adeler, a custom jeweler maker with a studio in Great Falls, Virginia got his big break on the red carpet. His pieces caught the attention of so many A-listers, he had to open a showroom in Beverly Hills, California just to accommodate all the requests to wear his jewelry at some of Hollywood’s hottest events.

“Our insurance covers the jewelry until it’s in the celebrity’s hands, then they are responsible for it,” Adeler told Fox Business.

Jewelry heists in Hollywood are a big thing. Last year’s Bling Ring, a Sophia Coppola film, was based on the real life events of a jewelry theft ring in Hollywood Hills that hit Hollywood stars such as Rachel Bilson, Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton. More than $3 million worth of jewelry was stolen before the group was caught and charged with theft and, more or less, “robbing the rich.”

In fact, jewelry theft is such a big problem in the States all jewelry and gem theft is investigated by the FBI. Los Angeles, Houston, Miami, and New York City are the most popular “fencing” cities, which, incidentally, are also home to some of today’s biggest stars. According to the FBI, “the jewelry industry loses more than $100 million dollars each year” due to theft and heists.

When a celebrity is insuring a red carpet piece, “the jeweler’s insurance will typically require the celebrity to either show proof of sufficient ‘valuable articles coverage’ or sign an agreement that assumes financial responsibility for loss, damage, and theft out of his or her own pocket,” the Fox Business article reports.

The change in insurance happens at the point of transfer—when the jeweler passes the piece off to the celebrity.

So when you’re watching your favourite celebrities arrive to the red carpet at the Oscars on March 2, pay attention to those iridescent accents. Red carpet jewelry is big money and the Oscars are where it really gets to shine.