I’ve been a studio potter for 26 years now.  During that time I’ve made, traded, or purchased from other artists every piece of my dishware.  Every plate, cup, and bowl has a memory, a face, and a story.  Using them daily is a visit with old friends.

That was how I collected the jewelry that was stolen from my house on March 16 when it was tented for termites.  I’d purchased it from various artists over my 26 years doing art shows.  Every piece had a story.  For that reason it was possible to come up with all the data required for insurance reimbursement.  Yes, it was a pain.  I spent three days wracking my brain writing down every anal retentive description of each piece I could remember, the estimate of what I paid for it, and where and when I bought it.  I had not one receipt. I’m grateful for help from Lauren at Many Hands Gallery and Ann at the Arts Council of Santa Cruz when I just couldn’t come up with a name but had a good description of the jeweler’s style.

Enter my friend Google.  I looked up every artists’ name and included their websites in my lovely spreadsheet.  I LOVE spreadsheets and I became the detective determined to fill in every box completely so that I would get all my insurance money!  Game on!  By locating each artist I was able to contact them and get an estimate of what it would cost to replace these items.  I caught up briefly with old friends I hadn’t seen since the late nineties.  Did I mention I love Google?

Depreciation is not your friend where insurance is concerned as you get reimbursed for the depreciated value.  It was a sad tale for our electronics.  But with jewelry in good condition there is no depreciation.  What that meant was that I got every cent back for my jewelry less the unfortunate deductible and I submitted not one receipt.  Organization is king.  The assessors love it when you’re organized.

Here’s what I’ll do going forward.  I’ll get an appraisal of anything really valuable.  I should have done that with my mother’s rings.  In the end  AAA gave me what I estimated my dad paid for them way back when with no quibbling.  I had used Google to come up with my estimate.  Did I mention I love Google?  If I amass more than $2500 in jewelry I will purchase extra insurance to cover it, called a jewelry rider.  Every insurance company has a different reimbursement policy so read the fine print where the jewelry is concerned about riders.  Unfortunately I had more that $2500 worth of jewelry stolen so I lost out in that department.  Oh well.  AAA’s check came within 10 days of submission of my spreadsheet.  Now I get to go shopping!

Most importantly going forward with every piece of jewelry I purchase I will take a photo of it right next to it’s receipt.  And keep it all in spreadsheet of course.