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The thought struck Steven Zaretsky during a party two years ago, when he looked over at his wife and the 7.35-carat, pear-shaped diamond hanging on a thin chain around her neck. It had been a gift from her father to her mother, and later, to her. What was it insured for? When was the last time it had been certified and appraised?

Mr. Zaretsky took the stone from his home in New Jersey to his jeweler in Queens. The jeweler sent the stone away to theGemological Institute of America, or G.I.A., a nonprofit industry group that appraises and certifies diamonds.

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