Beyond the assurance of purchasing quality jewelry from a reputable jeweler and having it properly appraised and insured, you still need to protect your jewelry. Here are some helpful tips for safeguarding your jewelry from theft, loss, and damage. And remember, should your insured jewelry be stolen, lost, or damaged, be sure to contact your insurance agent.
Keep your home secure. Most home thefts occur during daylight and when burglars have reason to think that they can gain easy and undetected access, quickly take what they want, and escape without incident. Thus, you need to provide deterrence.
Make sure your home is equipped with good quality doors, windows, and locks. If you're so inclined, consider a home security system and professional monitoring service. Keep doors and windows closed and locked, especially when you’re away from the house. Even if you're outside in the backyard, keep the front door closed and locked.
Make sure your house and grounds look like somebody lives there and might be home. Keep the lawn mowed, shrubbery trimmed, and flower beds weeded. Pick up newspapers and mail. If you'll be away for a while, stop newspaper and mail delivery. If away for only a few days, arrange for a neighbor to pick them up daily for you. Consider putting lights, a radio, or television on a timer system to create the appearance that somebody is home.
When away from your home for extended periods, store your jewelry in a secure location, such as an in-home safe or a bank safe deposit box. Do not store your jewelry in a bedroom dresser or jewelry case, which are the obvious first places a thief will look. Instead, keep them locked in a secure container in an unlikely hiding place.
Around the home, keep your jewelry stored when not wearing. Do not leave jewelry sitting on tables, dresser tops, or counters where they could be bumped unnoticed, fall into the garbage disposal, otherwise "disappear," and be forgotten.
When traveling, keep your jewelry with you. Do not store in luggage that will be handled by others and is thus out of sight for extended periods. Also, when not being worn, keep your jewelry secure in a room safe, hotel safe, or with the ship's purser.
Jewelry is more easily damaged than you might think. Remove your jewelry when playing sports, working in the garden, engaged in manual labor, handling and using power tools, working on the car, mixing and handling outdoor chemicals (fertilizers, insecticides, etc.), using heavy-duty cleaning products and solvents, servicing swimming pools or hot tubs, or any activity where the jewelry could be bumped, chipped, broken, discolored, damaged, or otherwise lose its intended shape and appearance.
If your jewelry is damaged, gather the pieces (if broken) and keep them together. Photograph the damage if possible, and write down the circumstances surrounding the jewelry's damage, as these details may be useful for insurance purposes.
Report claims as soon as possible. Before having jewelry repaired, get authorization from your claims adjuster.
Also, consider periodic inspection of your jewelry. Some items, such as wedding sets, are worn daily and seldom removed, and are thus subjected to the potential hazards of everyday living. Prongs that hold gemstones in place in their mounting are prone to wear, and can be easily repaired before a stone is lost. Many jewelers typically provide cleaning and inspection as a free service, so take advantage of it.
Paul Shikhvarger GG
Graduate Gemologist G.I.A.
Pacific Jewelry Appraisers