Keeping Your Jewelry Safe

Somehow, 4 years have passed since I wrote an article about how to keep your jewlery safe. Given that this is a very important topic, I figured it was definitely time to re-visit the subject. Guest editor, Jennifer Bressie, has some wise words for us this week:

You might be surprised by the chosen topic this time, as it seems I have kind of become known as the wacky sidekick from previous posts! As a lover of jewels, I can’t think of a more important topic than keeping our beloved safe! As I mentioned in an earlier post, this blog has cost me a fortune and I now have a much more valuable collection of jewelry. I am not talking like walk-in-safe, with retinae scanner collection, but one that would make the average jewel thief quite happy!

Sadly, where I live in the Bay Area there have been a barrage of break-ins. In fact, my parent’s house was broken into just last year! I decided it was high time I take some action to protect my collection.

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As Amy has previously mentioned, protecting the family jewels (ha ha couldn’t resist) can be broken down into a couple of categories. The first is protecting them from being stolen, with a safe or a killer hiding-place, which Amy covered in an earlier post. The second is the area of insuring the jewelry, which can be quite costly and not necessarily leave you as covered as one might think. I decided this was my first step.

I called my insurance broker to ask a few questions. For starters, I have a homeowner’s policy and I have a separate policy to cover jewelry. I had long thought that my homeowner’s policy would cover everything else besides that specified in the rider. WRONG! Depending on your policy, most cover $1,000 to $20,000 for theft, fire, and loss. Often there is a cap that no one item can cost more than $1500. If you think about everything in your home including electronics, clothes, and jewelry, it’s pretty easy to reach that number!

I am not an insurance agent, I don’t have any friends who are insurance agents and I find all of this very confusing! Also, it’s hard to get honest, unbiased answers on this subject because most people who know about it are trying to sell you insurance! I did call some brokers, but the best advice I received was from a friend of mine in the jewelry business. In addition to a great recommendation for a safe, which works in conjunction with your home security system, he had the best advice for insurance.

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Here are some questions to ask when looking into jewelry insurance:

Current Insurance: Is my homeowner’s/renter’s insurance enough? Or do I need a separate policy? What exactly is covered and for how much? What kind of loss is covered? Fire, theft, looking down and your ring one day and seeing the stone is gone? Are there precautions I can take which might lower my premium? (Safe, alarm, safety deposit box, etc.)

Compensation: How will I be compensated? Does the insurance company write me a check? Do they let me replace with exact designer, etc. or do they replace it with one of their preferred jewelers?

Claims: How do I file a claim and what will be required of me? Will I need a police report? Receipts and photos? Recent appraisals? A note here, it is very important to not only keep your receipts for your fine jewelry but also, you will want to have some appraisals. For example, you may have purchased a gold bracelet back in 2004 when gold was $450 an ounce. To replace that bracelet today, with gold at over $1250 an ounce, means you will need to spend quite a bit more for the same bracelet.

Here are some further thoughts on ways to keep jewels safe and wearable:

1. Keep great records of what you have. Amy keeps an itemized spreadsheet of her belongings on her computer and a back up print out with her mom. I am not quite this organized, but I do have a folder with every single receipt and have just recently embarked on having the appraisals updated and will be creating a spreadsheet similar to Amy’s. I will also include photos of the item.

spreadsheet for jewlery
2. Regularly check your jewelry for wear and tear. Are there loose stones? Are the clasps all still in good working order?

3. Be cautious about travelling with your jewelry. Limit items to those versatile pieces that work well with your outfits, maybe limit the dollar value of what you bring and certainly triple-check the hotel safe to make sure you have everything!

4. The same goes for at home; while it’s always fun to wear our jewels, certain activities just don’t require them and leave you exposed to loss or damage. I’m thinking of you, lady with the 5-carat diamond ring who I have seen take off and leave in the gym locker! Are you kidding me?!

5. Have a great way to store your jewelry at home. Invest in a safe if you have a valuable collection. It is preferable if the safe bolts to the floor or is built into the wall, but even a small well-hidden safe can make your beauties hard to get.

Jennifer, thank you so much for this informative article! And you, my readers — what are you doing to keep your jewelry safe? Please share any tips you may have in the comments below.