It’s difficult to keep your valuables safe at all times. They’re meant to be worn and seen, and are often expensive, delicate, and small. You’d be hard pressed to find anything better for a thief to steal, or anything easier to lose or break.
Protecting your jewellery, then, is a matter of mitigating vulnerability. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of top tips on how to protect your valuables, whether you’re at home or abroad.
Don’t flaunt your jewellery on social media
Posting pictures of your jewellery online doesn’t just pique the interest of your friends, it may pique the interest of potential thieves.
Alarm and security firm ADT revealed that 78 per cent of burglars use Facebook and Twitter to target potential properties.
This is hardly surprising. After all, do you really know who’s following you on Instagram? What information does your feed unwittingly reveal that might help a thief work out where you live, when you’re not home, or what you own that’s worth stealing?
Google Street View is only a click away, and even then, they might not need it – geo-tagging your pictures hands your location to them! In fact, one in 12 Brits have reported a burglary after posting on social media, with more than half of these admitting they had location tagging turned on, according to a study by interiors firm Hillarys.
We’re not saying you should be paranoid, but it’s worth considering the implications of flaunting your jewellery on social media before you hit the post button.
Review your privacy settings, restrict the post’s visibility, turn location services off, and keep it vague. Likes on your pictures are great and everything, but you can’t cash them in for a new necklace.
Don’t leave your valuables on show
You’ve got the double glazing, deadbolt, house alarm, and security camera - but don’t be fooled into thinking your home is a fortress.
Thieves are resourceful, and leaving your valuables in plain sight is not a risk worth taking.
Don’t ever be tempted to leave them on the mantelpiece, in view of a window, or on a side table in your hallway. This just invites trouble and if somebody breaks into your home, it’s already sitting there waiting for them. In fact, if your jewellery is on a side table, would-be thieves might even spot it from the letterbox. That thought gives us chills too.
You could take it a bit further and store your most valuable items in an unsuspecting place like a utility cupboard as well. Dressers, underwear drawers, nightstands, and under your mattress are all a bit obvious to the discerning criminal.
Get a home safe
Following on from the last tip, you might want to consider investing in a home safe to stash all your valuables in.
You can install it somewhere inconspicuous, and even if a thief does break into your home and find it, they’ll still have to find a way of breaking into it. In an ideal world, they’ll leave once they realise what an inconvenience this is.
The key is in picking the right safe though. Be cautious about purchasing anything on the cheaper end of the market, as you really get what you pay for here. Similarly, don’t choose anything too obvious, as some thieves can learn how to crack safes simply by watching online videos.
This all said, a safe isn’t worth much if it isn’t bolted down. You don’t want a thief to just steal the whole thing and worry about cracking it later.
Keep your wits about you
We all find ourselves walking down a shady sidestreet from time to time, particularly if we're in unfamiliar territory.
If this happens to you, be wary of any strangers getting too close (especially if they make physical contact), try and move to a better lit and populated location, stay with your friends, and order your cab before leaving wherever you are. If you have to walk, plot your route before setting off so you know where you're going.
This advice rings doubly true when you’re abroad, as tourists are often targeted by pickpockets or sleight of hand thieves.
Keep an eye on your belongings at airport security
Speaking of going abroad, there’s obviously a lot chaos involved in visiting a foreign country.
While we’re all frantically kicking our shoes off, digging out our electronics, removing watches, and generally flapping trying not to hold up the line, some people are exploiting the chaos to help themselves to our stuff at airport security.
The time spent feeding your belongings through the X-ray machine and walking through the metal detector to retrieve them is largely out of your hands, but try to be mindful of them as they make their way along the conveyor belt. You want to minimise the time they’re left unsupervised.
Don’t leave anything in plain sight either – hide high-value items under coats or seal them in a separate pouch or bag pocket ahead of time.
With airlines charging extra for check-in luggage these days, more passengers are bringing everything onto the plane with them. Therefore, the less obvious it is that you own an expensive item of jewellery, the better.
Be selective about what valuables you bring abroad
You’re probably only going away for a week or two, so you don’t need to cart along all your prized possessions.
Between travelling, airport security, sightseeing, and hotel check-ins and check-outs, there are several opportunities for your jewellery to be lost, damaged or stolen.
Though we don’t want to give you fashion tips, we’d advise you to curate a small set of jewellery suitable for candlelit dinners, walks on the beach, and day trips to avoid one of the aforementioned things happening to your valuables.
Additionally, storing your valuables in a zipped inner pocket or unassuming case will ensure they’re both secure in transit, and hidden from view.
Once you get to your hotel, enquire about safe storage facilities. This way, you can relax knowing your valuables aren’t just sat in a drawer while you’re out and about.
Be sensible about where and when you wear your jewellery
While we’re sure you’re not playing rugby in family heirlooms or hockey in pearl necklaces, there are plenty of everyday activities that could result in your valuables being damaged or lost.
Gardening and DIY could see you snag a bracelet, crack a watch face, or lose an earring, for instance.
Going on holiday also presents several opportunities to lose your wedding ring. Suntan lotion couldn’t be better at loosening a ring from your finger, and once you go for a dip remember your fingers will prune and shrink, which can be just enough to carry your wedding ring out to sea.
Whatever activity you’re partaking in, it’s better to keep the jewellery to a minimum. With jewellery that’s rarely removed it’s imperative it’s adjusted to fit properly ahead of time. If you’re in doubt, keep it somewhere safe for the time being.
Put your jewellery away properly
Once you’re home from a night out, it’s tempting to strip off all your jewellery and dump it in a pile on your dresser, but this causes easily avoidable wear and tear.
Your jewellery isn’t only precious because of its cost or rarity; it can often be delicate as well. Necklaces can become tangled, clasps can snap, and jewellery can scratch against itself as it scrunches together. Your jewellery should be kept in a fabric-lined jewellery box or compartmentalised case after it’s been worn.
Storing your jewellery away from humid environments will prevent tarnishing too (particularly of silver), and keeping it enclosed for storage will stop grime and dust building up. Additionally, fastening necklaces after removing them helps prevent pendants sliding off, as well as tangling and knotting from occurring.
Maintain your jewellery
Gold doesn’t rust, but that doesn’t make it invulnerable to wear and corrosion. Quite a lot of gold jewellery is actually made with other metal alloys, which aren’t quite so easy-going. It’s important to regularly clean your jewellery free from sweat and other damaging substances for this reason (for example chlorine, saltwater, bleach).
There are some old wives’ tales when it comes to cleaning jewellery, so let’s dispel some myths.
Firstly, directly applied toothpaste and baking soda aren’t suitable for the job. They’re abrasive, which means trace amounts of metal are stripped with each use. Alcohol is too harsh for many gems as well, so it’s best to stick to specialised jewellery cleaning products and services, or simply warm soapy water with a soft-bristled toothbrush.
Using methods like these to protect your jewellery will go a long way to ensuring your valuables stay as strong, bright, and beautiful as the first day you got them.
Make sure your valuables are insured with sufficient cover
The last step in mitigating the risk of losing your precious jewellery is to acknowledge that despite best efforts, sometimes we’re just unlucky. Things break, things are lost, and things are stolen. It’s a fact of life. Prevention only takes you so far, so it’s imperative to invest in the right insurance to make up the difference.
Many of us assume our jewellery is covered by our home or travel insurance. However, these can be fraught with exclusions, low single article limits, territorial limits, and other impractical stipulations you’d only encounter in the small print, or when trying to claim.
That’s why, at Ripe Insurance for Valuables, we’ve created a flexible, specialist policy designed to protect your most treasured possessions, whether you’re home or abroad.
Discover how our cover can protect you and get an instant online quote with us today.