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Wear Your Precious Jewelry Through Airport Security, Says TSA

Fine jewelry should never be packed into checked luggage.

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WITH SUMMER VACATIONS right around the corner, we have fresh information and expert advice on the best way to take your precious jewelry possessions through airport security.

In most cases, it’s perfectly OK to wear your fine jewelry through the checkpoint station instead of removing it, according to the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Your fine jewelry should NEVER be packed into your checked luggage.

As long as the jewelry is not really bulky, you should keep your jewelry on your body as you walk through metal detectors or imaging devices.

Chances are the jewelry won’t alarm, and if it does you can let an officer inspect it with you there.

If you are traveling with very valuable items, you can ask the TSA officer to screen you and your jewelry in private to maintain your security.

“In general, jewelry doesn’t need to be removed before going through security,” wrote the TSA on its Twitter page called @AskTSA. “However, we recommend putting on heavy jewelry after you go through security, to reduce the likelihood of an alarm that results in a pat-down screening.”

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In that case, the heavy jewelry should be placed in a carry-on bag and then put on after the screening process.

Additional items should be stored in the carry-on bag because it stays with you throughout your air travel journey. It’s additionally useful to keep your jewelry untangled and organized in a travel jewelry case. These handy travel companions usually have a zipped enclosure with dedicated space for earrings, necklaces, rings and bracelets.

Avoid putting fine jewelry in the plastic bowls that typically hold smaller items, such as pocket change and money clips. Bowls can easily flip over on the conveyor belt.

IMPORTANT: Under no circumstances should you pack your fine jewelry in checked luggage. Here’s real-life example of how doing so can turn out very, very badly…

Back in 2006, the Duchess of Argyll was returning to Glasgow, Scotland, after a short stay in London. The 68-year-old dowager duchess had checked a bag containing more than $150,000 worth of jewelry, including a Victorian diamond tiara, Cartier brooch, emerald ring and pearl earrings.

Yes, the bag was lost.

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The Duchess filed a complaint with the airport and police authorities, but the bag was never turned in… or at least that’s what the Duchess believed.

In fact, the bag did resurface, but the airport authorities auctioned the jewelry instead of making any effort to return the items to their rightful owner. A British diamond merchant claimed the lot for a mere $7,500 (exactly 5% of their value) and the proceeds were donated by the airport to charity.

In 2012, the Duchess spotted her Cartier brooch in a Scottish auction catalog and promptly hired a lawyer to investigate. Airport authorities were embarrassed by a lost-luggage saga with high-profile implications.

After offering to reimburse the diamond merchant for his cooperation, operators of Glasgow Airport successfully reunited the Duchess with her brooch and tiara. Sadly, she would never see her emerald ring or pearl earrings again. A hard lesson learned.

Howard Cohen is the Shoreham, NY-based editor of The Jeweler Blog, a daily blog ghost-written for retail jewelers. Cohen, a long-time industry veteran, is dedicated to making social media tasks simple and affordable for every jeweler. For more information, visit thejewelerblog.com or contact Cohen at 631-821- 8867, [email protected]. Websites: thejewelerblog.com, thejewelerblog.wordpress.com.

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