Is It Safe to Mail Jewelry?
If you are thinking about sending jewelry in the mail, it is understandable that you are concerned about it. There are a couple of questions concerning safety you might have.
Firstly, you are probably wondering whether it is physically safe to mail jewelry. Will delicate jewelry break? Will it be handled with care or thrown around like any other package?
Secondly, you may be concerned about theft. Will your jewelry reach its destination securely, or will it be intercepted along the way?
There is no way to 100% guarantee that your jewelry will safely reach its destination, but there are a number of steps that you can take to ensure that it will stay as safe as possible.
Protecting Your Jewelry Against Theft
Follow these tips to minimize the risk of someone stealing the jewelry you are mailing:
- Take steps to disguise your package. Do not use an envelope. Only use a box. If possible, use a box which appears to be made for mailing something else altogether.
- Never, ever label your box with “jewelry” or any words which are related, like “gold” or “gemstone.” Be careful what you put in the “from” field. If your business has the word “jewelry” in its name, leave it out or leave some other identifier. Use a shortened version of the business name, or simply use your personal name. Be sure that your recipient knows what you will be writing in this field. If you are sending your jewelry to another jewelry-related business, make sure that the name does not allude to jewelry. Remember, the address should get it to its proper destination. If you send jewelry through the mail regularly, you may want to vary the business name you use.
- Do not use jewelry-related catalogs or ads in your packing materials.
- If you must label the items inside your package, label them with something generic such as “supplies” or “parts.”
- When sealing your shipping box, use reinforced mailing tape or tamper-evident tape. This tape will make it obvious if someone has opened the box to see what is inside. This will in many cases act as a preventative, and keep anyone from tampering with your box or revealing its contents. Do not use materials like masking tape, cellophane tape, or string to secure your package.
- Be very wary of sending jewelry to certain countries. There are countries where theft of valuable items in the mail is common (the Ukraine is a good example), often by postal workers themselves. In these countries, mail is routinely opened and examined, and no one will be deterred by tamper-evident tape. You may not want to mail jewelry to recipients in these countries under any circumstances. If in doubt, ask the recipient. He or she should be able to tell you whether the local postal system is trustworthy. This should not be a problem in First World countries. If you operate a jewelry business, you may simply want to maintain a list of countries you refuse to sell/ship to, so that you can avoid this problem.
- Certain US zip codes are considered unsafe for sending jewelry, according to the Diamond Council. If you are shipping to or from any of the following zip codes, use caution: 10036, 90013, 90014, 90015, 60602, 60603, 60659, 94102, 94103, and 94108. If you can, try to arrange that packages go to a central convenience center instead of to one of these zip codes, and that the recipient go to pick up the package.
- Never use a drop box. Drop boxes are not secure, even if they are convenient, and you really have no idea who can get inside them.
Follow these steps to make sure your package gets to its destination:
- Use two boxes. Choose a medium-sized inner cardboard box and seal it and label it with your return address and the tracking number for the package. You can then place this box inside an outer box. Why do this? It’s just an extra precaution in case the label on the outer container is somehow tarnished during transit and becomes unreadable. Since jewelry is expensive and may have sentimental value, it is worth taking this extra step.
- Double- and triple-check the address of your recipient. It is not worth it to make any mistakes here.
- Require a signed receipt on delivery. This will ensure that your package reaches the proper person. Try to use registered mail when you can.
- Always get package tracking! A tracking number doesn’t cost much at all, and it will be essential if the package gets lost in the mail. Make sure you tell your recipient right away when the package is in the mail, and immediately share the tracking number. That way they can check on the delivery. If there is a loss, it is important that both you and the recipient know right away. The sooner you can identify a problem in shipping, the more likely it is you will be able to solve it and get the package back on track.
Protecting Your Jewelry Against Damage
Your other main concern when you are shipping jewelry is that the jewelry gets to its destination undamaged. Jewelry is often very fragile, and a single scratch or ding can significantly impact the value of a piece. Here are some steps you can take to protect your jewelry during shipping so that it all arrives in one piece:
- Ask for a “fragile” or “do not bend” stamp to be placed on your package. But remember, do not put any jewelry words on the box, and if you can, try to imply that the package holds some other less desirable contents!
- Use two boxes, as indicated earlier. This not only makes your mail more secure by providing a “backup” box with a repeat of all the information on the outer box, but adds protection as well.
- Do use a small jewelry box inside the medium-sized cardboard box which is inside your outer box. In other words, use three boxes.
- Use ample packing materials. You want the jewelry to jostle around as little as humanly possible. Bubble wrap and tissue paper both make good packing materials. You want as little space in your package as possible. If you do a good job packing, even if your package is dropped, in theory your jewelry should be just fine.
Whether you are mailing jewelry for business or personal reasons, any time you are sending something as valuable as jewelry, you should log the details of the shipment. Write down the item(s) you sent, their value, the date that you mailed them, whom you mailed them to, and how you mailed them. Put down the tracking number, and save the receipt.
Additionally, be sure to purchase insurance from the carrier. Some level of insurance may be automatically included, depending on the type of service you have ordered, but this is not always the case, and it may not be enough.
Priority Mail for example will cover up to $100 automatically, but if you want additional insurance, you have to purchase it separately. First-Class Registered Mail allows you to insure items up to $25,000, and First-Class Mail with Insurance lets you go up to $5,000. Keep in mind that the value of the item must be materially assessed, not sentimental.
So is it safe to send jewelry in the mail? It’s safe enough that people do it every day, including professionals operating jewelry businesses. Any time you send a valuable item through the mail, you are taking a risk, but you can mitigate that risk by following the advice in this article. Take extra steps to protect your jewelry, and it should safely reach its destination!