Many clients come to National Estate Jewelers to buy jewelry and have jewelry appraised. Often, I am asked, “Where is the best place to hide jewelry?” My answer is always the same - “There is no best place to hide jewelry”. Never use a jewelry box, it’s the first place a perpetrator will look. It’s almost like leaving a note that says, “Take me, jewelry inside.” Other places that will automatically be searched include - in a shoe box, under sox/underwear in the drawer or in the refrigerator.
There is no safe place at home to hide your valuables. Still, some people do. The problem also becomes - what if you forget where it is or if something happens to you? Therefore, it is vital to tell someone you trust that you have valuables hidden and their location - should it be needed. One of my clients found a shaving can with valuables - 3 watches valued at $45,000 which could have been thrown out by mistake. Another client hid a small box of silver dollars under floorboards many years ago, as an adolescent. When it came time to move, the silver dollars could not be found!
Should you Buy a Safe?
I do not recommend a home safe. A home safe has some concerns. Before you decide to buy a safe, please read below:
If a safe is being delivered that is not brown paper wrapped or in an unlabeled truck (anonymity), it can alert others.
While it’s tempting to tell children, friends and family members, there may be innocent comments made to others alerting them of your safe. Kids may be excited to share the news, possibly creating unwanted interest.
If family members or an employee (housekeeper) is at your home and they do not know the combination, have the pin number or key, your home can be ransacked, and those inside can be held hostage until you return.
If the safe is on the first floor and not very heavy, it can be easily removed. A perpetrator will not think twice about tossing it through a wall, window or simply carrying it out.
However, if you do decide to buy a safe, my recommendations include:
Only contact a reputable safe company (not a mover to save money) who will first survey your property to ensure that the weight (which should be a minimum of 600 - 700 pounds) can be placed on the floor - except the ground level (if multiple levels exist), making it harder to remove. The company will provide an estimate to carry it to another level.
To open, various options exist: key, mechanical combination, electronic combination or fingerprint.
Must offer fire, water and theft protection for a certain amount of time. (see its accreditation rating)
Do not keep or paste the combination too close to the safe. Many apps are available to store passwords or combinations, such as LastPass.
Once you buy a safe, it should also be alarmed and have a panic button to keep your jewelry safe! Remember to tell someone you trust about the location of the safe, along with entry instructions. I also strongly recommend having a rider added to your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy. Expensive pieces should have specific jewelry coverage, due to policy limits. Remember to have valuables reviewed every few years to ensure the right amount of insurance. At National Estate Jewelers, we are professionally trained experts (graduate gemologists), providing various types of appraisals.
Keep Jewelry Safe in a Safe Deposit Box
A safe deposit box (bank) offers security, protection from fire and flood, and prevents items from being lost or misplaced. (However, it may not be completely protected.) If you have an account, a safe deposit box may be available. There is usually dual control to gain entry. Two keys are needed; a master key held by the bank guard/teller and one held by the person authorized to gain access to the vault and the safe deposit box via the authorized signature card. Some banks may use a (keyless system) fingerprint for identification. Points to consider include:
A secure, private viewing is provided.
Take good care of the keys (2 may be provided).
Tell a trustworthy person that you have a safe deposit box and where it is located.
If a corporation is renting a safe deposit box, it should be under the name of the corporation (a person may die, but a corporation does not).
It is illegal to keep cash in a safe deposit box.
Do not keep items that necessitate immediate access because you will only have access during operating hours, such as wills, life insurance policies, etc.
Check out the bank for previous robberies - it has happened.
When a key-holder dies, it may be automatically sealed by the bank for appraisal by local tax authorities.
Insure the contents. Safe Deposit Insurance Coverage is available, along with a rider on your homeowner’s or renter’s policy. Banks are not liable!
How Should You Store Valuables?
To store your valuables (jewelry):
Use zip lock bags or waterproof containers, date and number them. Then, each dated/numbered bag should correspond to a written list of contents inside.
Have valuables appraised.
Have valuables properly insured. (Insurance discounts may be offered for having an alarm system)
At National Estate Jewelers we know how important it is to store and keep track of one’s valuables. Clients come to our East Brunswick store to appraise jewelry accurately - should they be lost, stolen or damaged. We accept appointments, walk-ins and local house calls are available.
National Estate Jewelers is conveniently located at 212 NJ-18 in East Brunswick, next to the FedEx office. Stop in or call 732-257-GOLD (4653). Keep your jewelry safe, let us help!