If you work in the jewelry world, you are potentially a security risk, even if you work in plastic. The minute you leave your studio space, whether it is in your home or a loft or a storefront, there is the possibility that someone is watching you. You don’t want people with questionable scruples helping themselves to your valuable work. Be smart and take precautions to protect yourself and your work.
Jewelers who work in precious metals and gemstones should be particularly vigilant. Almost everyone I know in this area has been robbed at some point, and it is a frustrating, scary, and potentially harmful situation. It has happened to me, and I consider myself to be a security-savvy gal. I have been robbed once and followed in my car twice (that I know about). Each time it happened, it left me feeling insecure, vulnerable, and scared.
Whenever you go into a store with a case of jewelry, even if it is full of paper jewelry, there is a chance you are being watched. “They” don’t know exactly what you are carrying, so you are a potential target. Until you secure your line and your studio, you are vulnerable.
Jewelers Mutual, the industry’s largest jewelry-specific insurance company, has valuable information they are willing share with anyone. Go to the Jewelers Mutual website to read more.
15 Simple Tips to Increase Your Security:
- Keep an inventory record of all your finished work, as well as your raw materials.
- Use a P. O. Box instead of having supplies and orders sent to a physical address. This way if you are out of town, it will be held for you.
When labeling packages to send to stores do not use the words silver, gold, jewelry, diamond, etc., on the label. Even if the store is called “The Gold Jewelry Store,” put something like “TGJS” along with the name of the owner.
- If you are working in precious materials, get a safe! Install a security system!
- Watch out for distractions if you are walking in a city. One ploy is for a woman to be walking towards you carrying a baby and right as she gets close to you she drops the baby. Of course you are going to stop and help her pick up her “baby.” In the meantime there is a good chance you have just lost your jewelry.
- When carrying jewelry to a show, to a store, to your house, wherever, carry it in a nondescript bag or package. I traveled throughout the U.S. for nine years with approximately $150,000 worth of jewelry, and I carried it all in a backpack. It wasn’t fancy, but it didn’t scream “jewelry” and the line was always on my body. I didn’t have to put a bag down to open a door or take a sip of water. And my hands were free to catch that falling “baby.”
- When you are at a craft or jewelry show, watch your pieces like a hawk. If you work in precious materials, always have it behind glass and put it in the show’s lockup at night.
- Never ever leave your jewelry in your hotel room during a show. Carry it with you to the restaurant for dinner or wherever you are going. Keep it on your body.
- Don’t open your hotel or home/studio door to anyone you don’t know. Ever.
- If you are at all suspicious of someone following you, no matter what the situation, don’t hesitate to call the police or go somewhere to ask for assistance.
- When you leave your studio or a show or a store carrying work, check your tires before you get in the car, watch as you pull out into traffic to see if someone is following you and avoid driving the same predictable route.
- Have a password or passphrase you use with family, friends and employees to warn them you are in a difficult situation and for them to call the police.
- Never leave your line in the car to do a quick errand or for any other reason.
- If you are doing a show, be aware of being distracted by someone wanting to see a piece of jewelry and someone else coming up also wanting attention at the same time. The best thing to do is to immediately acknowledge the second person and say you will be right with him or her after you help customer #1. If they don’t understand, there is nothing you can do about that. Let them walk.
- When going through airport security, even if the people behind you are getting pushy, take your time. Make sure your backpack goes into the conveyor belt before you go through the metal detector. And if you are feeling really cautious, ask for a private screening. They have to give it to you. If an agent wants to open your bag after it has been on the conveyor belt insist on a private room.
These are just a few tips to keep you and your jewelry secure. Please visit the Jewelers Mutual website for more suggestions. And stay safe!