Keeping thieves away from family heirlooms

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By Frank Fourchalk

You must have a back-up plan to protect your irreplaceable possessions, should a burglar manage to penetrate your existing security. All too often an evening ends with the discovery of missing heirloom jewelry.

Stolen replaceable items are one thing, but when we talk about family heirlooms it casts a totally different shadow on the situation. More often than not, we don’t think about this possibility until it’stoo late.
The first words out of a distraught victims mouth are usually, ” Why didn’t we secure our precious heirlooms?” Unfortunately shutting the barn door after the horse is gone is not an uncommon occurrence.

The first step in protecting your jewelry involves calling your insurance company and inquiring about the amount of coverage your policy provides. If it is not enough, you may have to buy a floater or endorsement to assure your coverage is

Make sure that you have updated appraisals on all your heirloom jewelry. Any current fine jewelry you purchase should be accompanied by a written appraisal. If you are not successful at receiving an appraisal, you should at least have your jeweler write an in-depth description of the purchased jewelry.

This description should include all information provided to you before the purchase of the piece, and should include the return guarantee. This will protect your investment in the off chance that your independent appraisal
indicates conflicting information.

Storing your valuables in a safe location is imperative. Expensive heirloom jewelry that is not worn often should be stored in a safe deposit box at your bank. Your insurance company may even give you a better rate for vault storage. Keep in mind if you decide to wear it out for the evening, you may have to purchase a small policy to cover it while out of the secured bank vault.
Keeping expensive jewelry in your home is a gamble at the best of times. Unless you have a high security safe that can withstand severe attacks using powerful tools such as sledgehammers, power saws, carbide disc cutters and drills, you had better not take the chance of leaving your precious jewelry at home.
Make sure to take individual pictures of each and every piece of jewelry. This will give you some form of visual documentation to keep with your appraisal and insurance papers in the safe deposit box.

Ask your jeweler about a relatively new process that involves laser coding your diamonds. This process is not supposed to harm the quality of the diamond. It involves cutting a tiny identification code into the girdle of the stone with a laser beam. You then receive documentation that proves your ownership and makes tracing your diamond easier in the event of loss or theft.

There is no substitute for occupancy, so whether away on vacation or away for the evening, make sure to take the time and assure you have protected those precious family heirlooms before a thief decides to leave a lasting impression.