I still remember losing the stone out of an antique ring given to me by my grandmother: I turned the house upside down for several days until I finally found it in the cutlery drawer by accident! I was lucky, on that occasion, but it made me more careful and I certainly don’t wear the ring whilst doing everyday chores and I now get it checked regularly to make sure the stone is safe and secure.
Although many people worry about theft, according to our claims figures you are almost four times more likely to lose or damage a watch or item of jewellery than to have it stolen – and this risk increases during the summer months.
When you stop and think about it, it’s not surprising that summer can be tough on watches and jewellery. Swimming in the sea or the hotel pool, for example, can be bad news for rings in particular: water acts as a lubricant and if the ring is slightly too large it can be all too easy for it to slip unnoticed from your finger. Sandy beaches are another hazard for all types of jewellery: firstly there’s the risk that the sand will scratch or become embedded in items and then there’s the problem of trying to find an earring or ring that’s been dropped on the beach!
In addition to being a lubricant, sea water and pool water can also damage and discolour jewellery due to high levels of salt and chlorine and when you add the effects of sun lotion, insect repellent and even sweat into the equation it’s easy to see where some of the problems occur.
Last year, the number of jewellery-related claims from NFU Mutual customers increased during the summer months by 24% compared to claims during spring months. Everyone knows that the best way to protect your jewellery is to leave it locked away but, for most people, the real joy of a piece of jewellery is being able to wear it, even if they end up losing it! There are some things, however, that you should avoid doing whilst wearing jewellery which is financially or sentimentally important to you:
- Remove your jewellery and put it somewhere safe if you plan to move or lift items of furniture, work in the garden or play sport/exercise – all these things could lead to items being lost or damaged;
- Water acts as a lubricant so it’s wise to remove rings before going swimming or going into the sea;
- Sand is abrasive (no surprise there) and can damage softer gemstones and wear-off finishes like gold or rhodium plating. Best to remove vulnerable pieces before hitting the beach;
- Chlorine, salt and sand can damage the inner components of watches so take extra care if wearing your watch on holiday and, if you have a water resistant watch, double-check the crown is pushed all the way in before diving in;
- Avoid exposing your watch to temperatures below 0 degrees and above 60 degrees Celsius (think saunas or direct and prolonged sunlight). The temperature shock can damage your timepiece.
In addition, regardless of the season, it’s important to make sure you have your jewellery cleaned on a regular basis, inspected for problems and repaired as required. Here are our top tips:
- Photograph your jewellery, and keep authenticity documentation separately, such as original purchase receipt, valuation, certificate of authenticity or an original box or guarantees;
- Check your insurance policy to find out the maximum limit you can claim for an individual piece of jewellery – if you have an item or items which exceed this limit you will need to review your insurance cover to ensure they are adequately covered;
- Consider investing in a safe or consider keeping particularly valuable pieces of jewellery which are only worn occasionally in a safety deposit box at your bank;
- Revisit valuations every two -three years. Many people do not reassess the value of their contents for decades, forgetting that things like gold and art can appreciate steeply over this time;
- Consider how you will protect your valuables if you take them on holiday with you. Check your insurance policy to see what cover you have for items away from the home.