Last month, I had written about the need to let someone you trust implicitly know where you stash the jewelry you’re not wearing that day, because— well, because “you never know,” but there could be several aspects involved in carefully hiding your jewelry from prying eyes or unwelcome intruders that you should be aware of. Probably the most commonly misunderstood of these is convenience. If your secret spot is not easily accessible, it will become obsolete in short order. Sure, a loose floorboard with a few inches of space underneath (especially if there was a rug over it, and a chair on the rug) may be great for items you wear only once a year, but for anything else, you need to be able to reach the space in a matter of seconds, in order for the space to be truly useful on a regular basis. A small suitcase in the back of a closet, or even the old “hollowed-out book” trick might be viable suggestions, although you should bear in mind that almost nothing is completely foolproof, and given enough time, a seasoned thief could find just about anything. Fortunately, the vast majority of home burglaries take place in a matter of only a few minutes, and even a rank amateur knows that (with very few exceptions) the longer you spend in a home, the more likely you are to be caught.
Since I am not familiar with your home, it’s difficult for me to offer much in the way of suggestions for hiding places, but I can definitely point out a few to avoid. I know I’ve mentioned this in previous columns, but common mistakes demand review: Do NOT hide anything of high value “cleverly concealed” under articles of clothing in your top dresser drawer. Aside from a jewelry box on top of your dresser (Never, ever!), this is the first place a thief will look. Now, don’t get me wrong— jewelry boxes in plain sight can serve two incredibly good uses simultaneously. They are a great place to keep your inexpensive (or costume) jewelry, and they can function as a wonderful red herring in case of a break-in. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard of a thief snatching a jewelry box and departing without anything else. It would be “as rare as hen’s teeth” that a burglar will stop to carefully examine the contents to see what’s “real” and what is not.
Another possible no-no involves stashing anything containing colored stones or pearls in an unheated (or “temperature-challenged”) space, unless you were absolutely certain that extreme temperatures (or rapid changes in temperature) could not possibly affect your jewelry adversely. (Gold and diamonds are immune to damage due to dramatic temperature variations, but certain colored stones may be easily harmed from heat or cold; if you’re not sure, ask your jeweler.) Also not recommended is the use of your bathroom medicine cabinet, as thieves will often search there for drugs. As I had detailed in the “bookcase” story in my last column, choosing the wrong space, or neglecting to tell anyone about your chosen space can sometimes have unintended consequences— but more on that next month.
Joe Brandt is a local resident, and president of J.L. Brandt Company, offering diversified fine jewelry advisory services to the general public since 1928. Readers are invited to submit questions or comments to [email protected]. Names or contact information will not be used for publication, and all inquiries will be answered promptly.