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Flying with jewelry

hello everyone, from snowy sant fe greetings.

i will be flying to a show in baltimore again soon (acc), first time
after 9/11 and am concerned about what to do with my work. up to last
year i had always took everything with me on the plane as carry on
luggage, now i am seriously puzzled. should i check it in? i am
looking for suggestions/advice from anyone who finds hirself in a
similar situation.

i will call the airline, but i need some input from someone somewhat
‘in the field’, especially as my work is not exactly tiny&small and
‘friendly’ looking…

thank you!


santa fe, new mexico
voice/fax 505.438.7757

i will call the airline, but i need some input 

Hi Emanuela, I’ve flown several times since 9/11, including
internationally. I would call the airline, but my concern is that you
may receive one answer from them - the official policy - and my find
otherwise when you arrive at the airport. I’m finding a lot of
inconsistencies in security, and it seems that each security team is
making ad-hoc decisions based on its own judgment. They’re still in
the knee-jerk-reaction mode, and there doesn’t seem to be an
overriding authority establishing a consistent policy.

I know that doesn’t help much, but be prepared to flexible and
creative… you may need it.

Good luck,

Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)

Hi Emanuela, I just got back from a sales trip to Florida. Several
flights, several check points and they never asked me to open my
suitcase of jewelry. I do not think that aspect of flying has changed
much. They will make you jump through other hoops but the jewelry
should be OK. Do leave plenty of time, some of the terminals are
efficient and others are a horror show. Stay away from the Delta
terminal at Kennedy airport. See you in Baltimore.

I am going to be flying to the ACC too, but I flew in for the
Philadelphia Museum of Art Show in Nov right after 911. I couldn’t
believe how easy it was. I was told to pack all the pins, which I
did, but I had huge displays and suitcases. Nothing was opened or
checked. In fact the 3 suitcases were checked at the curb!!! I had
all my jewelry in a carry on, they xrayed it and looked at me
quizically , I told them what was going on, and I was at the gate -
curb to gate in less than 30 minutes. I think things have tightened
up more since then.

On my return, my carry on was check more thoroughly, but I was
allowed to get on the plane. with it. My husband says I don’t look
like a terrorist. I was very concerned about having to check all my
work into the belly of the plane, but there were no problems. I went
3 hours early, because I was nervous, and read a book until loading.

Hope this helps.
Joan in Phoenix

Hi Emanuela, I too am flying to ACC Baltimore with my jewelry and I
intend to carry it on as usual, although I know I could run into
trouble. My cousin Sue Rosengard, also a jeweler, recently emailed
me the following account of her recent experience flying home from
the NY Gift Show:

I just got back from NY Gift. I traveled to NY before the increased
security measures but came back after and thought I’d pass on my
experience. I usually carry all my samples on board and have been
checked in the past, as expected. After checking my suitcase at the
counter (United - La Guardia) I went through security. The security
agent called over the United agent stationed at the checkpoint to
examine all the metal jewelry. Our conversation: UA - That many pins
is too dangerous. ME - What would you do if I was wearing 2 pins? UA -
That would be OK ME - Well I only have 2 hands. UA - You could pass
them out to other people. ME - Wouldn’t it make sense to just have
them wear them? He smiled as if it made perfect sense but said no. I
wanted to say you’d be lucky to have enough people on board to take a
pin, but of course I kept my mouth shut. (There were 112 pins by the
way.) He called up to the counter to arrange for me to get my
suitcase back. I put the pins in and hoped for the best. Everything
turned out fine. I was not so worried about actually losing the pins
as I have insurance but if I was going TO a show it could mean a lot
of lost sales. My insurance does cover loss of income for fire etc.,
and I am waiting to hear if it would cover UPS or airline loss or

I’m going to cross my fingers and hope I don’t run into jerks like
Sue did. The alternatives are to ship it to yourself (via UPS or
FedEx), which is risky, or ship it via armored truck, which is
expensive. If you do decide to ship it, I recently heard from
Barbara Berk about a company based in LA and NY called One Service
which provides insurance for UPS and FedEx shipments. Of course, if
you are shipping to the show and lose your jewelry, then you’re
left high and dry.

This is a real problem for all of us who fly to shows and I’m not
sure there’s a great alternative right now. Good luck and I hope to
see you in Baltimore.


Hi Emanuela, I just got back from a sales trip to Florida. Several
flights, several check points and they never asked me to open my
suitcase of jewelry. I do not think that aspect of flying has
changed much. 

I would disagree with the statement “flying has changed much”. I
have done a considerable amount of flying in the past and there is a
huge difference in check-in and screening. There is a lot more
intrusion into personal items than ever before. I had a gate
attendant paw through my wallet and count my money in Detroit a few
days ago. I was hand searched three times, both baggage and
personally, before I got on the plane, and then again when
transferring flights in Los Angles when I never left a "secure"

All of this is supposed to make us feel safer but all I could see
accomplished was a greater intrusion into my personal property. The
same underpaid and incompetent screeners were at the gates, allowing
people to pick up the wrong carry on’s or ignoring cases that were
set down and left unattended, talking to their friends and ignoring
the screen on the monitor,

All of this “additional security” led to a large increase in
"additional confusion". I was very happy that I didn’t have several
trays of gemstones that I might otherwise have had with me.


I have been advised recently, by a pal who manages a large
commercial line, that their reps are taking locked cases, insuring
them heavily, and checking their samples as baggage. I have removed
all pin stems from my pins, and will be packing the stems in my
checked bag. I can them assemble the stems if needed at the show.
Because of this, I will probably ship all of my work to the stores,
instead of giving it to the buyers at the shows. I have altered my
packing so that all work is in rolled up carefully, in shammy and
velour type material to make it lighter, and so that I can pack more
items. I have chucked the trays that I used to rely on. I’ll pack the
rolled up work into a rolling lockable carry on which I will insure
just in case I have to check it. I leave for Philly and then
Baltimore in 10 days. Wish me luck. Ai yi yi!

Lisa, ( at last a night where I don’t need a fire in the wood stove.
Its above 28 degrees…hey…its Malibu) Topanga, CA USA

Hi - I have heard of a few instances from individuals of safety pins
being confiscated at the security check in point. I would assume
that any jewelry with pin stems would be confiscated. I would
definitely research what is not allowed and not assume that one
security point would be the same as the next. Good luck - but I would
put any pin stems in my check-in bag.