I have spent the afternoon checking into the postal policies and UPS
policies in case a package of handmade jewelry is lost in shipment.
Here’s what they tell me.
UPS: UPS will only reimburse you for handmade jewelry up to the
value of the stones and metal, which must be documented by receipts
showing how much you paid for these materials. They will not pay for
any labor regardless of the amount of insurance you buy. The only
exception is if you have an appraisal by a professional appraiser. I
can’t find anyone here in Midland, TX who can appraise one of a kind
jewelry except by placing a value on the stones, the metal, and a
"reasonable" amount of labor–their minimum fee is $75.00.
USPS: The post office has very vague policies, which they have read
to me, concerning anything handmade. Basically, they will reimburse
the same as UPS, regardless of how much insurance you buy, and
nothing for your labor unless you have had it appraised.
Bottom line: We are wasting our money buying insurance for the
retail value we have placed on handmade jewelry over the cost of the
stones and metal. The best I can tell, the safest thing is to send
Registered mail because they can track a package every step of the
way and one is rarely lost, according to the people I have talked
to. Also, maybe divide the shipments into multiple boxes to decrease
the likelihood of losing a whole bunch at once.
Any experiences or thoughts to share?
P.S. There seems to be some greater chance of getting paid the retail
value that an artist has placed on the work if the receiver has
actually bought (i.e., if it is not being sent for consignment) the
J. S. Ellington