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Storage in safety deposit boxes


#1

A customer asked today if long term storage in a safety deposit box
can dry out her jewelry. I would think the climate control would be
just fine, but I don’t know for certain. Has anyone ever heard of a
problem?

Julia


#2

We had an old timer in our club who had the best looking piece of
Australian Opal I have ever seen. It must have been two inches by
two inches in size. he stored it in his safe deposit box. a couple of
years later he opened the box and found the opal had exploded in to a
million pieces. It was determined that the drying effect on the aid
conditioner drew all the moisture out of the opal. While this was a
few years ago and some improvement in banks have improved I would not
want to take a chance,


#3

Julia,

Are safety deposit box’s designed for the protection of paper
documents for the most part? I would find out what the humidity is,
opals may craze after a while if its kept to low.

My two cents, Jerry


#4

I have seen clients have problems opals crazing when stored in
safety deposit boxes Something to do with being too dry and
a probadly the waves from the alarm systems.

W. Taft Atkins, Jr.
Taft Design Studio


#5

Hi Julia,

   A customer asked today if long term storage in a safety deposit
box can dry out her jewelry.  I would think the climate control
would be just fine, but I don't know for certain. 

It probably depends on the type of jewelry, the quality of the
climate control in the vault & the length of time left in the safety
deposit box.

If you stop to think about it a little, safety deposit box storage
shouldn’t hurt jewelry made from metals, & most stones. Items that
have some glue in their makeup may suffer some deterioration, but
that’s normal & would occur at home as well. Where ever the items
are stored, each item should be package separately so that they
aren’t damaged by rubbing against each other.

Another way to look at it is this; the jewelry must be stored
somewhere, is the safety deposit box any worse than the jewelry box
or dresser drawer at home? Probably not & I’d venture it’s a whole
lot safer, but maybe a little more inconvenient.

Dave


#6

I can’t remember ever reading a book about opal that did not mention
horror stories of people who left their opal jewelry in safe deposit
boxes, only to find them on the next visit, cracked and/or broken. I
don’t have personal experience with it, but I’m sure it happens.

Yes, the bank is climate-controlled, in a way. But air conditioning
most certainly does de-humidify the air. The answer to your question
is yes, long-term storage in a safe deposit box can dry out her
jewelry. Any long-term storage in air conditioning will do so.

James in SoFl


#7

I don’t know about other stones, but I doubt it’s a good idea to put
opals in a safe deposit box. I was given a large opal by a friend who
had kept it “in the bank” since his mother died. It went in looking
great and came out seriously crazed. I became pretty crazed myself
when I saw it!

Lisa Orlando
Aphrodite’s Ornaments
Elk, CA
but…next year in Tucson!


#8
    Yes, the bank is climate-controlled, in a way. But air
conditioning most certainly does de-humidify the air. The answer to
your question is yes, long-term storage in a safe deposit box can
dry out her jewelry. Any long-term storage in air conditioning will
do so. 

What does one do to prevent this? That means storage anywhere will
cause this to happen.


#9
A customer asked today if long term storage in a safety deposit
box can dry out her jewelry. I would think the climate control
would be just fine, but I don't know for certain. 

I have seen emeralds which have been stored for long periods in a
climate controlled safety deposit box in stone papers. All of the
oil from the emerald “oiling” had leached out and had been absorbed
by the stone papers and the emeralds looked horrible.

I imagine it might be an issue with pearls and opals also.

Best regards,
Robert Lowe
Lowe Associates =96 Brasil
Gemstones, Rough, Specimens
Tucson 2 - 7, 2005 GJX booth # 205
e-mail: robertplowejr_at_juno.com


#10
    Yes, the bank is climate-controlled, in a way. But air
conditioning most certainly does de-humidify the air. The answer to
your question is yes, long-term storage in a safe deposit box can
dry out her jewelry. Any long-term storage in air conditioning will
do so.
What does one do to prevent this?  That means storage anywhere will
cause this to happen.

Perhaps I should clarify my original statement with some cloudy
issues concerning opal and opal storage. Many opal cutters believe
that once stable opal has been polished, it is unlikely to crack or
craze no matter what the environment (note the word “stable”).
Others believe that opal can dehydrate and perform this antic at any
time, no matter how well polished. Most agree that dehydrated rough
and polished opal can “rehydrate” by absorbing water and recommend
that any opal, whether rough or finished should be kept hermetically
sealed in water for long term storage.

It’s very difficult to prove or disprove any of the above, but one
thing is certain, at least to me. Thermal shock can completely ruin
an opal, as well as many other gemstones (emerald comes to mind).
Storing any opal material in water most definitely reduces the
effect of thermal shock. I store all of my finished pieces and most
of my rough that way.

Also, the original post asked only if their friend’s jewelry will
dry out, never mentioning opal in particular. I cited opal because
of the myriad “horror stories” that so many have about the “Queen of
Gemstones” and safe deposit boxes. I’ll restate my original intent:
“Yes, long-term storage in a safe deposit box can dry out her
jewelry.”

James in SoFl


#11

Hmm. No one has mentioned why people stash their jewelry in
safety deposit boxes. In my experience, it’s to avoid paying the
insurance on them.

Jewelry should be worn. Pay the darn insurance and wear the stuff.
Don’t neglect it and let it be destroyed by drying out in a bank.

Elaine
Elaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay


#12

It can dry out in our homes from air conditioning. Opals are not
meant to be worn every day. What is the answer to this problem?


#13
No one has mentioned _why_ people stash their jewelry  in safety
deposit boxes.  In my experience, it's to  avoid paying the
insurance on them.  

Depends on their previous experience, where they live,and the
venue in which they intend to wear the jewelry… Residents of
metropolitan areas where burglaries are common,prefer to store their
valued treasures where thieves can’t get to them…especially if
the people are frequently away from home. Wearing valuable jewelry
when in an area where street crime is high is not only foolhardy,
it’s suicidal. However,if you have jewelry, it’s silly to lock it
up forever.

It’s made to be worn. One only needs to determine when and where.

Dee


#14
    It can dry out in our homes from air conditioning.  Opals are
not meant to be worn every day. What is the answer to this problem? 

Who says opals are not to be worn every day? I wear a very large,
natural black Andamooka piece under my shirt daily, without fail.
No, it isn’t smoke, sugar or oil treated, either. Still, that
doesn’t address your real question, what is the answer?

Every book I’ve ever read on the subject recommends wearing your
opal. Some say that if you don’t wear it daily, leave it in water
overnight for every three months it is in storage. In reality, there
IS no answer to this problem, if it even IS a problem. Some opal
will never craze. Some crazes or cracks within weeks, or even days
after having been mined. As in my previous post, if you’re really
worried about it, put it in water for long-term storage. At least
you’ll have protection from thermal shock.

Other than that, opal that hasn’t crazed within a few years of being
polished will probably never crack or craze. The thing is, even opal
from the same mine can have varying amounts of water or other
elements, and can have much different characteristics. Smaller
cabochons cut from the same original rough can behave differently in
this regard from each other, depending on a number of factors. It
could easily depend on how often it was worn, how much thermal shock
it was subjected to, etc., etc. This is true of practically any gem
material.

The Andamooka piece I referred to above is a prime example. The
original chunk weighed 43 pounds!!! Some of it is a deep black, some
chocolate brown. Some areas have white veins that look like calcite,
while some areas of very dark black are shot through with pure white
precious opal, much more typical of Andamooka. Some areas are soft
as butter, while some resist the wheel. I have a photo of the last
pound or so, if anyone is interested in seeing it…email me
off-list (no, it isn’t for sale). All opal is different. It may
craze, it may not. So, don’t worry about it too much. Water storage
may help. Or not. That’s part of the allure of opal. If you want a
boring, predictable gem, consider a diamond, instead.

James in SoFl


#15
    No one has mentioned _why_ people stash their jewelry  in
safety deposit boxes.  In my experience, it's to  avoid paying the
insurance on them. 

Hi All,

It’s a bit off topic, but I used to store my gold/silver bars,
casting grain and newly finished pieces, in a safety deposit box in a
bank very close to my house. My insurance company offers no type of
insurance for anything that hasn’t been appraised. Anyone have
similar experiences with insurance companies and metals?

Brian Barrett


#16

Why not? I wore an opal every day for more than 12 years, and would
be still wearing it if I hadn’t pulled a prong loose and lost the
stone. I washed dishes, cleaned, showered, swam, gardened,
hiked/camped, did every craft imaginable and almost never took it
off.

My Gram always told me opals and pearls were meant to be worn - LOL,
she claimed they got ‘depressed’ if you didn’t wear them often. Hugs,

Dawn B.