How to Pack Antique & Collectible Jewelry for Shipping
The trend in shipping vintage costume jewelry is using padded envelopes. While it’s really not the preferred method of those avidly collecting jewelry, if you wrap the item carefully in enough tissue paper to keep it from shifting around and then place it in a sturdy box taped tightly shut, that will generally provide enough protection to get the piece from one point to another without damage. Don’t think you can forego the box though, or you’ll be extremely lucky if the jewelry arrives to its destination without getting crushed.
That said, the preferred method of those in the know is wrapping the item securely in tissue paper (or placing it in a Ziploc bag at the very least) and then placing it in a small corrugated box with more packing material such as Styrofoam peanuts, bubble wrap or tissue paper to keep it from jostling around in the box.
For particularly fragile or valuable pieces, whether costume jewelry or of the precious metal and gemstone variety, the box-within-a-box method may be warranted. That means packing a sturdy box as noted above, and then placing that box securely within a larger cardboard box filled with packing material. If you have any doubt about whether or not a piece of jewelry will arrive unscathed, no matter how much it’s worth, it’s best to err on the side of caution and package more securely.
In any case, when shipping fine jewelry, it’s wise to invest in some nice jewelry boxes to ship items in if you don’t have the original, but do still secure the piece in the box as described above.
Label the outer cardboard box or padded envelope with the address taking care to tape over the writing or label to make sure it doesn’t run and become illegible. If you’re not including an invoice or business card in the box, be sure to write a note with your “return to” address on it and insert it in the box in case the label gets damaged and the shipper inspects the contents to determine where the package originated.
In summary, follow these steps for securely packing vintage and antique jewelry for shipping:
1. Wrap the item securely. Carefully wrap the item in tissue paper and/or a Ziploc bag (use both together for extra security). But, avoid overzealous taping to create a “mummy” that will be difficult for the recipient to cut open without damaging what’s inside.
2. Prepare the inner box. Place wrapped and/or bagged (see above) item within a sturdy box. Place more tissue or packing peanuts around the wrapped object so that it does not jostle around in transit, and tape it shut.
Note: If the item is not particularly fragile or valuable, you may be able to skip this step and place the wrapped item directly into a cardboard box. Err on the side of caution if you’re not sure.
3. Prepare the outer box. While a padded envelope will sometimes suffice for this step, a corrugated box is the preferred method. Put the smaller box inside a larger cardboard box and surround it with more packing material to keep it from moving around during shipment.
4. Place identification in the package. Place either an invoice with a return address, business card, or “return to” note including your address within the box prior to sealing it in case the address on the outside of the box becomes illegible as the package makes its way through the shipping process.
5. Seal the box. Seal the outer box securely with durable packing tape. Make sure the bottom edges of the box are taped as well as the top.
6. Label the box. Label the box with the complete address taking care to tape over the writing or stick-on label. Don’t forget to include your return address on the outside of the box.