Pearl Storage

Sea Urchin

Well-known member
Feb 7, 2012
Long time no see, my pearly friends. Hope everyone is doing all right through this crazy pandemic.

I have a situation here and not sure what to do. Husband and I will be leaving the US indefinitely, as soon as the Panama airports open up. We plan to travel around there. It's not the best time to go but we've already sold all our stuff so whatevs.

Anyway, one of the very few things I kept was my pearl collection, naturally, but now I don't know what to do with it. It does not seem wise to travel around a poor country wearing or even carrying a lot of "real" jewelry. So then I thought I'd just look for a solid bank there and leave it in a safety deposit box in Panama, where I could "water" the pearls now and then.

However, it seems Panama banks don't even have safety deposit boxes. So... I guess I'll have to leave my pearl collection in a US safety deposit box, where I won't see it again for at least six or eight months.

I keep searching the internet and all I can find about leaving pearls in a safety deposit box is: (1) Don't. (2) If you must, not for too long and leave a wet cloth or dish of water in with the pearls.

But I am not sure I have a better option, except selling my pretties, which I really don't want to do (I already sold a lot of them awhile back). Also, I'd think whatever water I could put into the box would not last for six or eight months or more.

What I would REALLY like to know is if anyone actually knows of pearls being left in a safety deposit box (or home safe), and for how long, and if the pearls were okay or ruined by it. I am hearing the same standard advice everywhere but not hearing of anyone who has actually experienced it. Thoughts?
Well I don't have any experience with safety deposit boxes at all. Personally I would at least bring my favorites with me, and carry them on me at all time. I made some nifty little pearl rolls last year that stores many more pearls than I initially thought possible. I insert some photos of them for you. Very easy to make. I made mine by hand, but you could probably make them with a machine as well. The big one that holds 7 strands, but I have doubled that on occasion.
And a small one, for 3 strands.
I made a pouch as well. And cards for studs. I have a bigger one as well but forgot to photograph that one.
PS: I don't sell these rolls (I have had a lot of questions about selling these before), nor my pearly creations (same questions). I just like to create stuff and share them with everybody.
I think pearls will be just fine in a safety deposit box for 6 to 8 months. I'd be more worried if you planned on leaving them in the box for years.

I would not put anything damp in the safety deposit box. You don't want to grow mold. But I would wrap the pearls up well in cloth.
Safety deposit boxes are very dry & not a great environment for pearls. They will probably be fine for a few months but not for long periods of time. Do you have a trusted friend or relative who would be reliable to take care of them for you?
Sea Urchin, you’re right about not taking anything of great jewelry value to PA, specially with the COVID-19 situation as the country’s economy will must likely deteriorate and there will be more criminal activity. However, if your pearls don’t have a lot of sparkles like diamonds and such, you will more than likely be okay to wear pearl strands, bracelets, studs, and even drop earrings with plain gold or silver. Hope this helps!
Bon voyage and be safe!!
I tend to agree with Pattye. For that amount of time they should be okay in a bank safety deposit box.
Thank you Pattye. I usually carry pearls with me when I travel, tucked in the back pocket in my cross body purse of sturdy leather. For such a not really big bag it holds a lot of stuff.
So, I guess I will go through it again and see if there's anything else I can stand to part with. Bring along a few pieces that don't show diamonds or much gold and leave the rest in a US safety deposit box. Then just hope I get back to it and that the pearls survive their ordeal.

Thanks so much, everyone so far. Now I will catch up on what's been going on around here. :cool:
I think your pearls will be fine. How exciting about your trip. Enjoy & give us an update when you get back!!
I keep a lot of pearls in my home safe. I don’t think 6-8 months is that long of a time to leave them. Usually I leave my safe door open when I’m home. I also have the smallest size cube-shaped Glad plastic container in the safe drawer. It’s 3/4 full of water with holes punched in the lid, and lasts a long time.

I rarely travel with jewelry other than my Tahitian pendant “Traveling Pearl.” Only if I’m familiar with the location, and even then, maybe one or two pieces. Take a locking suitcase when you need to leave anything in your room, but personally, I wouldn’t travel with anything of value.
Sea Urchin, I agree with Pattye and Jeg.

The safety deposit box should be fine. I left a couple of my strands (and other jewelry) in my safety deposit box here in the US, when I moved to Europe for several years. They were fine, I checked on them every trip back, and finally removed them when moved back to the US. When I travel, I take a couple of pendants, a tin cup and a strand and make due with those few items to mix and match.

Not knowing where you will travel in Panama, or what to expect in some areas might be a bit of a gamble. I have friends, who are sailing around the world, and last fall they went through the Panama canal. They stayed in 3 different areas of Panama before sailing onward west bound across the Pacific. Their experience was Panama City was lovely and very modern, however there were a couple of other cities they stayed were they felt they needed to be careful. With that in mind, you may want to play it safe. Hope this info helps.
I would call Jeremy and ask his opinion. I keep mine in a home safe. Always have although I'm in and out of it everyday changing my pearls.