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TSA Travel Tips Tuesday - Wearing Expensive Jewelry through TSA Checkpoints

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Photo Courtesy of US Marshals

Some passengers come through TSA checkpoints wearing a simple piece of jewelry, and others are all blinged out like the A Team's Mr. T.

So what’s the scoop? Should you remove jewelry or keep it on to go through security? The answer, in most cases is that you can keep it on, but there are a few different choices that you can make based on what kind of jewelry it is.

Here’s my advice:

  • Unless it’s a really bulky piece of jewelry, keep your jewelry on. Chances are, it won’t alarm and if it does, you can let our officer inspect it with you there. It really doesn’t take long to inspect, unless you are blinged out like the aforementioned Mr. T.
  • If you choose to remove your jewelry, and it’s expensive or has sentimental value, take it off and put it in your carry-on bag. Bowls have been known to tip over on conveyor belts, seemingly sending small jewelry into another dimension where it is never seen again.
  • If you’re wearing inexpensive jewelry and you don’t mind placing it in a bin or bowl, go for it.

In the event that an officer informs you that your jewelry might be the culprit as to why you alarmed a walk through metal detector or the Advanced Image Technology, the officer will work with you to clear the alarm. It could involve a visual inspection or in some cases you might have to take it off.

Bonus tip #1: Metal body piercings may cause an alarm at the metal detector, resulting in additional screening. You may be asked to remove your body piercing in private as an alternative to the pat-down search.

Bonus Tip #2: Although not jewelry, I wanted to mention that your eye glasses can remain on. I’ve seen people take them off and stumble through the checkpoint. Your glasses should not cause an alarm, and in the unlikely event that they do, it’s better to keep them on than to take a spill.

See you next Tuesday with another travel tip!

Bob Burns
TSA Blog Team

If you have a travel related issue or question that needs an immediate answer, you can contact us by clicking here.


Submitted by Martine Michelle on

Yes medical nitro.

Submitted by Martine Michelle on

Yes. Medical nitro. Thank you.

Submitted by Anonymous on

What about contact lens solution?

Submitted by Anonymous on

How are they supposed to know it was ONLY hearing aids that set off alarms? Just as dumb as those who say don't search elderly or kids.

Submitted by Nmn on

ummm...they would know because the wand they search him with would beep at his ears and no where else. haha.

Submitted by Ray Dickerson on

What would happen if one were to wear jewelry that could not be removed easily or without cutting it off with a saw?

Submitted by Lauren on

This post as more personality and joy than I would have expected from a TA blog post. Mad props to Bob on the blog team.

Submitted by Jacque Lisbon on

You mean to tell me that my eyebrows have to come off, but that I can keep my mustache? What if my nose hairs are hanging out? Will that be cause for an alarm? I don't trim them because I may need one in a quick fix, you just never know!

Submitted by Ryan on

I wear a necklace that’s basically just a metal o-ring on a leather cord. Will there be any issue with this when I go through security at the airport later this month?