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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?

Submitted by Lucy on

I just got my ears pierced, and am currently not allowed to take them out (to let my ears heal correctly). What should I do if a TSA agent stops me? ALso, my grandma is really excited to see my earring collection. Are earrings and mirrors allowed?

Submitted by Anon on

yes TSA is trying to protect people. But unfortunately there is such thing as invasion of privacy, and some people do steal things. I am personally scared to fly not because of planes but because I have piercings. There is such a point where if you have so many it's a pain to take them out and a pain to put them all back. Not to mention that if you were to put them back in after TSA any place would be unsterile. And because of fluid restrictions you can't even take saline solution. I know it is for obvious reasons because you can say it such and such thing and not have it be such and such thing. But piercings are so small that it would be hard to contain anything that would have to be the right amount to explode anything. You'd have to have a significant gauge site somewhere that's private to be able to contain anything hidden. Not to mention you have to get custom jewelry in order to put something in it. There gets to be a point with TSA where they should know the science of how much something needs to contain in order to do that and if they have a certain milliliter restriction for anything then that should also contain with the volume in which something is. and I highly doubt all my piercings combined could be that possible size. If my piercings are metal and setting off a metal detector that means they are indeed metal. If they are proven to be metal it should be proven that they are not that of a substance that can be explosive but not detected metal detector. my point is I do want to be safe but I also want my privacy and not to be scared that I will be singled out because of my piercings and suspected for trying to blow up a plane when all I'm trying to do is travel.

Submitted by Teresa on

TSA, Thank You for providing info to those of us that seek it. Also, thank you for doing your best to keep us as safe as possible in this crazy world. It amazes me how some get so offended when you’re doing your job to keep traveling safe. Maybe TSA should have a “chill pill” dispenser for those that need to relax. Any way, again, thank you for doing your job to try to keep us safe. 💕

Submitted by Marilyn Bennett on

This is not a joke, I've been told underwire bras will make beeper go off, is this true?