Generally, wearing jewelry through airport security will be no problem, though this will depend on the weight and size of the jewelry.
So, thankfully, under most circumstances travelers do not need to remove their jewelry when going through airport security.
However, jewelry that is bulky and contains a lot of metal is more likely to set off the airport metal detector, so you might want to take these off next time you intend to fly and have to go through airport security.
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What to Do About Bulky Jewelry With a Lot of Metal
Bulky jewelry with a lot of metal that is likely to set off an airport metal detector should be removed and placed in your carry-on bag instead of a checkpoint bin.
This is because it will help to avoid slowing down the queue, you are less likely to forget the item in the bin, and it avoids the possibility that the item will be stolen, which unfortunately can even happen at the airport.
Type of Jewelry (Rings, Bracelets, Necklaces, Earrings, Watches)
Regardless if you are wearing a ring, bracelet, necklace, earrings, or watch, under most circumstances these will not need to be removed. You can wear these items through airport security and smoothly pass through.
The exception, as mentioned, is if the piece of jewelry is particularly bulky and contains a lot of metal. Use your common sense to determine if any of your pieces are likely to set off the metal detector. If yes, place them in your carry-on luggage.
You might also want to keep in mind that metal detectors can sometimes set to be over-sensitive, which can set them off even if you have passed through metal detectors wearing the same jewelry in other airports just fine.
Type of Jewelry Metal (Gold vs. Silver vs. Other Metals)
It may surprise you to learn that the type of jewelry can actually make a difference to whether the security scanner will beep or not. This is because airport metal detectors are based on pulse induction (PI), which detects the magnetic fields from target objects.
As gold and silver are less magnetic than many other metals, they are less likely to disturb the magnetic field and set off the metal detector’s alarm.
What Happens If Your Jewelry Sets Off the Metal Detector
If the jewelry you’re wearing as you go through airport security sets off the metal detector, it really isn’t a big deal.
Most of the time, a TSA agent will be able to immediately identify what is triggering the metal detector.
If not, prepare to be stepped aside for further screening whereby a TSA officer will give you a pat-down, which includes the use of a handheld metal-detecting wand over the surface of your body to detect any metals.
Ella Dunham, a Freelance Travel Journalist and Marketing Manager, boasts an impressive career spanning eight years in the travel and tourism sectors.
Honored as one of "30 Under 30" by TTG Media (the world’s very first weekly travel trade newspaper), a "Tour Operator Travel Guru" and "Legend Award" winner, Ella is also a Fellow of the Institute of Travel, a Member of the Association of Women Travel Executives, has completed over 250 travel modules, and hosts travel-focused segments on national radio shows where she provides insights on travel regulations and destinations.
Ella has visited over 40 countries (with 10 more planned this year).