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The Difference Between Priority Mail Express and Express Mail

postal envelopes
postal envelopes

With endless options for shipping jewelry and numerous opinions on which is best, shipping can be confusing.


Adding to the perplexity is the fact that that the United States Postal Service (USPS) often makes changes to its services, yet tends to stick to similar-sounding names for them, making them difficult to differentiate from one another. For example, USPS Priority Mail Express was known as Express Mail until 2013. Whoa.


More recently there’s been some confusion surrounding the difference between Priority Mail Express and Express Mail‚ particularly about confirmation of signature. So let’s unravel this one: The main difference between the two is this that Priority Mail Express includes USPS’s Signature Confirmation—which is now an add-on service. But you need to request it. Conversely, signature confirmation isn’t included with other USPS shipping options and an additional fee applies when it is requested.


And because you’re shipping jewelry and not items of inconsequential value, you need to consider this service a must-have, regardless of which service type you choose (note: if you’re using JM™ Shipping Solution to ship and insure your packages, the system will automatically request Signature Confirmation with your purchase when using Priority Mail Express).


Whether you print your labels from an online source or go directly to a post office, here are a few more reasons for considering Signature Confirmation:

  • Your insurance policy may require it
  • It may help prevent delivery to the wrong address (the recipient must show ID)
  • Proof of a confirmed signature can help speed up the claims process if an item goes missing


Other Best Practices for Shipping Jewelry

Signature confirmation is just one way to keep your package safe. Knowing how to ship jewelry mistake-free means also following these guidelines:

  • Plan your shipments ahead of time
  • Disguise the shipping label
  • Use two packages: a small box or padded envelop as the inner package and a slightly larger one as the outer package with labels on both
  • Hand your package directly to your carrier and watch them scan it


One final security tip specific to Priority Mail Express: take caution when sending to specific postal codes. In November 2019, Jewelers Mutual Group identified an abnormally high loss rate in New York’s Diamond District (postal codes 10017 and 10036). As a result, jewelers were advised to use different services for these areas.


All carriers can experience situations like this, so remember that the opinions you read online from jewelers in every corner of the country may not be what’s best for you. Do your own research and develop a system that offers simplicity and convenience, discounts and savings, and peace of mind. —Logan Moore


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