On Wednesday evening, the 72-year-old said she was watching soaps in the front room of her bungalow in Palatine Road, Worthing, and her husband was watching sport in another room when the burglar broke in.
At around 8.30pm, their two dogs went 'absolutely berserk', barking and agitated, she said. She went to let them out, and as she passed her bedroom she discovered someone had been in there.
She said: "I couldn't believe it. The window was wide open and things were out where they shouldn't be, and the blinds had been pulled up.
"I just thought: 'oh my God - thank God there is nobody there'.
"If I had come face-to-face with them, what on earth do you do? They could have had a knife, or could have smacked me or my husband one."
The burglars had got in by pushing wide their top window - which was ajar to let some fresh air in - opening the bottom window from the inside and climbing in, she believed.
She said four gold bracelets and some silver jewellery had been taken. She said: "It was not hugely valuable - but it had a lot of sentimental value to me.
"What chance do I have of getting it back now? They will probably pawn it in London or Brighton."
She would lock her main windows in future from now on, she said, and warned others to do the same.
"I come from an era where we did not worry about locking doors and closing the gate," she said.
She praised the police officer who came to her house in the aftermath. She said: "He was absolutely charming and professional. You could tell that he cared, which to me made a lot of difference when you are feeling a bit scared or jumpy."
The forensics teams also inspected the scene. She said: "I can't do anything but praise the police."
Sussex Police said: "Officers have engaged with the victims and provided crime prevention advice.
"There are no further lines of enquiry at this stage, however anyone with any information is asked to call 101 or report it online, quoting serial 1220 of 13/02."