You may remember the brooch that your grandmother used to wear or the gold ring on your uncle’s hand. Some of these pieces of jewelry may have been passed down to your family through the generations. These precious heirlooms carry sentimental value and often come with memories and stories. Unfortunately, they may not be compatible with modern styles. If you have recently received heirloom jewelry and are unsure what to do with it, here are some ideas.
Is Heirloom Jewelry Valuable?
Heirloom jewelry has sentimental value for the people that have worn it over the years. If you have a close connection with the person who passed the jewelry down to you, then the piece will have great sentimental value. However, if the jewelry came from a distant relative that you never even heard of, then it will hold just as little sentimental value as a store-bought item.
In terms of monetary value, the value of the heirloom piece will depend on its material and craftsmanship. For example, a diamond and ruby necklace will be worth much more than a simple gold chain due to the rare and valuable materials used in the design. On the other hand, a silver pendant may sell for as little as $10 to $15 at a flea market depending on the condition of the item.
When deciding what your heirloom jewelry is worth, you should consider both its monetary and sentimental value to make a wise decision. It is generally a good idea to get an appraisal from an expert jeweler to get an idea of what the piece is worth, especially if you think you may want to sell it later. The jeweler may also alert you to certain points such as craftsmanship that could add a significant amount of value.
What You Can Do with Heirloom Jewelry
Regardless of its value, there are several options for what to do with your newly-acquired heirloom jewelry.
Update the piece – You may decide to update the jewelry to make it more relevant to your style or more fitting to the current trends. With the help of a capable jeweler, you can redesign your heirloom piece or have its stones repurposed into other settings. Before you have a ring reset, it is best to consult with a trusted jeweler to ensure that the stones are preserved perfectly during the process.
Wear it as is – Some heirloom jewelry is meant to be worn. Items such as brooches and pins can easily complement other clothing and accessories. You can wear these pieces only on special occasions or every day if they suit your style. The jewelry may need to be cleaned before you can wear it, so make sure that you take it to a professional jeweler to have it safely restored.
Wear it creatively – If the heirloom is not your style but you do not want to change it, another option is to wear the heirloom in a different fashion. For example, you can wrap a necklace around your wrist to create a bracelet or wear a brooch on a necklace as a pendant. These are some of many ways to incorporate the heirloom into your current wardrobe without having to make any permanent changes to it.
Store it – Many people prefer to store heirlooms in a safe location until they are ready to be passed on to the next generation. Some pieces of jewelry can be very old and fragile. They should be stored in individual felt sachels or soft jewelry boxes to ensure that they are not scratched or damaged during transport or storage. These can be kept in a safe in your home or a safety deposit box at the bank.
Pass it on – Sometimes, the most meaningful thing to do with a piece of heirloom jewelry is to pass it on! Of course, you must make sure that the rest of your family (and the giver) is happy with your decision. For instance, your daughter may expect to receive her grandmother’s engagement ring and feel upset and overlooked if you decide to pass it on to your daughter-in-law instead.
Sell it – Finally, if none of the above options appeal to you, you have one last option—sell the heirloom. Rather than having the item languishing in the recesses of a drawer, you can sell it to someone who will appreciate it. This is what often happens when you do not have a close relationship with the giver. The money that you get from the sale can then be used to purchase a new jewelry item of your choice.
The intrinsic value of a piece of jewelry often extends far beyond its materials. Heirlooms do not have to be hundreds of years old or set with expensive stones to be valuable. They are symbols of a loving relationship and a reminder of special moments spent together. If you wish to update or repurpose a piece of heirloom jewelry, be sure to have it properly appraised and handled by a trusted and reputable jeweler.
Not everyone is lucky enough to receive heirloom jewelry. Take time to appreciate the value of what you have been given. With proper care, your heirlooms will serve as a reminder of precious family memories for generations to come.