Heirloom Jewellery: All You Need to Know

You may have been passed down a piece of jewellery and have tucked it away safely in a jewellery box somewhere, or perhaps you have grown up being told that you will inherit your grandmother’s special ring. In this article, we explain to you what heirloom jewellery is, how the tradition came about and whether or not you should upcycle an old piece to create something more contemporary.

  • Heirloom Jewellery: All You Need to Know
  • Heirloom Jewellery: All You Need to Know

What is Heirloom Jewellery?

Heirloom jewellery is an item of jewellery that you inherit, usually from a family member that you then pass down to future generations. Heirloom jewellery itself can be deemed invaluable in a financial sense but hold great value that is symbolic of love, family and tradition.

What is considered heirloom jewellery?

Heirloom jewellery can be any type of jewellery, whether it be a ring, pair of earrings, a necklace or bracelet, that is inherited after being passed down through generations of a family.

Why do people pass down jewellery?

Passing down heirloom jewellery is a wonderful tradition often creating a special bond between the owner of the jewellery piece and the person it is being passed down to. When you receive an item of jewellery from a loved one,  you will tend to value that piece highly. That piece of jewellery will then remind you of that special person for years to come.

How much it means to you is what also makes you want to give your heirlooms to others- to create memories and moments full of emotion. You hope that future generations will cherish these possessions as much as you do.

This way, heirloom jewellery creates a direct connection to your family history.

What is an heirloom stone?

An heirloom stone is a gemstone that is considered valuable. When people are choosing a piece of fine jewellery they consider it an investment, not only for themselves but for future generations.

Often the new owner of a piece of heirloom jewellery will decide whether the particular style of that piece of jewellery fits in with their current lifestyle and will often have it remodelled into something that suits them. The stone within the piece of jewellery is usually the most valuable part with engagement rings being a piece that is passed down as heirloom jewellery quite regularly.
Heirloom stones are usually considered to be any stone that holds value to the wearer. That being said, diamonds are the most commonly used stones for heirloom jewellery.
  • Heirloom Jewellery: All You Need to Know
  • Heirloom Jewellery: All You Need to Know

How to start building Your Jewellery Collection

How do you create an heirloom?

Choose wisely if you want to create an heirloom piece of jewellery that you will then pass down to future generations. Diamond jewellery, platinum or gold rings, pearl earrings or necklaces, charms and charm bracelets make good options.

Start your daughter’s jewellery collection off with a piece from Molly Brown London’s beautiful Heirloom Collection, featuring pearls and diamonds that will be long-lasting and stylish for years to come.

If you prefer a coloured stone for your new heirloom piece lean towards sapphires and rubies for their hardness.

Appraising Your Heirloom Jewellery Pieces

How do I know if my vintage jewellery is valuable?

Taking your vintage jewellery to a professional jeweller to be looked at is a great way to determine its value. If the jewellery is made from real gold, it will have a stamp along with other hallmarking symbols that will tell you more about your piece, like what year it was made.

How to Find a Jewellery Appraiser

You may want to take your piece of jewellery to your local jeweller, gold or diamond exchange or pawn show where they will provide a free appraisal.  Here they will provide you with an estimate of how much your piece would be worth at retail value. Bear in mind that the price your jeweller will pay for the piece, should you decide to sell it, will be a lot lower than the retail price.

What to Expect From a Jewellery Appraisal

If you are looking to insure your piece of heirloom jewellery, you will need an appraisal to get the “replacement value” so that you can make sure you purchase enough insurance. A certified appraiser with extensive training in gemstones and metals will produce a 15-20 page report that details everything from the gem’s size, clarity, colour and cut along with information about the metals, market value, name brand and estimated retail value.

How much does it cost to have jewellery appraised?

If you take it to your local jeweller where you are a loyal customer, they may offer it to you for free. However, you can expect to pay £50-150 for most appraisals done by a certified appraiser.

Changing The Style Of Your Heirloom Jewellery

What if your heirloom jewellery isn’t to your taste?

If you have inherited a piece of jewellery, chances are that it has been in the family for quite a time and as a result, the style may be slightly outdated and not to your taste. You will often find that many jewellers can repurpose your old piece into a new design. Together with the jewellery designer you will look at your current piece and decide what are the details you don’t like about it and from that design something that you prefer.

It’s important that you handle your heirloom piece with care whilst in your possession, as even hard diamonds can present a challenge when trying to extract the stone and re-set it into a new personalised piece of jewellery.

Should you change the heirloom stone?

The general rule of thumb is that you should always avoid cutting old stones. You end up wasting a lot of the material trying to re-cut a stone which will lessen its value in the long run. The cut of your stone will also determine how it can be set into new jewellery.

You can design a piece with loose gemstones

Often people will inherit loose heirloom gemstones and you may decide that you would prefer them to be in one piece of jewellery or multiple pieces to then pass on to future generations. This can be done by pairing with an experienced jeweller to create a piece that you adore and will see yourself or someone else wearing for years to come.

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