The Ultimate Guide to Heirloom Jewelry

Here at G Marie Luxuries, we know that a piece of jewelry is more than just an accessory. There is so often a story behind a treasured piece, and that's never more true than with heirloom jewelry. Inheriting a piece of jewelry from someone, or passing on a piece of your own, creates connections between generations and loved ones.

Heirloom jewelry can be a wonderful thing to receive or give, but it's useful to understand a few things about it. Let's take a look at what heirloom jewelry really is and what you can do with it.

The Magical World of Heirloom Jewelry

Older pieces of jewelry may fall into one of several categories. These categories are typically not strictly defined, and some pieces can potentially belong to more than one at the same time. Antique jewelry, vintage jewelry, and heirloom jewelry are all terms you might come across to describe older pieces.

What Is Heirloom Jewelry?

Heirloom jewelry is usually jewelry that is passed down through the generations, which often has some kind of sentimental value. Depending on its age, heirloom jewelry could also be vintage (often described as at least 40-50 years old) or antique jewelry (at least 100 years old). Heirloom jewelry is often given as a special gift on special occasions, such as milestone birthdays, weddings, or graduations. It might also be left to someone in a will.

Heirloom jewelry might be passed down through several generations, each time keeping it within the family or perhaps even going to someone new. If you receive a piece of heirloom jewelry, you might choose to wear it, perhaps just on special occasions. Alternatively, some people like to preserve heirloom pieces to protect them and help them last longer.

How Does Heirloom Jewelry Differ from Antique or Vintage Jewelry?

Heirloom jewelry can sometimes be vintage or antique too. The terms vintage and antique typically refer to age, although there isn't an exact length of time all experts agree on that makes jewelry either vintage or antique. Generally, something needs to be at least 40 years old to be classified as vintage and 100 years old to be an antique.

Heirloom jewelry, on the other hand, is more about the sentimental value and being passed through the generations. That means an heirloom piece could also be vintage or antique, but it isn't necessarily.

The Value of Heirloom Jewelry

You might want to consider the value of heirloom jewelry in two different ways. Firstly, there's the monetary value. Older jewelry often has a financial value, especially if it is fine jewelry, made by a reputable jewelry designer, or is particularly rare. But there's also the sentimental value of a piece of heirloom jewelry to consider.

When it comes to monetary value, it can vary. Some people might assume that a piece is worth a lot because it has sentimental value to them. But the truth is that not all heirloom jewelry is worth much in terms of selling potential. That's not to say that it never has a good monetary value, though. If you're curious, the best way to understand the value of a piece is to get it professionally valued by an expert. You can also do your own research by looking for similar pieces that might have sold online or at auction venues.

For many people, it's the sentimental value that matters more. Even if a piece has monetary value, they wouldn't want to sell it because it means too much to them. Heirloom jewelry can connect you to your relatives and ancestors, and your family history.

Should You Wear It or Store It?

One of the big questions about heirloom jewelry is whether you should wear it. If it means a lot to you, you might not want to risk damaging or losing it. But you can also feel that it doesn't deserve to sit in a box without being used. If you do choose to wear heirloom pieces, set some rules for yourself to ensure you take care of it. Consider insuring it for extra protection too.

Choosing Jewelry to Pass On

Do you want to choose a piece of jewelry with the intention of passing it to someone else? Try to choose something that is good quality and is sure to last. Consider something with broad aesthetic appeal too. Something with classic style will be appreciated more as it's passed down to new people.

Explore Our Collection of Curated Fine Jewelry in Virginia Beach 

Discover your next heirloom piece when you explore G Marie Luxuries’ carefully selected fine jewelry.

Book an appointment with one of our fine jewelry specialists to get started! We offer both in-store and virtual appointments to serve you regardless of your location.