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The Legacy of Heirloom Jewelry: Passing Down Through Generations | GLDN

Written by GLDN Team — January 18, 2024

The Legacy of Heirloom Jewelry: Passing Down Through Generations | GLDN

When you think of an heirloom, what comes to mind? Most of the time, for something to be considered an heirloom, it has to be both valuable (either financially or sentimentally) and meaningful (an object with a story or history). Furniture, clothing, books, instruments and jewelry are all common family heirlooms meant to be cherished through generations! 

This tradition of passing down heirlooms has been a treasured custom for centuries—a way to keep memories alive and family history preserved. Wondering what to do with heirloom jewelry, or how to create a family heirloom jewelry for future generations? We’re breaking it all down in this guide.


What Is Heirloom Jewelry?

Typically, heirloom jewelry refers to a piece that holds significance or sentimental value, and is planned to be passed down through familial generations (if it hasn’t been already!). Think your grandmother’s wedding band, your father’s watch, a brooch crafted with precious gemstones—just a few examples to get you thinking. But, really, a piece of heirloom jewelry can be anything handed down from parent to child, grandparent to grandchild, aunt to niece, big sister to little sister or any meaningful relationship in your life. There aren’t any rules around who hands down what, how much it costs or what it’s made of. Its intrinsic, meaningful value is what really matters!

Given the nature of heirloom jewelry, though, most heirloom jewelry pieces will be crafted from precious metals (like solid gold) and precious gemstones (like pearls, diamonds, sapphires) because this jewelry can stand the test of time without tarnishing—ensuring it lasts through lifetimes of wear. Whether or not an heirloom piece is financially valuable doesn’t determine its personal value, though, so keep that in mind!


Personalized Oval Necklaces


Why You Should Pass Down Your Jewelry

Few objects are able to capture history, legacy and meaning like jewelry…especially in such a small footprint (you know, compared to a huge grandfather clock, for example)! At the end of the day, a piece of meaningful jewelry is an unmatched gift—something everyone will cherish for a lifetime—and a way to connect with our past well into the future. Plus, logical arguments aside, jewelry seems to hold a special place in our hearts. Name one person who doesn’t like jewelry, we’ll wait. 😉

Our Emotional Connection to Jewelry

There are a million reasons we all wear jewelry: personal style, sentimental value, symbolism, the list goes on and on. And a big one: jewelry brings us joy and makes us happy! Seriously, when’s the last time you looked at a piece of jewelry you love and it didn’t spark joy? 

Think of personalized jewelry, too—pieces customized with names, initials, dates, birthstones or meaningful symbols. This custom jewelry holds the most emotional value of all, telling a personal story with every wear. And when these pieces are passed down to family members and future generations? Priceless in every way.

Jewelry Represents Life Milestones

Think pearls from your wedding day, a cherished class ring, a necklace with your kids’ initials, a piece commemorating a special place or address. Passing down meaningful, personal pieces ensures these stories are preserved for future generations—and there’s no greater gift than that.

Things Come Back in Style

Look around with a trained eye and you’ll start to notice one thing: modern style is merely a patchwork of past trends. Round glasses? They’re back. Wide-leg pants? It’s like they never left! If you look at a pair of earrings and think they’re not worth passing down because they’ll soon be out of style…think again. Come 20 years from now, they’ll probably be bigger than they’ve ever been. (And possibly even better, because they’ll be vintage and one-of-a-kind! 💁‍♀️)

Whether your heirloom jewelry is a timeless basic or a flashier statement piece, chances are it’ll stay on trend or come back around! And if it’s heirloom-quality jewelry crafted in solid gold or sterling silver? There’s literally no reason not to pass it down.


Mom and daughters posing with personalized necklaces


How to Pass Down Family Heirloom Jewelry

You know you have a meaningful, sentimental piece you’d like to pass to someone you love—but how do you go about it? As with any gift, there aren’t any rules! Do what feels right for you and your family, whether you want to present it as a surprise, as a gift or have an open, honest conversation about it (to make sure it’s fair and equitable, if your heirloom jewelry is valuable).

The Financial Value of Jewelry

Aside from its sentimental value, sometimes heirloom jewelry is valuable in the traditional sense—especially if it’s crafted with precious metals and gemstones, or the piece is unique or rare. In this case, it’s never a bad idea to have an open, honest conversation about passing down a valuable piece of jewelry (if you feel comfortable doing so!) to help your loved ones understand the gravity of a special gift like this. Sometimes, valuable heirloom jewelry can even be a way to provide financial security for future generations.

On the flip side, though, remember that heirloom jewelry doesn’t have to be expensive to be valuable in a million other ways. What matters is the meaning and story behind the piece, not the monetary value. 


Organic Pearl Strand Collection


When to Pass Down Family Heirlooms

There are endless occasions perfect for passing down a meaningful jewelry piece: birthdays, wedding days, anniversaries, graduations, births, family reunions, special family holidays and more—or as a surprise on any day. Do what feels right to you, your family and your lifestyle. No matter when you pass down an heirloom piece, it’s a powerful way to honor your family history and create a sense of connection between generations.


Personalized Gold Bands


The Legacy of a GLDN Piece

When we think of heirloom jewelry, we think of jewelry that’s meaningful and personal—which is our entire thing here at GLDN. If you’re looking to create a new heirloom piece you’ll love now and be able to pass on to future generations, we recommend personalizing a piece with special initials, dates, coordinates, symbols and birthstones that tell your family’s story—from an heirloom ring to heirloom pearls to a family heirloom necklace

Or, if you prefer timeless essentials over personalized pieces, anything crafted in heirloom-quality solid gold is always a solid choice (pun very much intended) and ensures the piece will never go out of style.


Hope you find a super-special piece.
Team GLDN ✨

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