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When you think of family heirlooms, you might think of things like an old grandfather clock, medals from back in the day, photo albums, assorted antique items of furniture, or maybe a wedding dress that’s been passed down in the family since time immemorial.
It’s almost certain, however, that you’ll also think of jewellery. In fact, jewellery might be the first place your mind goes when you think of heirlooms, and it makes good sense. Jewellery is timeless, easy to store, easy to pass on, and can serve a direct social function in the form of things like engagement rings.
If you haven’t yet got a bunch of jewellery travelling down your family line, but do have children, consider collecting and passing on your own jewellery collection for that purpose — either directly, to a daughter, or indirectly to a son — as something for him to pass on to his future partner or children. Just practice a bit of common sense, here. Rings and necklaces are great for turning into heirlooms, but your nipple bars may not fit the bill.
Here are some great reasons to collect and pass down jewellery.
It’s perhaps the easiest and most portable type of family heirloom
As alluded to above, jewellery is a remarkably easy kind of item to keep and pass down, relative to just about every other form of family heirloom that you could imagine, be it an old knife collection, an antique clock, a set of silverware from a century ago, or a set of paintings.
All of your jewellery can fit in a well-sized box (or two, or three) and can be kept in a wardrobe, sorted through, and handed out easily, as and when needed.
It’s something that later generations will actually use
It’s doubtful whether a grandfather clock built in the 1800s is going to have a real, functional use in the lives of people living in 2018. Sure, it’s a welcome and attractive heirloom, but in most cases, the sentimental connection is more or less the only real reason to hold onto it.
Jewellery is something that the later generations are likely to actually use, and appreciate, on a regular basis. Just about everyone can appreciate a good set of jewellery, and it might be that your future granddaughter will relish the opportunity to wear your old earrings out to prom, or some other formal event.
Its value will increase over time
While the point of a family heirloom isn’t to sell it off (more the exact opposite, in fact) it’s still good to know that jewellery tends to increase in value over time, with “vintage” or even “antique” jewellery often being valued much more highly than a comparable piece that was made yesterday.
As a general rule, having an asset that becomes more precious over time is useful, as a psychological safety net, and for the sake of appreciating the thing in question all the more, even if you never plan to part with it.
This is true of property, and it’s true of jewellery