We all want to leave something to the next generation when we pass on, and often this is more meaningful if it isn’t just a cash sum, but rather something tangible.
Heirlooms are the obvious example of this, and they come in all shapes and sizes, from furniture to clothing and beyond.
Often the most valuable and convenient possession to bequeath to your children is a piece of jewelry, whether it’s something that has been passed down through the family over the centuries, or it’s a newer item you’ve purchased yourself in anticipation of it one day becoming a much-loved memento.
The trick is to know how to look after such a precious piece of property in the long term, so that it’s in tip top condition when the time for it to be inherited arrives. Here’s how you can do this successfully.
Understand the Value of Heirloom Jewelry: Preserving a Family Legacy
Heirloom jewelry is more than just an item with monetary value. It’s a symbol of family history, heritage and tradition that can be passed down from generation to generation.
By protecting and preserving these precious pieces, you keep your loved ones’ memories alive for future generations.
Knowing how to properly care for heirloom jewelry will ensure it stays in excellent condition so it can continue being enjoyed by your children and grandchildren long after you’re gone. So whether you are looking to safeguard the lab grown engagement rings from VRAI, a company focused on creating lab-grown diamonds of any size while cutting out the middleman, or shield any other piece from the ravages of time, you need to have a plan of action in place.
Know How to Inspect and Care For Your Heirloom Pieces
Inspecting heirloom jewelry is an important part of preserving it. Check each piece thoroughly, looking out for any signs of wear or damage such as loose gems, cracks in the metal setting, or discoloration on the surface.
Doing this regularly can help you catch potential problems before they become worse over time. It’s also a way of making the piece more meaningful, especially if you involve your children in this process from a young age. That way they’ll come to appreciate it, and have more of an attachment to it when the time comes.
Choose Proper Storage Options for Your Valuables
Proper storage is key to preserving heirloom jewelry. First and foremost, you should store pieces in a cool, dry place with low humidity and away from direct sunlight or other sources of heat. This will help prevent tarnishing or discoloration over time.
Also, place each item in an individual box lined with anti-tarnish fabric, and store the boxes inside your home safe if you have one.
Alternatively, consider investing in a small jewelry cabinet which can be locked up securely when not being used. These are ideal for keeping all your precious items organized, without taking up too much space.
Finally, remember that storing multiple types of metal together (e.g., gold & silver) can cause them to react negatively, so keep them separated where possible, unless their design requires otherwise.
You could splash out for off-site storage, whether that’s in a safety deposit box or a storage unit. This could be useful for other purposes, such as when you move home. However, this does turn what should be a personal possession into more of an asset, and the detachment might mitigate its heirloom status.
Harness Professional Cleaning & Appraisals
It’s wise to get a professional to clean and appraise your heirloom pieces every once in a while if you want to keep them looking their best.
A trained jeweler will know exactly how to safely remove tarnish and grime without harming the metal, gems, or other components of each piece, which is something that can be difficult for an amateur at home. They can also perform any necessary repairs as well, which is ideal if you’d rather not risk doing this yourself.
Moreover, getting regular appraisals is equally essential as it helps verify the value of each item. It also ensures accurate records are kept, which could prove helpful in case your jewelry ever gets stolen. Having proof of its current worth makes reporting theft and filing claims easier should such an unfortunate event occur.
Safeguard Against Theft or Loss With Insurance Coverage
Speaking of theft, valuable heirloom jewelry can be a target for criminals, so it’s important to protect yourself against malicious third parties.
Investing in an insurance policy specifically designed for high-value items, on top of your home insurance, is the best way to safeguard your investments, and to ensure you get paid out if anything should happen to them.
When looking into coverage options, make sure each item is appraised accurately first, this will help you determine how much they’re worth, and therefore how much protection they need.
Also be aware of any exclusions which may apply, such as certain gems not being covered, as well as any restrictions on where pieces can be stored. Most policies require valuables kept at home to be locked away securely when not being worn.
Pass Down the Story Behind Each Piece to Future Generations
Heirloom jewelry isn’t just valuable in terms of monetary worth. It’s also a source of family pride and heritage. So when you pass down these items, make sure you include their story as well, as this helps future generations appreciate them even more.
If possible, try to find out when each piece was made and where it originally came from. You can then share all this information with your children, so they have a better understanding of its significance. Historic jewelry often has a tail attached, and it could even be haunted, so a little bit of research might uncover tantalizing tidbits to embellish.
Other things that could be included are photos showing how each item looked before being handed down, and fun anecdotes about how certain pieces were acquired over the years. Anything which adds extra meaning will help keep their memory alive for many more years.
Saving heirlooms for your children, jewelry or otherwise, will be a worthwhile endeavor, and one which will be easier in the long run if you start thinking about it today.