What makes a good jewellery heirloom?


For me, antique jewellery is something I’ve aspired to owning. I always hoped that things would get handed down through the family, but I only have the one hand-me-down. My Nan’s engagement ring. It is basic, and my Granddad used to joke about how cheap it was, and that the wedding ring got thrown in free. It’s not worth much on paper, understated and plain, but to me it is priceless. It’s the story, the love in this ring – truly irreplaceable.

#Ad – this post is for Carus Jewellery. The words and opinions are mine, the images are by Carus jewellery.

The jewellery I remember older relatives wearing was bold. It was huge, twinkly and eye catching. I love retro clothing, so antique jewellery would be so me. A big petticoated 50s swing dresses, with nylons and a massive chunky bit of garnet jewellery. Nice!

Beautiful hooped garnet and split pearl antique brooch. A 1950's jewellery staple.
Statement brooches are wonderful. Little touches to almost bind an outfit together.

Almost everything my Nan and great Aunties generation wore, that I remember seeing anyway, were either sapphire, garnet or pearl for earrings, necklaces and rings, teamed with cute enamel animal brooches. Nan had a brooch I remember I used to sneak into her room and try on, with her big Windsmoor coats. It was a big cat, a glittery enamel jaguar I believe, and I have never seen anything like it since. Everyone else wore cute bird brooches, but cats chase birds and kill them, so like my Nan to go one better, haha! Good old Nan, she was a character alright.

It amazes me the things that just got thrown away back in the Eighties and Nineties, as proper vintage costume jewellery is amazing. Also, if its old enough, even that faux gemstone stuff called paste will sell at quite a price. If I still had my childhood jewellery box now, I could be sitting on a lot of money in chunky bracelets and shell made necklaces that looked just like the red bangle and agate with malachite necklace in this slideshow! *Has an angry word with teenage me for deciding it was all tat and getting rid of it.*

  • simple, elegant bakerlite bangle.
  • The classic swallow brooch, bling to the max.
  • Traditional sapphire Victorian gold ring.
  • An agate and malachite vintage necklace.

But, in honesty, all I want is the garnet. There is something about it, okay its not diamonds and rubies, but it has a real charm. It’s a stone you just do not see anymore, burgundy and maroon are not fashionable I guess. I am drawn to Gothic colours and styling though, I am really not a fan of delicate pink things. Give me Art Deco and Georgian any day, over a modern bit of bling. It’s all coming back around at some point though, beautiful things often fall back into fashion over and over again.

As a mum to boys, I doubt they’ll want my rings when I’m gone. But that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the antiques myself! If a piece of jewellery has a story, or looks a bit different my advice would be to keep it. But if you are looking to buy a little bit of history, have a gander over at Carus Jewellery.

Do you have any hand-me-downs you could never part with? Or are you now looking at your jewellery box thinking “oooh so costume jewellery still sells?”

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