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The Financial Benefits of Heirloom Jewelry Collections

Updated on April 29, 2015
Heirloom Jewelry Collection
Heirloom Jewelry Collection
Smaller Heirloom Jewelry Collection
Smaller Heirloom Jewelry Collection
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What if your heirloom jewelry collection was worth $1,568,032.51? Today some people don’t even know what an heirloom jewelry collection is. Historically, family heirlooms were cherished memorabilia passed down from generation to generation (i.e. antiques, jewelry, wines, furniture, recipes, property, etc.) to keep families connected to traditions, cultures and heritage. Heirlooms unify family members in the future with family members from the past. Heirlooms have traditionally been successful in keeping families together. Most importantly, heirlooms usually carry a financial value, providing collateral for access to immediate cash or money. However today, heirlooms are a thing of the past. What happened to the tradition of passing down heirlooms? The tradition of passing down heirlooms ended over time for three main reasons: 1) life insurance policies, 2) retirement plans, and 3) technology.

Life insurance policies replaced heirlooms because individuals no longer needed to rely on the underlying value of heirlooms in order to pay off the funeral costs and debts of parents or grandparents. Heirlooms provided a sense of security to children of the deceased because in the event that funds to cover funeral arrangements were unavailable, heirlooms were cashed in and used to pay off these costs. Life insurance policies now provide families with coverage for almost all funeral-related costs. Funds from life insurance policies can also be used to financially support the remaining family of the deceased for many years to come. Basic policies can cover up to $1,000,000 per person.

Retirement accounts function in a similar capacity. Individuals can pay into their retirement accounts, if these are not offered through an emplyer or other organization (i.e. pension, 401K, Roth IRA, etc.). Owners of retirement accounts must indicate a beneficiary of those funds with hopes of financially protecting their loved ones and family members from high elder care costs or funeral costs. Funds from a retirement account can also be directed or assigned to take care of children and grandchildren after the account owner is deceased. More and more employees are allocating the majority of their income into a retirement account privately or through their employer. Funds held in these accounts are not taxable until withdrawn.

Technology has contributed to decreases in family connections, as well as, decreasing the need for family heirlooms. Heirlooms, which traditionally brought family members together, were replaced by technologies that encouraged families to move apart (i.e. transportation, telecommunications, the World Wide Web, etc.). While many people seemingly no longer prefer to remain in close proximity to family members, technology has provided a legitimate escape. Some younger family members grow up and move away for college or “to start a new life” as they claimed. When asked, “Do you want to take NaNa’s gold and diamond earrings with you?” “No Mom, I’m good!” tends to be the reply.

Disconnected Family
Disconnected Family
Traditional English Heirloom Necklace
Traditional English Heirloom Necklace

However, the value placed on heirlooms is underestimated. You see, it isn’t so much the tradition of the heirloom that holds value to most individuals. It’s the underlying collateral value of the heirloom that should be of interest to anyone. Family heirlooms can be worth millions. Jewelry, for example, can be pawned or borrowed against. Authentic pearl earrings, gold watches, diamond necklaces, gold cufflinks, etc., all hold collateral value, since these commodities and gems do not substantially depreciate over time. These types of commodities are still traded in public markets and auctions today, while jewelry immaculately-designed with these gems are still sold at high-end retail stores. In the event an individual is in need of emergency cash, these valuables can be used as a source of immediate financial support or relief. Most individuals will need financial support at some time in their lives. Everyone can use some extra cash.

Since heirlooms should continually be passed down to newer generations, it is not recommended that heirloom jewelry be cashed in or pawned. Damaged jewelry can be restored as indicated in the video below. Owners of priceless heirloom jewelry should only borrow against the value of the items, repaying the lender for the value of the jewelry as soon as possible. The heirloom from your grandparents’ can be perceived as a token or gift of financial support to you for possible unstable financial times in the future. Therefore, it will not be prudent to sell your heirloom jewelry. Your children and grandchildren should have access to this opportunity for financial support as well.

Heirloom Jewelry Restoration

Instead of pawning heirloom jewelry, it is best that each generation add more jewelry to a box or safe, which becomes the family's “heirloom jewelry collection”. Increasing the financial support offered by heirloom jewelry collections over time. In this way, generations to come are increasingly financially supported. Fortunately for the holder of an heirloom jewelry collection, the stockpile of valuable jewelry is not considered income and is, therefore, not taxable. For example, if the cash value for an accumulated jewelry heirloom grows to $1,568,032.51 over several generations, that cash value can never be taxed by any municipality. Borrowing against this value will ensure that any future owner of the heirloom can purchase a car or a home, send children to college, capitalize on an investments, etc. The family will have the hassle-free responsibility of paying back the lender over time. Once the full value of the heirloom jewelry collection is restored with its content, the heirloom can then be passed on to a new family member.

As you can see heirloom jewelry collections have substantial worth. As heirlooms that increase in value over time, heirloom jewelry collections can be used as a powerful form of financial support for generations of family members to come. As indicated above, there are several benefits of bequeathing heirlooms jewelry collections to future generations. However, these benefits are not without a very specific issue: Who gets the heirloom?

Mother passes on heirloom necklace for daughter's wedding
Mother passes on heirloom necklace for daughter's wedding
Classic worn heirloom diamon ring
Classic worn heirloom diamon ring

Which of the options below do you believe is the most common type of heirloom jewelry?

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Historically, family members fought brutally, even fatally, to obtain the family’s heirloom. Typically the eldest child received the endowment. After parents were deceased, eldest children usually had the responsibility to care for the well-being of younger siblings and their families. However, some families have given the heirloom to the first female child instead. Since women were not permitted to work in earlier centuries, the collateral value of the heirloom provided additional financial support for unmarried women. In the event there were no children born to a couple, the heirloom would then be passed on to the eldest niece or nephew of the couple. In the absence of any future generations or offspring of the heirloom holder (such as, a son, daughter, nephew or niece), the heirloom was passed on to the youngest sibling of the holder, a god-child or a cousin of the heirloom holder. There was always someone bequeath the heirloom to. Since an heirloom jewelry collection would have been considered property, the heirloom could have been forfeited to the municipality after the untimely death of its holder. Also, if the heirloom holder failed to repay a loan made against the underlying jewelry, the heirloom would be diminished in value or terminated.

Today, heirloom jewelry collections can once again be financially beneficial to individuals and their children. To begin the tradition of bequeathing an heirloom jewelry collection in your family, follow these simple steps: 1) be certain that the value of the jewelry will not depreciate over time for any reason (i.e. destructibility, usability, tradability, etc.); 2) be certain that the jewelry reflects your culture and heritage to remind future generations of such accordingly; 3) create “unwritten” rules for the heirloom that you will verbally pass on to future holders of the heirloom; 4) keep the heirloom in a large enough space that will permit for accumulation of jewelry over time (i.e. jewelry box, large jewelry bag, etc.), and; 5) keep the jewelry heirloom in a safe, lockable place (i.e. a personal safe, a lockable jewelry box, a bank’s safe deposit box, a treasure chest, etc.). Over time your heirloom jewelry collection can also be worth $1,568,032.51.

Read more of my financial blogs at:

Heirloom Jewelry Collection Safe
Heirloom Jewelry Collection Safe


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