What will happen to your jewelry after you're gone? Here are some steps you can take to ensure your wishes are honored.
Hey, friend. Can we have a serious heart-to-heart for a moment?
We need to talk about your jewelry. Not just the sparkly stuff, but the memories, the connections, and what you'll leave behind.
You probably have a lot of questions about your jewelry and sometimes it's overwhelming to think about everything you need to do. It's helpful to be able to talk to an expert, especially when you're dealing with something so valuable and sentimental. If you've got a family jeweler you can speak to, that's great! They'll be a wonderful resource for you.
Don't know a jeweler? You do now! Let me introduce myself.
My name is Sophie Stradley, and I'm the owner and designer here at Stradley & Daughter. As a fifth-generation jeweler who grew up in the jewelry industry, I've had the honor and privilege of helping many clients prepare their jewelry to be passed down to the next generation. Legacy and connection are so important when it comes to jewelry, and it's one of the most cherished ways we can be remembered.
If you're anything like me, you've got some special pieces of jewelry that hold a place in your heart. Maybe it's Grandma's wedding ring or the necklace you wore on your first date. They're more than just pretty accessories; they're part of our life's story.
Have you ever stopped to think about what happens to these treasures down the road? I know, it's not a fun thought, but it's a conversation we need to have.
I've written a list of the most important few actions you can take right now that will make it much easier if the worst should happen. If it seems like a lot to handle, just take it one step at a time, and feel free to reach out to me if you get stuck, I'm happy to help!
First things first:
1. Repair and Clean Your Broken Jewelry - Don't Wait!
Remember that necklace you loved that broke? It's sitting in a drawer, right? It's time to bring it back to life. Why is it important?
- Your Connection to the Past: That piece holds memories. Don't let them fade. Your loved ones will remember you wearing it, and it will bring them comfort.
- Now's the Time: Tomorrow isn't promised. Let's make today the day you revive those treasures.
- How to do it: If you've got a family jeweler you trust, speak with them about repairing anything that needs attention. If not, request a Precious Cargo Kit, available here. Our master jewelers will have your priceless pieces back to their old selves in no time.
2. Appraise Valuable Items - Know What You Have
Ever wonder what your jewelry is worth? Don't just wonder, find out.
- Knowledge is Power: You've got to know what you have, so you can make smart choices. Knowing the true value of your treasures provides peace of mind and a clearer path for estate planning.
- Don't Delay: A fair appraisal isn't something to put off. It's about your future, your family, your control. Your jewelry may have more than sentimental value. Understanding its worth ensures you leave an accurate legacy.
- How to do it: Trust an expert appraiser. Your appraisal should provide clear, accurate evaluations to help you make an informed decision. Do you need info about appraisals for your jewelry? Book a free virtual consultation with one of our experts, and we can get you the details you need.
3. Inventory Your Jewelry - Start Today
This step is more than mere cataloging. It's about preserving the stories and memories associated with each piece. Your collection holds secrets, stories, and more. Let's get it all sorted.
- Your Guided Journey: We've created a user-friendly digital inventory worksheet for you. It's not just paperwork; it's planning for your legacy.
- Time Is Precious: Leaving a clear inventory is a gift to those you leave behind. It's a tangible expression of love, care, and thoughtfulness. Don't let another day go by. Get organized, for your sake and for those you love.
- How to do it: Gather any appraisal or insurance documents you have for your jewelry, then snap some photos of each piece on a plain background in neutral lighting. Follow the instructions on our easy-to use digital inventory worksheet to easily document each item.
4. Ensure Proper Insurance - Protect What's Precious
Jewelry is often irreplaceable. Proper insurance protects the monetary and sentimental worth of your collection. It's your history. Make sure it's safe.
- A Safeguard for Memories: What if something happens? Make sure those memories are secure.
- Do It Now: Accidents happen. Don't let procrastination cost you something priceless.
- How to do it: Many homeowner's or renter's policies offer riders that can add valuable pieces to the existing policy. You can also buy independent insurance for reasonable rates. For more info about insuring jewelry, check out this article we wrote on the subject.
5. Discuss and Gift Thoughtfully - Share the Joy
Your jewelry can create lasting memories today. Why wait? One of my favorite ways to pass on priceless memories is to do it now, while we're living. Why? It gives you the opportunity to share how much you care about your loved one in person, and turns the gift into a memorable celebration they can carry with them. Sometimes gifts we receive after someone passes are bittersweet, but gifts given during life don't carry the same sad memories. If you know you can bring a loved one happiness now, and it won't inconvenience you, why not?
- Create Memories Now: Who will inherit what? Why not gift some pieces now, while you can enjoy the smiles? Consider gifting heirlooms during special occasions. It's a way to create new memories and connections.
- Talk About It: Your wishes should be known. Share them with your family. Now, not later. Consider having an open and honest discussion with the people who may be expecting to inherit certain items. This can avoid hurt feelings and unnecessary litigation later.
- How to do it: There's no great way to approach the conversation about mortality, but it's a fact of life. The best option is to be straightforward, kind, and clear about your intentions and wishes. Consider asking loved ones for their input or even ask what they have special sentimental attachment to. You may find that they would be perfectly happy with a smaller gift that has a more personal meaning.
6. Redesign and Enjoy Your Jewelry - Make It Yours
Don't forget the most important person in this process - you! Got old pieces gathering dust? Let's make them new again. Your jewelry should be enjoyed. Let us help you transform neglected pieces into something uniquely yours.
- Craft Your Story: Your jewelry should tell your tale. Let's make that happen, today. Our redesign and restyling services can incorporate family gems, resizing rings, adding birthstones, and more.
- Your Personal Transformation: Love yourself enough to enjoy what you have. Life's too short to wait.
- How to do it: Our designers would be happy to help you reimagine your old jewelry into something that truly represents your personal journey. Many people don't realize just how much we can do with your jewelry-- beyond just the standard sizing and repairs, we can add or remove components from your existing pieces. Imagine a pendant made from the bridal diamonds of your mom, aunt and grandma or a ring made with the birthstones of all your grandkids! We can even create something completely new from scratch. Learn more about custom design and heirloom restyling here.
7. Reconsider Jewelry Storage - Care for What You Love
Your jewelry deserves a home that protects and showcases it. Let's give it the protection it deserves.
- Cherish What's Precious: A tangled mess? You deserve better. So does your collection. Now is the time to invest in a storage solution that helps you keep track of all your pieces and keeps delicate items from bumping together and scratching.
- Invest in Joy Now: Organize, protect, and love your jewelry. You've earned it.
- How to do it: The best place to store jewelry is away from sunlight, moisture, and air. Individual items can be placed inside their own plastic or drawstring bags, to protect from scratches and chips. Our favorite tip to prevent tangled chains is to thread one side of a necklace through a drinking straw before clasping. For jewelry you use daily, buy a pack of teacup hooks and screw them into a closet shelf. This makes a quick spot to hang chains and bracelets to avoid tangles, and get a small tray for your nightstand to give other daily items like rings and earrings an evening home base.
Your jewelry is more than bling; it's a part of who you are and the legacy you'll leave. Every moment matters, and now's the time to take control of your treasures.
Getting your jewelry organized is about making the most of what you have, right now. From repair to redesign, insurance to thoughtful gifting, these aren't just tasks. They're urgent actions to ensure your story is told your way.
Take the first step today with our free digital inventory worksheet, or reach out to us for a free consultation. We're here and ready to help you on this vital journey.
Talk to you soon!
About Our Experience
At Stradley & Daughter, understanding your jewelry's legacy isn't just our business; it's our passion. With over five generations of experience in the fine jewelry industry, we've walked hand in hand with thousands of individuals on their journeys to preserve, transform, and celebrate their precious heirlooms.
We're not just about sales; we're about connections. From custom jewelry design to heirloom redesign, our artisans breathe new life into pieces that reflect your unique story and values. Our commitment to quality and personalized service has built a name synonymous with trust and excellence in craftsmanship.
Our family's legacy intertwines with yours as we help you create beautiful pieces that can be passed down through generations. We know what it means to connect with the past and embrace the future, one shimmering piece at a time.
Feel a connection? We're here for you. Book a free virtual consultation today to discover how we can be a part of your jewelry's lasting legacy.