What to do With Inherited Jewelry- Keep it or Sell it?  

One of the most commonly passed down possessions is jewelry. Whether is old engagement and wedding rings, special pairs of earrings and bracelets, or other antique items, inherited jewelry is often a strange mix of nostalgic memories and outdate styles. Many people who end up with jewelry that belonged to a relative long gone find themselves in a sticky situation- they love the memories associated with the piece and the connection it has to their loved one, yet they do not want to wear the piece due to its outdated style or it being a type of jewelry they are not a big fan of. They often feel bad and may worry they are not honoring the memory of their loved one if they don’t wear the jewelry pieces often, however, this does not have to be the case.  There are two easy things you can do with inherited jewelry- keep it or sell it. 

Keep What You Want and Give It New Life

Few people would argue that heirloom jewelry is a wonderful gift and a precious treasure, often with stories to tell us and memories to keep alive. If the items have great personal significance, then even if you do not plan to wear it all that often it may be a good idea to keep it to serve as a memento to remind you of your loved one.  If you want to keep the piece but are not exact thrilled with how it looks there are several great options for what you can do with it.

  • Save it to pass on. Inherited jewelry comes into a person’s possessions when it is left behind after someone passes away and is often seen as a gift from that individual. If you are not thrilled with the thought of wearing great-grandma’s antique earrings, you can set them aside in safe place and save them to pass on to your daughter when she is old enough to appreciate them and take proper care of them. 


  • Wear it yourself. Many people choose to wear special pieces of inherited jewelry for special occasions.  Once you have checked that all the stones are secure and the piece is in good shape, you can wear it with pride. You will be able to keep a piece of your loved one close and you can share their story with everyone who comments on the piece.


  • Have it made into something else. If there is no real story to connect to the jewelry other than it belonged to so and so and you would like to keep something of theirs, you have the option of upcycling the piece. You can take the stones from an old ring and turn it into a necklace pendant. You can take a necklace and turn the stones into a unique ring or bracelet. This is a great idea that is gaining popularity as people want to keep a piece of their heritage with them but do care more today about fashion and looks.

Selling Inherited Jewelry and How to do it Right  

Many people feel guilty for even thinking about selling something that belonged to Great Aunt Marge or Cousin Claire. However, there is nothing to be ashamed of and it is a common path may people take when they have jewelry they have no interest in.

Think about it this way- would your loved on rather have their ring or necklace sitting in a box collecting dust and never being worn or would they rather you sell it and use the money to help pay for your kids’ college tuition or get upgrades to your home that make their great-grand-kids’ lives better? The possibilities are endless with this option and many people end up selling inherited jewelry after a time when they realize they are not going to use it and they really have no one to pass it along to later on in life.

If you’ve made the decision to sell jewelry you got from a family member, you will want to go about it in a respectful and responsible manner, treating it with as much respect as you can. Before starting this process, consider the following:

  • Appraisal. Visiting a respected and professional jeweler is the best way to get your items appraised. It is important to remember that the appraisal value is not always what you will get for the item because market demand and trends fluctuate and what people are willing to pay for jewelry and gemstones will vary throughout the year.
  • Buyers. While you can get an appraisal at a local jeweler, remember they are a business and will look at your jewelry pieces from a business perfective-memories and nostalgic factors will not play into the pricing at all. You can also opt to deal with individuals and try and find someone who is looking for a piece like yours. They may be more open to stories of nostalgia but it will not be as big of a selling point as it is to you.
  • Security. No matter how you go about selling your inherited jewelry, it is important to take care of it while you are searching for a buyer. Make sure the items are being held in a safe and secure place while you are searching. Many people have a secure place at home for these items and others opt to get a safety deposit box at their bank to keep things safe and protected until they can be sold.

Contact Us Today for More Information

We hope this gives you some ideas about what to do with inherited jewelry. Whether you are looking for an appraisal, trying to find a buyer, or are looking at options for upcycling old pieces, we invite you to come see us today here at Karat Jewelry. We would love to work with you on whatever pieces you have. Call us today or come by- we are here for you!