Memorial Day is upon us, a time every spring where we reflect on those brave men and women whose sacrifices help preserve the freedoms enshrined in America’s foundation. It is also, for many people, a day to remember the important people in our lives who are no longer with us. There are many ways to honor the memory of a loved one, and often, many tokens left behind that keep that person alive in our hearts. For the heirlooms that are passed from generation to generation, here are a few suggestions on how to both estate jewelry care for them and leave your own mark for the generations yet to come.
Estate Jewelry Care
We tell stories through the jewelry we pass onto others—of our lives, our achievements, our values, and much more. Think of the pieces that have traversed your family tree, handed to you by parents, grandparents, or even great grandparents. Or the pieces you know will be handed down to your own children.
Each come with stories you have been told or will tell, which makes them valuable far beyond the metal or stones. Here are some dos and don’ts to keep these pieces in pristine condition for years to come.
- Wear your estate jewelry while exercising. Even rings should be removed to avoid damage from sweat, dirt, or being knocked around on machines or weights. Even gripping the bars of a bicycle might strain and warp the band.
- Wear your estate jewelry while cleaning, particularly if you’re using harsh chemicals. Bleach and other household cleaners—even some gardening chemicals—can alter the metal.
- Clean your estate jewelry the way you do your contemporary jewelry. In fact, for all fine jewelry, we recommend you consult a fine jewelry expert to determine the best practices. Or better yet, entrust that expert to do the job for you. Each piece is unique and what works for your grandmother’s diamond ring might not be ideal for a string of pearls. If you do attempt a cleaning at home, do not use saltwater, as it is corrosive and can damage certain metals.
- Wear your estate jewelry while cooking. Not only does it run the risk of striking something that could cause damage, but you also don’t want to worry that a loose stone fell into your homemade spaghetti sauce.
- Get your jewelry appraised by a certified professional. While the value to you will go beyond dollars and cents, it is always good to have an official assessment in hand. This is especially useful in insurance situations.
- Have your jewelry fitted for you specifically. If the bands are too narrow or too tight, there may be ways to custom fit your piece for your personal use. This is not always possible with estate jewelry, though, and a trusted professional can help you explore alternative ways to celebrate your loved one with the piece in question if resizing is not an option.
- Keep your heirloom jewelry safely stored while it is not being worn, preferably in a jewelry box and out of direct sunlight. If you live in an area with dramatic temperature fluctuations and excessive humidity, avoid storing your jewelry in a place where the environment is less controlled, such as an attic or storage unit.
- Examine your antique jewelry from time to time. Loose stones, broken prongs, warped metals can typically be rectified with a visit to your trusted fine jewelry specialist.
- Wear it! It’s normal to be nervous when handling pieces of great sentimental or family value. We get it. But if you keep your heirloom jewelry well cared for, there is no reason for it to languish unworn in a jewelry box.
Updating Estate Jewelry
There are many reasons you may want to explore updating your estate jewelry. Perhaps you’re building on family tradition, adding your own personal flare to a piece of history handed down through the generations. Or perhaps you simply want to honor the person that gifted the heirloom to you while embracing your own aesthetic.
Your options for updating will, understandably, depend on the piece in question. The change you make could be minimal or dramatic, from replacing, adding, or enhancing the stones on display to transforming an antique necklace into earrings. The custom jewelry professionals at Maxon Fine Jewelry are happy to explore your options or even open the door to possibilities you didn’t realize were available to you.
Visit Maxon for Estate Jewelry Care
We know the stories behind your inherited jewelry are what make the pieces truly valuable. Whether you are seeking a cleaning or appraisal or are curious as to how to put your own unique stamp on a piece of family history, Maxon Fine Jewelry will help you determine the best way to honor your loved ones and preserve their memories for years to come. We also invite you to shop our exclusive estate jewelry line, learn the histories behind other one-of-a-kind pieces that have been given another chance to live on.