When we consider what to look for when purchasing a family heirloom piece, we must always start with why we are purchasing a piece which will become a family heirloom.
These pieces are more than their makeup of precious stones and metals. Instead they capture memories, embody our personal history and through passing them down it is our hope that for the new generation the keeper’s before them are not forgotten.
When looking to purchase a family heirloom piece take a moment to reflect on what your story is, how you want to be remembered and how you will capture that creatively utilising jewellery’s design elements. From a selection standpoint, take into regard practical elements to ensure durability, timelessness and the intention you foresee surrounding wearability.
The manner in which you envision your family heirloom piece to be worn is a critical aspect of your decision process. Given the significant sentimental value placed on such pieces, everyday wearability should be taken into consideration rather than occasional dressing. Look for designers who embody this purpose in their ethos such as Sydney jeweller, Natalie Marie who is dedicated to the production of multi functional pieces that serve as everyday staples yet equally form the basis of modern heirlooms.
Naturally, you might want to further define who you envision receiving this family heirloom in generations to come. Will the family heirloom piece in question be specifically designed for women or be more gender neutral in nature for instance. Taking time to reflect on your hopes will help you select a piece that is true to your purpose. It might also be worth taking into consideration if and how a piece can be reworked should the next keeper be of the opposite sex, potentially in contrast to the original design element at play. Though we infuse family heirloom pieces with our stories and perhaps even guidelines upon receipt, as the original keeper we have to be somewhat flexible in selecting something to ensure its ultimate purpose, longevity.
In purchasing a family heirloom piece look for items that will signify a purpose. Perhaps a ring that initially captures your story, will serve to become the engagement ring of future brides to be. This will not only be a token of love and loyalty but a symbol of acceptance into the network that is your family. However, in remembering that people are as diverse as the jewellery options available it can be difficult to navigate the selection process. Settling on something that is universally adored cannot be guaranteed. As such, release yourself of this responsibility rather focus on decisions that will contribute to its cross generational appreciation.
For instance, you might want to consider something less intricate to allow for potential remodelling, which ultimately serves as contributions to the piece’s own narrative. Support designers like Natalie Marie, who are renowned for their use of fine lines and overall refined aesthetic. This not only contributes to a sense of timelessness but provides a canvas in which further generations can infuse their own personalities and individual touches.
By selecting something more minimal as seen across the Natalie Marie collections, the family heirloom piece will have a sense of versatility and eternity. It will not be bound by defining and often restrictive fashion trends, rather a pared back feel will ensure permanence. In addition, as stated, durability is essential particularly in relation to the gemstones you select as they need to be resistant, tenacious and built to last. By selecting a family heirloom with gemstones that are graded as hard like diamonds, rubies and sapphires you will contribute to its value and overall artistry.
When it comes to colour choices, golden hues are always a safe staple given the consistent global appreciation surrounding the metal. Should you be looking to further contribute to an heirloom’s overall value look at the meaning behind a designer’s inspiration. Natalie Marie’s latest collection, Sabel is created to be an ode to the earth which in turn could be curated as an ode to your family who though separated by generations over time, are forever bound by a Sabel piece celebrating our common connection, the earth.
Lastly, sustainable business practices surrounding the ethical sourcing of materials and the overall production process are worthy points to consider when investing in an heirloom piece. Sustainable practices are an intrinsic part of the Natlie Marie brand simply because a piece cannot fulfil its destiny to become an heirloom without belonging to generations to come. As the consumer and original keeper you are not only ensuring your family’s legacy is sustained but by shopping mindfully the continuation of the wider home of your family.
*All images courtesy of Natalie Marie*