5 Unique Family Heirloom Ideas to Invest in & Pass Down
Heirlooms are wonderful ways to keep tradition and sentiment alive in a family, and creating your own can give you a sense of connectedness with your future generations. There is a rich history of gifting heirlooms to the next generation at pivotal moments in their life and it’s a way to provide for your loved ones and keep your memory alive. You may have some heirloom-worthy items already, but we’ve collected some ideas that you can check out if you’re looking to make a new tradition.
Jewellery is a classic and faithful option when deciding to pass something to your future generations. Consider how the piece will age, and if the style right now is something that will be timeless for others. The type of jewellery is also important--necklaces, cufflinks and bracelets are good choices since they are generally one-size-fits-all, whereas rings may need to be sized if they don’t fit or worn around a necklace if resizing isn’t available.
Brooches and pins can also be some ideas for heirloom items, however, they may not be easily incorporated into an outfit and can often leave holes in fabric and make them not ideal for certain situations. However, these can be statement pieces that are used in special occasions, so keep in mind whether or not you’re giving jewellery for everyday or for rare moments.
Traditionally a valuable and sentimental clock like a grandfather clock is passed down through the family as an heirloom. Grandfather clocks are rich with history but are often cumbersome and fragile. A well-crafted wall clock can be a wonderful idea for an heirloom since it is often not as delicate and a lot more portable so that it can be moved from home to home as it likely will as it changes hands.
A Bramwell Brown Weather Clock is a luxury heirloom that will be appreciated when it’s passed down. These clocks feature a simple dial with a window to playful graphics to showcase what the weather is outside. It is practical and cute, and will likely be useful in referring to the time and weather before going about your day. This is a clock that fits most people’s tastes, and would likely not get stuck in storage when it’s passed down. It is full of charm and careful crafting, to be admired by generations to come.
3. Handmade Home Decor
Handmade items are often well-loved because they come from an ancestor who had time and skill to create something that is likely labour-intensive. Crafts like these are appreciated because it is often a direct link to the person who made it as you’re able to see their handiwork. Items like a table and set of chairs are not easy to make and require a practiced hand, boosting the appreciation that the receiver will get from being bestowed an important craft. Quilts and blankets are classic because you get to appreciate the work put into the item, but also to see the creator’s aesthetic taste, which can be a fitting way to remember your relative each time you use or look at it.
Other items that lean more toward folk art can be tricky to pass on as different things appeal to different people. That rooster plaque that was drawn and carved by hand is impressive but not necessarily everyone’s cup of tea; meaning that it may not get proudly displayed as you would want it to.
4. Musical Instruments
Photo by Matthew Daniels
Whether or not you’re musically-inclined, an instrument can be a fascinating heirloom. You might think of the more expensive instruments like a grand piano or a violin, but a well-crafted harmonica or kalimba are small and easy to pass on. The sentimental value and quick introduction for a beginner musician are wonderful qualities in an instrument.
Instruments also make for unusual and aesthetically-pleasing decor, so even if your descendants aren’t going to be playing them, they will still have a function and be appreciated. Simply having an instrument around can eventually lead to the motivation of learning to play, or just riffing on it because it’s nearby. Fiddling around with an instrument can be a fun, novel and relaxing way to spend an afternoon for your future generations.
Photo by Wang Yan
As part of daily life, long-lasting and well-fitted clothing can be treasured items in today’s world of fast fashion. Clothes are something that would likely need to be altered, but when it is something that is made well and will be around for a long time, it can be worth a lot more than what it costs if you’re able to pass it down through the family.
Wedding dresses are typical examples of heirloom clothing that gets passed down, but what you pass on doesn’t need to be as extravagant as that. A merino shawl or leather jacket that is finely-crafted can be appreciated for generations. Blouses that are neutral and pair well with anything and dresses that are good for most events are some items that pass down well. Keep in mind the style, and try to go with something classic and timeless but do remind yourself that styles often repeat every couple of decades.
Recommended Reading: How to Choose a Wall Clock for Your Home
Family heirlooms tell the story of a family through valuable and sentimental items. Often these items are strongly linked to the memories of your clan and help to keep generations connected. Likely, you’ll want to give something that means a lot to you and will help people to remember you. An item that truly represents who you are is a good gift to give, especially if it’s also practical like a clock or furniture.
Lastly, think about where your heirloom is going. You’ll probably want to try to match the item to the person receiving it, and picking a moment that is appropriate for them. Passing on that clock that’s been in the family could be a housewarming heirloom that will be sure to be appreciated. Finding out and seeing who enjoys your gift the most is a heartwarming experience that will bring many smiles to come.