Family jewelry — an inheritance dilemma

What to do with grandma’s brooch?

From simple seashells to elaborate tiaras, jewelry, with its fire, shine and beauty has captivated us practically since time began. Who can resist the creamy luster of a freshwater pearl? Or the blazing brilliance of a diamond?

You’d be surprised.

Or maybe not. In many homes across America, (yours?) you will find unworn and forgotten jewelry, beautiful jewelry — diamond rings, pearl necklaces, cameo brooches and the like — relegated to the back of dresser drawers or the bottom of jewelry boxes. Beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder. Grandma was so thoughtful, leaving you her treasures. However….

What to do with grandma’s jewelry

The issue of what to do with inherited possessions is a real one. The uncomfortable truth is you can’t take it with you. That means it must go somewhere and usually that’s with family or friends. You were a loving thought in grandma’s mind when she bequeathed her prized set of delicate English tea cups and gold wedding band to you. The problem? You don’t drink tea and you don’t like gold.

You’re torn because you want to honor the memory of your grandma, but practically? You’ll probably never use or wear those once loved things.

This is where a private jeweler can come in handy.

Try a private jeweler

Joanne Wright, a private jeweler in the business for 24 years, sees many people who come to her with the idea of selling inherited jewelry.

“I always start the conversation with, ‘Are you sure you want to sell it?’” she says. Wright understands the difficulty of letting go of family jewelry. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.

“You will forever lose the opportunity to gift it to another family member,” she acknowledges.”


She often recommends regifting. (Not to be compared with the tacky regifting of rejected Christmas presents). This is jewelry someone once loved that someone else can love again. While you may not like that ring or necklace, your daughter or sister-in-law might just be thrilled with it.


Wright also can transform grandma’s outdated clunky piece of jewelry into something you absolutely adore and wouldn’t hesitate to wear. She frequently “remodels” jewelry, giving it a new look more in sync with the owner’s wants and style.


If someone truly wants to sell, she is happy to help. “Why not mine what is in our closets?” she affirms.

Gold jewelry from the 70’s and 80’s tended to be very heavy, according to Wright. And with gold, it’s all about the weight. She describes a woman who brought in a couple of old gold charm bracelets and other stuff (stuff her husband laughingly said would bring next to nothing). The woman laughed herself all the way to the bank with $2,300 extra dollars in her pocket.

Peace of mind

Deciding what to do with inherited things — to wear, remodel, regift, sell or just stuff in the back of your closet — is neither quick nor easy. Sometimes a private jeweler can help you think it through.

In the end you want to be able to sleep at night, at peace with your decision — a philosophy Wright emphatically supports.

“I don’t want anyone to walk away with regrets.”

Regret-free living. That’s what we’re talking about.

If you’re interested in contacting Joanne Wright please visit her website at

Advisory services are offered by Joslin Capital Advisors, LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor.

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