What to do when your children say “no” to your heirloom jewelry


In a recent post we discussed the wonderful tradition of passing down heirloom jewelry to a child, niece, or friend. It creates a legacy that ties one generation to another. But what if they turn your legacy down?

It’s a situation that boomer parents are increasingly encountering with their millennial children. The Washington Post reported on this turn of events in Stuff it: Millennials nix their parents’ treasures.”

Why the kids are saying “no”

  • It’s just not their taste. Did you love your parents’ possessions or did you feel they were outdated? What looked great years ago may not be in style now.
  • They don’t have the room. For many millennials, minimal is in. Apartments are small and your children/grandchildren pride themselves on making do with less.
  • They’ve downsized their lifestyles. Other than an occasional wedding (which may be held in a field with everyone camping out), millennials don’t dress up the way we used to. And your prized sterling flatware and tea set? Your kids aren’t entertaining the way previous generations did. Plus, they don’t want anything they have to polish.
  • They’re a mobile generation. And I don’t mean mobile phones…they move for relationships, jobs, school, and new starts. And the less stuff they have to move, the better.
A sterling silver tea set may not be their taste

A sterling silver tea set may not be their taste

What you can do with heirlooms your children don’t want

  • Consider giving your pieces to a niece, nephew, or friend
  • Consider consignment
  • Sell your jewelry to a jewelry store
  • Sell your jewelry yourself

So, know that while they love you, your kids may not love your stuff. But know that their children will probably treasure the rings, sterling, and collectibles that your children have turned down.

Before you make a move

If you are giving any valuables to family members, or if you decide to sell them, don’t make a move until you know their value. That’s where I can help with an up-to-date appraisal that will give you a benchmark so you can tell if you’re getting a fair offer.

Brilliantly yours, Aimee

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