What constitutes an heirloom varies from family to family but the sentiment behind the items is the same, each item hold special meaning or memories.

When you think of heirlooms the first thing you might think of is they are expensive items; maybe an expensive antique piece that has been handed down through several generations of the family, taken care of by each recipient, cherished shown to the children and then handed onto the next generation to take care of. Whilst many heirlooms are in fact jewellery, there are many other different things that are handed down as heirlooms, and they do not always have to be things with great monetary value.

1. Jewellery

Amongst the most common heirlooms are jewellery that is passed down from one generation to another. Passing down an antique engagement ring is a heart-warming way to continue a family tradition; a way of welcoming a new bride into the family. Watches, pocket watches especially are a very popular item of jewellery to pass down, although as they are not the fashion now they are more likely to be stored away for safe keeping.

2. Furniture

Older furniture was built to last and can have great sentimental value so it is often a very popular heirloom to pass down, however it can be quite bulky. If you have been left a larger piece of furniture the big question is what do you do with it? Many people live in smaller homes where they do not have plenty of extra space to incorporate these items, and of course they may simply not fit with your décor but moving to a bigger house or getting rid of the inherited furniture isn’t really an option. In these instances, it is worth considering placing items of heirloom furniture into a self-storage unit until you can find a place for them. Of course, smaller items of furniture like a hat rack or a mantle clock are much easier to find a space for in your home.

3. Recipes

You might not realise it but your great aunt’s recipe for gingerbread or sponge cake is in fact a family heirloom. This is because it is something that has been passed down through several generations of the family to preserve it. Recipes can evoke valuable memories of special events and people There is something incredibly special about a tatty old cookery book that contains so many recipes; to the casual observer it has little value but these can be incredibly valuable heirlooms for some families, giving them a real glimpse into the past. 

4. Military Memorabilia

Military memorabilia often holds pride of place in any family, together with the rich history and stories attached to it. War medals in particular, and especially those awarded following the death of the family member in service. They are something to be treasured and kept safe to pass down to future generations for many years to come. 

Weapons and military uniforms are often passed down in the same way, although it is more likely for a family to decide to donate these kinds of items to a museum where they can be seen by many, preserved by experts and kept safe as a real glimpse into the past.
Whatever you choose to hand down to your kids, make sure you keep it in tip top condition to preserve its value -  you never know how much it could be worth in the future.

Published by Christina Woodard