Wearing Our Family Heirlooms

I was recently in a client’s closet, and we stumbled upon jewelry items in a small box. It had been tucked away in a corner of a shelf under items that she hadn’t worn in years. It brought tears to her eyes in sheer happiness and sadness for the 20140305_180825loss of the family member. Many of us have a similar story to tell. My grandmother, who played a major role in the person I am, gave me a strand of pearls, matching earrings, and a small gold and pearl pin in the shape of a bow. I keep them in a box in a drawer that I access daily. For me, it is not only a reminder of the bond we shared, but also a wonderful way to integrate heirloom jewelry with current fashion accessories. A girlfriend of mine had her mother’s wedding band with small diamond chips cut in half and a loop put in one end. She took a simple gold chain and wears it now as a small charm around her neck. She likes keeping her mother close to her heart. Nice, huh?

Easy Heirloom Accessories Ideas

  1. Take small brooches and cluster on jacket lapels in threes. Mix finishes, but try and keep similar themes together: bugs, flowers, embellished items and abstracts.
  2. Bracelets or cuffs should be worn in odd numbers. Pair wood finishes with woven or braided items. Gold, silver, metallic and Lucite look great when worn together!
  3. If you have several strands of pearls in various colors and sizes, and a favorite family pendent or cameo, ask your jeweler to drill on both sides of the pendent to use as a focal piece clasp for the pearl necklace. Have the pearls attached to the clasp and twist them to add interest. Wear with a simple white tee, leather jacket, jeans and boots.
  4. If you have a collection of stickpins, add them to your summer straw hats on one side above the brim or ribbon so they are clearly visible.

One of my favorite suggestions for preserving wearable family heirlooms is to have a top, jacket or scarf made into a decorative pillow. Most tailors can do this quite easily for a reasonable price. Make sure somewhere on the pillow you write who the garment belonged to and the date. My grandmother’s hankies have made wonderful sachet pouches for my undergarments drawer.

Send me your ideas or questions. I love the challenge of refurbishing family heirlooms or even dated garments to honor the cherished people in our lives and give their wearable items new life.

From my closet to yours!
Suzanne Libfraind

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