Favorite/unusual family heirlooms

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by gypzy, Feb 2, 2006.

  1. gypzy

    gypzy Well-Known Member


    I was just wondering what some members favorite or most unusual family heirlooms are? Is this just an American custom to get antiques or valuables from family members who've passed on, or do other cultures do this also? Some people go on Oprah and other talk shows to yell at relatives about "Who gets grandma's tea set"! This is rediculous. I do believe it is nice to have things from people who meant alot to the recepient.

    My favorite heirloom is my gg grandmas wedding band. It's not fancy by any means, just plain gold, no diamonds, in fact the thickness is wearing thin and the width is uneven. Obviously I never met her, but my g grandma used to wear it between her engagement and wedding bands. I remember looking at it and trying it on. She told me I would get it someday, but my grandma would get it first. My grandma has given it to me. My gg grandma had almost been buried w/ it on. My g grandma's aunt had asked her where the ring was after her mother passed. She didn't know she was supposed to get it until her aunt said something. Her sister felt that if she didn 't have it, no one will have it. My g grandma's aunt made the mortician take it off my gg grandma's hand. As plain as this ring is it still means a lot to me, because it symbolizes family.

    Hands down, the most unusual heirloom has got to be a watch chain that was made w/ my g grandma's aunts hair. It's about 5 feet long, braided and clips on both ends that have opals and rubies on the clips. Her hair went down to her feet. I don't know about other cultures, but in the USA over an hundred years ago people used hair in art. My grandma still has the watch and chain. My aunt will get the watch and I'll get the hair. I have no idea what I'll do w/ the hair :? .

    By 4 Now
  2. Ruzete

    Ruzete Well-Known Member

    that is very interesting about your family heirlooms, i had no idea about the hair art thing!
    my favorite heirloom is also from my grandma, its a gold bangel bracelet with her initials on it, she got it when she lived in thailand for a few years. So i love it but i don't want to break it so i rarely wear it.

    and maybe the most unusual is a quilt that my grandpa learned how to make from my gg grandma, during the war, it will be framed and set in our living room. i don't know if thats unusual or not... :?
  3. gypzy

    gypzy Well-Known Member


    How nice that you have a piece of jewelry w/ your grandmas initials, that makes it even more special.

    That's neat about the quilt that your grandpa made. Maybe a quilt in general isn't that unusual, but not to many men back then knew how to do simple sewing, especially quilts. Many people have quilts thier grandMAs made, but not from grandPAs. I think that's cool 8) .

    About the hair art, in the last century people would make wreaths with hair and put them in glass enclosed shadow boxes. These were usually done w/ womens hair, obviously because thier hair was longer. I saw one at an old historical house that had all different color hair; brown, red and blond w/ different shades of brown :eek: ! I've never seen it in jewelry, except the watch chain I have.

    By 4 Now
  4. brigitte

    brigitte Well-Known Member

    I have a Royal Doulton plate from the 1930s with plough horses on. It belonged to my grandmother, and she was determined when she was alive that it would go to me on her death. Not that I'd asked for it, she just wanted me to have it. Although I am not that fond of it, it reminds me of her, and I'd never get rid of it. It is in my sock drawer wrapped in several teatowels and cushioned by many pairs of socks so it is safe! There were several items that I have from her house that I brought home after her death, and keep them in a small box - little carved animals and bits of costume jewellery.
  5. Ceit

    Ceit Well-Known Member

    My parents have my great-grandfather's lard can from his butcher shop. It's actually very pretty, nice dark green with golden swirls on embossed metal (tin maybe??). And on the lid it says "LARD". :D
  6. kirzy777

    kirzy777 Member

    Oh heirlooms! I think there is nothing wrong with them. But don't you realise that it ccan ceate chaos in the family sometimes? I recalled a friend of mine whose family were disbanded just because of heirlooms. It promoted selfishness and greediness in their family. Funny, that their grandparents' rocking chair was the reason of all. Too bad that such things could create something awful unto someone else's lives.

    Kirzy Kate :shock:
  7. laylah

    laylah Well-Known Member

    I don't know about heirlooms, I don't have anything from before my grandparents's time, but we do like to to have small keepsakes or momentos after someone in the family dies. My sister, sister-in-law and myself all have some of mum's jewellry - my sister and I have a wedding ring each since mum was married twice - and other family members and close friends were invited to chose something of hers to remember her by if they wanted.

    It wouldn't be considered "good taste" in my immediate family to squabble over who was having what after someone's death, but I've also known of families who have fallen out over something more than one person thought they should have, or that is worth a lot of money. I guess that's where wills are useful, though even then there can be hard feelings!

    The oldest "heirloom" I have is my grandmother's bible, a small leather bound volume that she was awarded as a young girl for good attendance at church, and in which she has underlined her favorite passages. It's nice to read it, and share what had seemed important for her to mark in this way, and also nice that it was passed from my gran to my mum and then to me.

    Incidently,making hair into jewellry was quite popular here in the UK during the reign of Queen Victoria. It was often incorporated into brooches or pendants that would be worn in memory of the deceased.

    :) Laylah

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