Change Family Heirlooms into Trendy Fashion Pieces

Passed down from generation to generation in your family, heirlooms have sentimental and historical value. They remind you about past family members who you may have never met and the type of influence they had on the entire family that shaped who you are today.

antique pocket watch

Family heirlooms are slowly making their way into the latest fashion trends. Instead of having that heirloom stuffed in a box in the attic as it gathers dust, why not incorporate it into what you’re wearing today? It gives new life to your heirloom, shows how much you honor and care about your family and adds eye-popping appeal to your clothing.

What’s Considered A Family Heirloom?

A family heirloom is anything that’s been saved by an ancestor as it’s passed down from parent to child for generations. The item can be handmade or have a unique quality the ancestor believed could be of monetary value in future years. Common types of heirlooms include:

· Coins: rare coins no longer minted, silver coins, gold coins, collector’s coins

· Jewelry: pendants, brooches, gemstones, necklaces, cameos, wedding and engagement rings, religious jewelry such as rosaries and Jesus fish

· Photographs: family photos, war photos, special event photos

· Letters and Documents: love letters, official government documents, long-distance letters, war documents, maps, manuscripts

· Clothing and Fabric: handcrafted quilts, Oriental rugs, wedding dresses, drapery, knitted scarves, crocheted crafts

Types of Heirlooms Used For Fashion Statements

vintage pearls


Jewelry is the most common family heirloom used as a fashion statement. Often, you only have to change the jewelry’s setting if it’s tarnished or broken. You can easily change a ring into a necklace, a pendant into a ring and a brooch into a hairpin.

By removing gems from jewelry, you can have them placed into the new metal setting of your choice. You can also take metal jewelry such as a Jesus fish and place it into a brooch to make a trendy fashion statement.


Ever thought of replacing those missing buttons on your jacket with small coins? Coins can be added as decorations on purses or as cuff buttons on men’s shirts. Coins can also be used as jewelry accessories like brooches and pendants.

To mount coins on fabric, the best way is to create holes through the surface and sew the coin in place. Carefully decide on which coins you want changed as not to ruin those that have a monetary value.

Fabric and Clothing

If you have the sewing skills and the time, you can take old family heirlooms of fabric and clothing and change them into fashionable dresses and shirts. The latest fashion trends of the season are bold colors, pastels and crochet pieces. Quilts, crocheted shirts and wedding gowns that were family heirlooms can be combined with vivid fabrics to make unique casual and eveningwear.

Before Changing Family Heirlooms into Fashion Statements

You’re probably now excited to dig through those boxes in your grandmother’s attic to find family heirlooms and change them into unique fashion statements. But before you do this, make sure other family members are fine with the planned changes you’ll make. Resentment and hard feelings can last a lifetime when people squabble over family heirlooms, so get the okay from everyone first.

You’ll also need to find out if the items have any monetary value. Jewelry and coins can become devalued if the settings are changed or the surface is marked. Contact a reputable jeweler or coin appraiser to study the item to determine its value.

Make a Trendy Appearance

Giving new life to a family heirloom can honor the memories of loved ones who are no longer with you. These heirlooms are to be enjoyed by family members, not sit in a box gathering dust. If you can change a family heirloom so it can bring happiness to yourself and to future family members, making the heirloom into a fashion statement is a worthy endeavor.

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