Jewellery for keeps

Jewellery for keeps: what makes for an ideal heirloom piece?

We ask the visionary behind Black Betty, Kristin Weixelbaumer

“An heirloom jewellery piece is a meaningful object that belongs to a family and gets passed on through generations, “says designer Kristin Weixelbaumer.

“Why do some pieces of jewellery turn into heirlooms? Their value and beauty are crucial factors, but more importantly, the story behind them is key. Heirloom jewellery is symbolic of love, accomplishment and family.

“Heirloom jewellery traditions are almost invariably created on special occasions. Therefore, when you receive a memorable gift from a loved one you tend to value that object highly.

That special significance is also what makes us want to give our heirloom items on to others. We hope that the future generations will cherish these symbolic possessions as much as we do. In this way, heirloom jewellery creates a direct connection to our family history.”

Tips on how to invest in an heirloom piece

Be a gem

If you want a gemstone, the Big Five Gems: Diamonds, rubies, sapphires, emeralds and tanzanite – provide the most financial value. In terms of durability, sapphires and rubies are the best due to their almost diamond-like hardness.

Heavy metal

In terms of metal, gold or platinum are first prize. Silver is next best but is a much softer metal compared to the others.


When you purchase an item that you intend to pass on as an heirloom one day, consider its style and quality. It should be solidly made with first class materials that hold up to wear and tear. Finally, think timeless rather than trendy. Choose a classic style that will never go out of fashion.