Top 6 Etiquette Rules for Inheritance Jewelry in 2024

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It always is a hard time for anyone who is grieving to go on with life as it was, and it can be particularly hard when you have some of the belongings of the deceased to remind you of the life lost. But we can all agree that this is not always the case, and there are too many times when the inheritance left behind is squandered, or families have been left squabbling over some pieces.

We don’t want you to find yourself in such kinds of heartbreaking and frustrating situations, which is why we’ll be sharing tips on etiquette around handling inheritance jewelry.

While this is a touchy subject, it is important to make sure that the jewelry left behind by the deceased is handled appropriately and with respect.

In this article, therefore, we’re sharing with you etiquette tips for handling inheritance jewelry, especially if you find that you don’t like the inherited pieces even when they are considered heirlooms.


Etiquette for inheritance jewelry

1.Splitting the inheritance jewelry

etiquette for inheritance jewelry

Handling matters related to the inherited jewelry starts with making sure that the splitting is done correctly, respectfully, and that everyone gets what they are entitled to. For this to happen and to allow for that deep expression of love for the departed, the first thing to be done is a review of the will.

The review is often led by the named executor, who has to honor any and all specifications attached to the inheritance of the jewelry. A release is to be signed by the executor as well as a way of indicating that the heir is now the legitimate owner of said jewelry and also to show the correct procurement process for the pieces.

Next, the jewelry is to be appraised by a registered valuer, preferably one registered by the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers (NAJA). You can also visit NAJA for a list of the local jewelry appraisers.

After the appraisal, the jewelry can be divided per the instructions in the will. In the absence of specific instructions, the division is to be done on an equal value basis, or they could be sold, then the money is equally divided. When splitting, the sentimental value of some of the jewelry options may be bigger or just as big as the monetary value of the pieces, and in such cases – without specific instructions on the will, you may have to seek legal advice to deal with the situation where an independent party will guide on who gets that piece.


2.Redesign the jewelry

etiquette for inheritance jewelry

If you inherited heirloom jewelry, but it’s just not your style, you could redesign the pieces of jewelry using gold and/or gemstones.

The rings set on platinum/ white gold, for example, could be transformed into a rose or yellow gold easily if you work with professional jewelers.

During the redesign, the ring could be resized then repaired with the original settings.

Alternatively, the gemstones could be removed and the ring traded in or refined with gold.


3.Adjustments or Tweaks to the Original Ring Design

etiquette for inheritance jewelry

This is the other simple thing you could do to the inherited heirloom ring or any other jewelry to make it more you.

The adjustments will also be ideal for you if the inherited jewelry doesn’t fit right.

So, if that bracelet doesn’t fit, you could have the jeweler add in two panels of engraved gold, for example, for a better fit.


4.Sell the jewelry to a jewelry reseller or an antique/vintage reseller/ store.

You may feel like doing this will erase the memories shared with the departed, but keeping the jewelry if you don’t like it or if it gives you too much grief is not an ideal solution. In these cases, we recommend selling off the jewelry. The good news is that the piece could be an antique or vintage piece, meaning you’d make some good money off it.

etiquette for inheritance jewelry

When selling the jewelry, you could either sell it at a flat rate based on the offer you receive, which means that you get paid immediately. The catch with this is that you will be offered a much lower price, especially if they sense that you just want to get rid of the jewelry.

On the other hand, you could work with the resellers that allow you to put that piece of jewelry on a consignment basis. The best part about this option is that the piece would attract a higher price, and you’d get more money off it than if you’d chosen to sell it at the first price offered.

Not sure what option works best for you? Well, you should take some time to research. But at the same time, it is important that you manage your expectations because the piece may be priced at a much lower price than you expected.


5.Sell the jewelry for parts.

etiquette for inheritance jewelry

If the inherited ring is made of a precious metal like 14k or 18k gold and also bedazzled with gemstones like diamond and rubies, you could sell it for parts.

This is a good option if you don’t like the jewelry and if you don’t want to pay for its redesign or resizing.

You will be happy to know that there is a booming diamonds resale market, especially for the bigger stones, thanks to the rise of eco-luxury where people interested in diamond jewelry are paying for diamonds that are pre-owned as opposed to buying jewelry made of newly mined diamonds.

That said, the chances and rate of success when it comes to the sale of the jewelry would be higher for you if you have the IGI or GIA certificate for the diamonds.


6.Sell/ List the inherited jewelry on an online marketplace.

The best part about the digital age is that you can sell just about anything online, and you will almost always get excellent deals for your pieces.

But just like the local stores, you need to research to find the online marketplace that offers you the best prices and also a marketplace that is reliable.

Learn about selling on eBay before you sell the jewelry, and you should also think of working with an online auction house or an agent specializing in the sale of heirloom jewelry.



Not sure how to handle inheritance jewelry?

Follow the tips and guidance above to ensure the qualms-free handling of such jewelry.

Read more useful tips here or here! See you guys in the coming post!

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