Jewelry and family friction are not a new concept. Ask anyone who has gone through a family member passing away, and the issue of property distribution gets people tied into knots, especially when it comes to selling estate jewelry. Unfortunately, inheritance arguments are not the only time jewelry can cause issues in the household.
Here are ten instances where problems can come up and how they can be avoided:
1. Inheritance and Estate Planning – One of the most common problems, when a person gets older family members start assuming they have a future right to certain jewelry. This can all be cleared up very quickly by telling relatives up front if they are getting anything or not. That removes the confusion as well as any assumed claim on items.
2. Borrowing – People really shouldn’t lend jewelry that they don’t want to lose. If it’s something extremely important or valuable, never lend it out, period.
3. Dated Jewelry – Yes, jewelry can get dated due to design and style that becomes old versus newer ideas in jewelry-making. Unfortunately, it can also be insulting to those who think their jewelry is “up with the times.” Family members just need to practice better tact if they don’t like something on a relative, but for whatever reason relatives think they have carte blanc to be painfully blunt with each other and say things they would never say to someone else.
4. Investment – While most assume jewelry is for luxury and show, some do purchase it for investment purposes, to always have something that can be liquidated in the future if needed. However, relatives frequently don’t understand this concept and assume a person buying lots of jewelry is just wasting money. Taking a bit of time to explain an investment strategy can usually avoid a lot of snarky comments in the household, and they might even start investing themselves.
5. Updating Old Gifts – When people give jewelry as a gift, it usually comes with a lot of meaning. So if relative then turns around and replaces it for an upgrade, it might end up being offensive to the original giver. Sometimes, for family peace, it’s better to take the high road and just hold onto the gift, adding with a new piece instead of replacing.
6. Finding the Right Present – Family should be aware they don’t need to bend over backwards to buy exactly the right jewelry gift for each other. That’s what personal buying is for. Gifts should represent as much of a sincere best wish as possible, which should be good enough for any relative who is the recipient.
7. Sizing Up With the Joneses – Relatives should buy jewelry just to keep up with each other. That’s a fast way to lose money quickly.
8. Teenagers – Kids in their teens do dumb things. It’s part of growing up. Unfortunately, some are more stupid than others and may “borrow” a parent’s jewelry to then lose it, or worse, sell it for easy cash. Put the jewelry in a safe deposit box and avoid the problem altogether until the kids are adults.
9. Financial Problems – Family can get very upset when they find out jewelry had to be sold due to household financial problems. By explaining situations up front, however, the shock can often be diluted.
10. Losing Context – Lastly, jewelry at the end of the day is just property. No one should get so emotionally involved that an item become more important than one’s family and life. That can lead to bad decisions in emergencies as well as relationships.