Jewelry: An Heirloom for the Ages

A few weeks ago, I attended an event celebrating fine art photographer and jeweler Monica Rich Kosann. Our host tasked us with bringing a personal heirloom to share and as someone without much of a family history, I found myself at a loss and arrived empty handed. To be honest, I simply couldn't think of an item in my home that I considered worthy of "heirloom" status. Not yet.

Monica Rich Kosann (right) and special guest Josie Natori (her heirloom was an amazing Buddha!)

But after meeting Kosann, and listening to her talk about her collection of modern heirlooms - luxe lockets and highly personal charm bracelets inspired by family and a sense of individuality and history - all I could think about was my mother, who passed away earlier this year.

My mom was the kind of woman who had accumulated a lot of "stuff" during her lifetime, but after cleaning out her home, I chose to keep only the items that evoked real memories for me. Those fell into just two categories: family photos and her favorite pieces of jewelry (below.)

While the jewelry my mom owned wasn't particularly valuable, the pieces above - the Live, Love, Laugh necklace gifted to her by my father...the tiny ruby and diamond heart ring that her father gave her as a child - had so many memories attached, I couldn't imagine leaving them behind. I'm glad I didn't, because now, when I find myself missing her, I slip on a piece of her jewelry and again (somehow) feel connected. To me, that defines an heirloom.

Shop Monica Rich Kosann jewelry at Bergdorf Goodman and learn more about her at The Fine Art of Family.