Heirloom Jewelry - Neiman Marcus

Heirloom Jewelry

Regina Campbell

May 4, 2014


There are few things we cherish more than our mother’s jewelry. Passed from generation to generation, heirlooms are timeless regardless of how they are worn – even wearing rings as pendants is a favorite among jewelry devotees. And because vintage jewelry always has a story, its meaning goes beyond its value. What better time is there than Mother’s Day to celebrate treasures handed down from our moms? We asked some of our favorite jewelry designers and NM buyers to tell us about the special pieces that they have inherited or have been gifted by their mothers and how they’re carrying on this beautiful tradition with their own daughters.

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“Charm Bracelet that was my mother’s charm bracelet as a teenager. She grew up in Germany and Holland and collected many charms throughout her travels. I also have my great grandmother’s wedding band. I just got engaged, and my parents passed it down to me as my “something old.” You can see their initials and the year 1925 engraved inside.” – jewelry buyer Jennifer Wetzel

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“The diamonds in this necklace come from my great grandmother, grandmother and my mother. The top diamond was my great grandmother’s, the middle diamond was my grandmother’s and the bottom diamond was my mother’s engagement diamond. All of the accent diamonds are also from their wedding rings.” – jewelry buyer Jennifer Wetzel


“Unfortunately, a couple of years ago all of my jewelry was stolen – everything. Thankfully, I do still have a locket given to me by my mother with two pictures in it – one of me and one of my sister, Tracy. The scroll detail inside the circle on the front of the locket, to me, resembles the connectivity between my mom and sister, and that even though we live far apart, they are always here with me, inspiring me and pushing me to take the next step.” – designer Emily Armenta


“I was born in Russia and immigrated to Chicago at 4 years old. My family was forced to leave behind many sacred family heirlooms, including precious jewelry that had been handed down by previous generations. In the photo I’m wearing my mother’s necklace, which we weren’t allowed to take on our journey to America. The necklace was passed down to my mother from her mother, and this picture has always served as inspiration for my designs. I am now fortunate enough to design pieces for my own mother!” – designer Lana Bramlette

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“This necklace was made from my grandmother’s long strand of pearls, which was divided into four separate necklaces for each of her granddaughters. This necklace – and my desire to redesign a classical category to appeal to the modern woman – was my main source of inspiration for the Pearl Collection.” – Vita Fede designer Cynthia Sakai


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“My husband gave this to [my daughter] Arabella when she was born. Arabella adores the necklace, and she knows that it’s hers from her dad. I keep it with my jewelry and will occasionally wear it on special occasions. I, of course, ask Arabella if I can borrow it first! It’s very special to both of us. I have many memories of my mother and me sharing similar moments, and I’m so grateful to now have a daughter to enjoy these experiences with.” – designer Ivanka Trump

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“A few years ago, my mother gave me this beautiful 35-year-old black onyx pendant for my birthday. I have so many vivid memories of her wearing this modernistic necklace. She always wore simple, geometric accessories, and I believe that she influenced my own design aesthetic. I often wear this necklace layered with a simple gold choker from my collection, and I smile because they complement each other perfectly. That is the beauty of timeless jewelry.” – designer Jennifer Zeuner

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“As a woman that lost her mother at the young age of thirteen, I find there are certain material items that have taken on so much more than just being another piece of jewelry in my wardrobe. I have two items that are truly my mother. In the short time that I had with my mother, I remember her wearing a sapphire ring over anything else, even her engagement ring. So I practically begged my sister to let me have the ring while bartering that she could have Mom’s engagement ring.” – jewelry senior merchandise planner Kelly Parris

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“I was just recently reunited with the last piece of my mother’s jewelry that, for the past year and a half, I thought was gone forever. This particular piece I never saw my mother wear; it’s an ID bracelet that she was given on the Christmas of her senior year in high school. I’m honestly not sure what it is about this piece, but I feel so connected to my mother. Maybe it’s because it has her initials on it or the constant reminder that it’s there because of the tassel hitting my wrist.” – jewelry senior merchandise planner Kelly Parris

Ippolitas Antique Charm Necklace_Maya

“The inspiration for the new Ippolita charm collection has actually been in the works for many years, and it’s an extension of this charm necklace I’ve had my entire life. What started out as a small bracelet belonging to my mamma has grown to a 36” 18K chain with 70 charms. Each piece represents something or someone significant in my life – loved ones, travel memories and even fetishes. I recently sat down with the necklace and went through each charm one-by-one. “Helen,” the charm that started it all, which my mamma received upon her graduation from Miss Hall’s School in 1958 is just one of the amazing charms with a story or poignant moment in time.” – designer Ippolita Rostagno.

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My Tahitian pearls. When I first started working in the jewelry industry my father bought my mother a strand of Tahitian pearls. I have always joked with her to put my name on those so her granddaughter (my niece) did not get them after she was gone. When I got engaged my Mother gave me my own strand as an engagement gift to wear at my wedding. – jewelry buyer Lisa Haddow

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