I Love The Tradition of Family Jewels, But I'm Starting A New Tradition! Posted on 30 Mar 18:03 , 22 comments

Olwen Thomson, well known Aspen, Colorado yoga instructor and Mountain Rescue team member, had inherited or acquired some "real" gems over the years!  She decided to stop storing the growing bag of odds and ends by having them evaluated by me.

Open That Box Of Wonders:

There was some real treasure that I found in her box!  Her grandfather had been a collector with an eye for fine pieces.  Then, there were the classic pearls, pins and more contemporary pieces that any family accumulates over time.  Each was loved by the one who had given it or received it. 

So, is it an acceptable protocol to break-up such a collection?  ABSOLUTLEY!  Olwen is a contemporary, active woman with kids who would never wear most of it.  After several conversations, ideas emerged as to how to proceed.   






I reviewed each piece, and there were beautiful sapphire ensembles, which were Olwen's favorites.  We decided to make the most of them.

The most unique Cartier originals were collector's items but not Olwen's style.  I advised her to sell them through Bonham's, and facilitated the sale.  This is one of the oldest auction houses in the world, established in 1793 and my good friend and colleague, Julie Segraves, is the Denver representative.  An auction of this quality is a very safe and secure way to sell valuables.  One lot sold very well to fund new creations Olwen is having me design and make for her. 

Reusing and Redesigning:

The beauty of this custom process is to make new pieces that precisely remount the size and high quality of her inherited gems, making the most out of them.  After our review, an out of date hinged bracelet was deemed the right one to break up and make new traditions.  Olwen decided that each of her kids will be given a new, matching heirloom ring.  I estimated there were enough high quality stones in the old fashioned piece to use for the project. I particularly liked the idea that these rings will be a bond between each family member.  Many families grapple with how to disseminate inheritance.  It isn't easy to stave off bad feelings.  Simply giving the eldest the first choice or the most expensive jewels seems out of step with today's values.  Olwen's sensitivity really captured the possibilities.

These rings are being made specifically to pass on sentimental family history with timeless style appeal.  Reviewing my drawings, Olwen chose an updated platinum three-stone ring design.  We made the first for her.  She approved it in wax form and then delighted in the transformation seen in the first finished ring!


She was thrilled.  So thrilled in fact, I made her a new band style ring to wear with it for a bold statement more her own.  What was locked away in a box has come out to be truly personalized, updated and enjoyed for years to come.  She is now enjoying finishing the rings as each child has a significant life event to celebrate by receiving their new heirloom.  Beautiful. Well done, Olwen.