Family heirlooms connect generations in deep, personal ways. They might not always come in shining, shimmering, or splendid conditions, but are laced with an invaluable history from eras we were not a part of. Typically, the first image that comes to mind when thinking about family heirlooms might involve slightly run-down, antiquated, and gaudy pieces. Even so, we hold on to them for plenty of good reasons. Sentiment and love are a few of them.
On the fashion front, the past two years have witnessed an onslaught of ever-evolving fads that sprung up during the pandemic. Keeping up with trends have seem to become overwhelming and impossible. Which begs the question: how do we stay in style?
Timeless pieces are a fashion-forward alternative t0 trends and also help us stay connected to our mothers through it all. From bespoke bracelets and rings to lucky charms and matrimonial barrettes, these heirlooms inject meaning, charm, and style into any ensemble. As such, it might be a good idea to keep the little trinkets and pieces from your mother that spark good old-fashioned joy.
This Mother’s Day, we ask Angie Chen-Tan and Sarah Bagharib to share their favourite heirloom pieces that were passed down from their mothers. Whether these pieces resonate with their personal style or were part of special, memorable moments, they are proof that what is old can truly be gold.
Chen-Tan on the significance of heirlooms
“All my heirlooms hold deep meaning for me because they carry so much history and hone in on the relationships between my maternal grandparents whom my mother and I were very close to. These pieces are not only symbolic, they are also filled with the love, creativity, and care that my mom has put in to continue their legacies.”
“The ring holds a piece of jade from my grandfather which he always wore. When he passed away, my mother repurposed the piece into a modern style with different semi-precious stones.”
“This jade bangle was once a full piece worn by my grandmother. When it broke, my mother felt that it was a waste so I decided to ask my mom to modernise the piece to make it whole again. My mother eventually passed the bracelet to me.”
“This enamel and gold bracelet is an antique piece in its original state. It was given to my grandmother from my great grandmother who then handed it down to my mother and now to me. The handiwork on the enamel is unparalleled.”
Bagharib on how heirlooms play a role in her personal style
“My personal style is usually understated. I am typically in white shirts and I match them with different bottoms like denim and patterned skirts. Sometimes, I pair the whole look with a statement necklace, coupled with the ring. The ring reminds me of my mother—someone who always taught me to remain rooted and grateful.”
“My mother got the ring on a trip with her girlfriends and they each left the jewellery store with a diamond ring in hand. She saw this olive-shaped design and fell in love with it—it is apparently in a buah kana (olive) shape. My mother and I also share a common love in structural fashion, clothes, and jewellery which keeps me feeling extra close to her. She gave the ring to me just before my wedding day. These days, I wear it to elevate my outfits and I usually wear it on special occasions like Hari Raya and weddings. I am also really excited to be able to pass this ring down to my daughter one day.”