"Heirlooms connote the opposite of fleeting fashion," says Rachel Koffsky, Auctioneer and International Head of Handbags at Christie's. "Instead, the very idea embodies a piece you'll have throughout your life, passed down through the generations," she says. An heirloom can mean something different for everyone. Still, expert craftsmanship, timeless designs, and high-quality materials are unifying factors ensuring an heirloom piece can be worn and shared in the modern world for years. Ahead, signature modern-day pieces to invest in now that will withstand the test of time for future generations.
"There's much research that can go into purchasing a special, luxury handbag," says Anthony Barzilay Freund, 1stDibs' Editorial Director and Director of Fine Arts. "But the investment is well worth it," he notes. Owning and wearing a bag that marks a moment has sentimental value and melds the past with the present. That bag may have only been made in limited quantities, or the designer was symbolic of the era, which makes a unique, emotionally charged accessory even more special.
The Row Sofia Crossbody Bag in Box Leather
Khaite Lilith Leather Evening Bag
Savette Symmetry Pochette Suede Tote
Jewelry is among the most iconic heirlooms to pass down through the generations. It can offer much information about the original owner— from symbols to milestone moments to special bonds. "Jewelry is such a personal thing," says DiSante. Often, modern heirlooms are part of an empowering story of women buying unique pieces for themselves—beloved and enjoyed— and continued through the generations.
Van Cleef & Arpels Zodiaque long necklace Scorpii (Scorpio)
Van Cleef & Arpels Zodiaque long necklace Virginis (Virgo)
Van Cleef & Arpels Zodiaque long necklace Cancri (Cancer)
"Brooches are a bit more traditional and a little bit of a generational piece, but I think there are modern ways to wear them to make it interesting," says Christie's specialist Jackie DiSante. They're appealing to a younger generation for their whimsy, colorful designs, and can have a transformative effect on any outfit," she says.
Saint Laurent Floral Silk Brooch
Van Cleef and Arpels Lucky Spring Clip
“Silk scarves have a long history in the annals of fashion,” says Freund. “In the 20th century advances in production made silk scarves more commercially available as a fashion accessory,” he notes. “Not only are they like wearable artwork, they are easy to collect and store,” says Freund,” And will add a touch of elegance to an outfit or handbag,” he says.
DRIES VAN NOTEN Green & Beige Printed Scarf
Saint Laurent Printed Silk Scarf
Hermés Les Anamorphoses Scarf 70