A family heirloom is a treasured item families can pass down from one generation to the next. It can be anything from valuable antiques to simple photographs. Below you’ll find some ideas for the best items to pass down.

Digital and Paper Photographs

The world’s switch to digital only makes storing photographs and videos easier. While you can hire a company to digitalize all the pictures and videos if you choose, flipping through a photo album is nostalgic and reminiscent. Your family will love reliving memories.


This doesn’t mean saving every toy your child owned, but keeping a few that meant a lot to them is a beautiful idea. They could be toys from a memorable event, ones they can’t part ways with, or a toy future generations may enjoy. Asking them which ones they’d like to save is a great idea.

Fine China

Most people don’t have a set of fine china anymore—but if you do, then it’s instantly more valuable. Passing down something associated with great memories around the dinner table results in a great family heirloom. Whoever receives such a wonderful heirloom as fine china will be very lucky.


Phone calls and text messages quickly replaced sending physical letters, but if you have any, you should definitely save them. Letters accompany family stories that get passed down through the generations. They’re capsules of a different time and are therefore always fascinating, which is a great reason to pass them down to someone who will treasure them.


If you have collectible pieces of artwork your children have made, they’re definitely items worth passing down. However, perhaps keeping every single one wouldn’t be a good idea, so make sure the pieces you decide to keep are meaningful. That way, they’ll be worthy of being called family treasures.


Maybe it’s your grandfather’s baseball cards or a parent’s coin collection, but these should be kept in the family. Your kids can even add to them. Collections are fantastic windows to the past, whatever they may be composed of, which is why they’d make for a great family heirloom.

Sterling Silver

Vintage sterling silver is something people go to great lengths to collect and treasure. It can be mysterious, regal, and beautiful—all in all, something great to pass down. Additionally, sterling silver makes an excellent keepsake for the family because it’s high quality and long-lasting.


Many families have a special piece of jewelry that’s been passed down. It could be a grandmother’s engagement ring or a necklace filled with sentimental value. It’s the story behind the jewelry that makes it a treasure.


It’s more than just the recipe that makes it valuable. It’s the handwriting, the stains on the recipe card, the smell wafting through the house. A recipe can bring a memory to life instantly. If you have some precious ones, they would make fantastic heirlooms.

There’s no right or wrong family heirloom. It’s whatever your family treasures and inherits—whether that’s something new or old. If you’re stuck about what items would make good heirlooms, refer back to these best items to pass down for ideas.