Gransnet forums


Sister sold family rings for scrap gold value

(47 Posts)
Thistledubh Mon 25-Oct-21 12:08:46

Over the years my very much younger and privileged sister has sold items given to her, both by myself and others. Many years ago I gave her a chest freezer I no longer needed, she was very pleased to get it but a few months later she sold it to a second hand dealer for £50. Life was quite hard for me financially at that time bringing up a young family but she never offered me a penny of the money.

Years have passed but I've never forgotten that particular incident. Now she has sold family rings, worth very little apart from sentimental reasons and particularly poignant because our ancestors had kept them safe and treasured them. The only value to her was the scrap gold and she didn't want them sitting in her jewellery box. So for very little money rings which have been passed down the female line for four or five generations have gone. She admits she didn't need the money but chose to buy costume jewellery instead.
There is a 17 year age gap as siblings and maybe this affected me because I am nearing the end of my life but I cannot express how angry I feel about what she has done. She has two sons but I have a daughter and granddaughter to whom they could have been passed to. Am I being unreasonable in feeling so strongly? I've told her how I feel. Her answer was that they were hers to do what she saw fit.

Shelflife Mon 25-Oct-21 12:15:48

I would be upset too! Why were the rings in her possession and not yours? Very sad situation when she got very little for them but were of great sentimental value. You have every right to be angry , if she didn't want them she should have passed them to you.

silverlining48 Mon 25-Oct-21 12:17:29

I suppose if they were hers ..... however I would be upset too. Whether valuable or not, family jewellery is special. You get very little if gold is sold for scrap. What a shame she didn’t think.

Thistledubh Mon 25-Oct-21 12:39:44

The reason I didn't have them is even more upsetting. I was 31, sister was 14 .... our mother had been feeling unwell, took us to her bedroom, opened her jewellery box and asked us to choose/share out her jewellery. She wanted to put her belongings in order. She had had a premonition, I told her not to be daft but a few weeks later, whilst holding my baby son, she had a cardiac arrest and died. She was 52 years of age.

Smileless2012 Mon 25-Oct-21 12:46:09

If she didn't want them, she could have got a value of their scrap value and asked you to pay it and then have given them to you.

I'd be upset too. You can't put a price on somethings can you.

crazyH Mon 25-Oct-21 12:50:47

Thistledubh, your sister is a very callous person. Family jewellery is very, very precious. I have done my Will, equally between my 3 AC, but most of my jewellery will go to my daughter, although I have earmarked one piece each for my (they will inherit their mothers’ jewellery anyway). Btw how did she get her hands on the jewellery? You are not unreasonable at all. I’d be mad. This is why we should all make Wills and Codicils, which are very clear.

sodapop Mon 25-Oct-21 12:54:39


If she didn't want them, she could have got a value of their scrap value and asked you to pay it and then have given them to you.

I'd be upset too. You can't put a price on somethings can you.

Exactly right Smileless sentimental value exceeds monetary value.

silverlining48 Mon 25-Oct-21 12:59:27

That is very sad Thistle. So you didn’t choose anything when your mum asked you both and your sister kept it all and sold it without discussing it with you ? Very hard to forgive.

eazybee Mon 25-Oct-21 13:09:51

You really should not keep tabs on gifts that have been given, either by you or someone else.
Your sister was given the items that she sold, freely and with no strings attached and they became her property, therefore she is entitled to do what she wishes with them.
You chose to give her the freezer; you could have sold it but didn't, she chose to sell it when it was hers. You cannot give a gift to someone and then expect a share of the money if they choose to sell it.
You had the opportunity to chose some of your mother's jewellery and chose not to do so, for whatever reason.
Now you are harbouring grudges over decisions you were both free to make. This is how family feuds start, if they haven't already.

Nonogran Mon 25-Oct-21 13:14:36

You are definitely not being unreasonable. She sounds very hard hearted, and mercenary. She has a point that they were hers to dispose of but it’s a shame she didn’t think of your daughter before doing so.
Why not buy a vintage item for your daughter and tell her it’s to be handed down? A second hand piece will be heavier, better made, better stones etc. Or, commission a unique piece which you & your daughter can design together? You can start a heritage again, from fresh.
I’m sorry for what’s happened. I would feel the same.

Thistledubh Mon 25-Oct-21 13:24:43

Silverlining48 ... thankfully I was able to have three of the rings in the box, they were shared equally. I have quite a collection of my own to pass on to my daughter but it would have been lovely to have been able to keep them altogether.

Nonogran Mon 25-Oct-21 13:35:31

Thistledub, given that you do have some inherited rings I’d let what your sister has done, go. Time will soften your vexation & after all, you do have other inherited items to hand down. Don’t fall out with your sibling over it. There’s already too much strife in the world.

Thistledubh Mon 25-Oct-21 13:38:32

easy bee... you sound like my sister. Hope it never happens to you ... but there again your head will rule your heart. Good thing we are not all alike. But thanks for your input nevertheless.

Baggs Mon 25-Oct-21 13:43:31

You gave your sister a freezer so then it was hers, not yours.

Baggs Mon 25-Oct-21 13:46:55

The rings can be looked at similarly. Your mother, if she did have a premonition, knew she couldn't take them with her where she was going so shared them out between you. What you have is yours; what your sister had was hers.

That's all there is to it. I don't think regretful, sentmental possessiveness is useful in this kind of situation.

Smileless2012 Mon 25-Oct-21 13:49:47

That didn't prevent the OP's sister from obtaining a scrap valuation and giving the OP the option to buy them back off her either did it eazybee.

I certainly wouldn't sell anything that's been in our family for generations without asking other family members, especially a sibling if they wanted the option to buy them.

Alegrias1 Mon 25-Oct-21 13:57:55

YANBU Thistledubh

I wouldn't be so worried about the freezer, but I would be very disappointed about the rings. I think that as we can tell from some of the replies here, some people are less worried about personal things that other people so your sister might not have considered that what she was doing was hurtful.

When my MiL died, there was only one thing in her house I wanted, a piece of ceramic, but her daughter also wanted it so of course as she was a blood relative, it was right that she got it. A year later I noticed it was gone from SiL's house, and wondered aloud where it was, to be told it didn't match her new decor so she'd thrown it away. sad

Germanshepherdsmum Mon 25-Oct-21 14:02:59

I agree Smileless but I think OP and her sister are very different. OP attaches sentimental value to things, as do I, but it seems her sister just doesn’t. Some people don’t. It would have been nice for the rings to have been offered to OP to buy back but perhaps that didn’t occur to the sister as she might have no understanding of sentimental value. It’s a great shame but I think OP should try to put this and the freezer episode (after all she gave, not loaned, it to her sister) behind her. Her mum wouldn’t have wanted the jewellery she gave them with love to be the source of acrimony between her daughters.

Smileless2012 Mon 25-Oct-21 14:04:15

Oh that's awful Alegrias why didn't she ask you if still wanted it?

Alegrias1 Mon 25-Oct-21 14:08:14

I just think some people don't realise Smileless2012, maybe Thistledubh's sister is the same.

Smileless2012 Mon 25-Oct-21 14:09:08

I'm sure you're right GSM in that their mum wouldn't want her D's falling out over this.

I'm just too sentimental and have so much 'stuff' I wouldn't know where to start if we decided to down size from our large house. Of course when I mention it to Mr. S. I always refer to it as our stuff.

Kali2 Mon 25-Oct-21 14:10:10

I'd be very upset too- I could tell a few similar stories, but I won't.

Germanshepherdsmum Mon 25-Oct-21 14:25:39

Yes Smileless, I have ‘your stuff’ too!?
When we downsized we sold, gave away a lot of his/mine/our stuff. Some of it had been inherited but we just couldn’t move it all here and as my only child is very sentimental I knew he would lumber himself with it all when I go and I didn’t want to put him in that position. We had a big loft to keep it all in, he doesn’t. In the event it was quite liberating disposing of things which never saw the light of day and the sentimental items I’ve kept won’t take up much space!

Thistledubh Mon 25-Oct-21 14:42:10

Thank you everyone for your insightful posts. It's good to have opposing perceptions. Clearly my issues with my sister run much deeper than I have been able to express until 'ring gate'smile. Yes, sometimes you need to keep your mouth firmly closed and bite your tongue to avoid family feuds. But, I've done that all my life .....until nowwink No regrets!

Hithere Mon 25-Oct-21 14:45:39

Past history defines the present

You are aware your sister sells what she can
Those rings may have not held the same sentimental value that you gave them

If you want to keep the family legacy and she has the item and you have the right to keep the item yourself, recover it yourself or you risk being sold again.

This seems to be a case of fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me