What’s the Prettiest Thing You Own — and Do You Use It?

So here’s a fun little question for today: What is the prettiest thing you own — and do you use it? Do you even SEE it on a regular basis? If no on the using/seeing, why not? (Variations on this could be your most valued item, e.g., your grandmother’s suit she made for herself when she started work; or the most expensive thing you own, e.g. your wedding dress.) Does the item have value for you for sentimental reasons? Did you know when you got the item that it would be have such a special place in your mind — or is it one of those things that you came to appreciate over time?

For my $.02:

  • The prettiest thing I own is probably an Alexis Bittar necklace — I still love the stinker but it often feels like it’s a little bit too much of a look, so I rarely wear it anymore. I’d also say my wedding dress is one of the prettiest things I own — the chantilly lace was perfect — but, while I see the wedding pictures often, I haven’t seen the dress itself in years. (I think my mother has it in her attic? Hmmn.)
  • The most valuable, irreplaceable item I own is my wedding guestbook, which I see on the shelf every day and flip through once every few years. It was a picture project that collected pictures of my husband and me over our lives up to that point, and it’s signed with lovely well wishes from all of our closest friends and family. It’s really hard for me to pick a single kid-related item to be sentimental about, in part because I’m sentimental about all of it, and in part because the things they use to death — like their blankets — are more theirs than mine.
  • The most expensive item I own, aside from my wedding rings, is probably my 30th birthday present to myself, a Cartier watch, which I rarely wear anymore because I like my Apple Watch. I’m still happy to see it in my jewelry drawer, I guess, and I’m still happy I bought it, but it’s just one of those things I rarely wear anymore.

How about you guys?

Comments

  1. Senior Attorney :

    Oh, this is a great topic!

    The prettiest thing I own is also the most valued and irreplaceable item. It’s a watercolor by my grandma, about 18 x 24 inches, of a turn-of-the-last-century bathing beauty on the beach, in an outfit similar to this: http://bunnatinedreams.blogspot.com/2011/06/beach-bathing-flapper-style.html . She painted it when she was 16 years old, and dated it July something 1919. It was in my parents’ house for the longest time and then when they moved to assisted living they gave it to me. I have it in my Woman Cave and it makes me so, so happy every time I look at it.

    She’s turning 100 years old next summer and I’m going to have a party for her!

    • Senior Attorney :

      “Her” = the bathing beauty. My grandma passed away some years ago at 99-1/2.

    • Anonymous :

      Wait, aren’t your parents in their 90s? How is your grandma only 100?? (Sorry for knowing a possibly creepy level of info about your family, but I remember you posting about your issues with your aging parents because we were having similar issues with my grandmother at the time.)
      The watercolor sounds beautiful!

      • Senior Attorney :

        Haha I realized it was confusing so I clarified above! Grandma was born in 1903 — some months before the Wright Brothers’ first flight. She passed away in 2002. It’s just mind-blowing to think what she saw in her lifetime.

      • haha I thought the same, and then realized “she” = the painting

    • Horse Crazy :

      That’s lovely! I have a few paintings by my great-aunt that are definitely the prettiest things I own – one of a barn in winter, and a few beach scenes. I feel the same way about them as you do about yours. She’s no longer with us, but I definitely think about her every day when I see them.

    • BabyAssociate :

      What a fantastic thing to have! Really great answer.

    • Anonymous :

      All I want is to be Senior Attorney when I grow up. Having a birthday party for a painting! I would never have thought of that idea but I LOVE it!

  2. Anonymous :

    To me it’s hard to compare clothing to art. The prettiest item of clothing I own is definitely my wedding dress, which is in a box in my basement. But I have some beautiful art too. A few things come to mind for my favorite art: a watercolor triptych I got in Rome of famous Rome scenes (Colosseum, Spanish steps, etc.), a small glass Chihuly-style flower (not actually Chihuly because $$), an oil painting I got in Santorini, and a watercolor of my wedding bouquet that a friend had made for me after my wedding. I’ve been trying to collect more art on my travels, because displaying my own travel photos gets repetitive (and is a tad narcissistic I think).

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I have never, ever, regretted buying art. Especially if there’s a story it will bring to mind, “we were wandering around after dinner in [place] and when we went into this gallery and a brother and sister had their paintings hung up next to each other” or whatever…

  3. Anonymous :

    This will totally out me

    but the prettiest thing I own is a reflective Louis Vuitton Petite Malle.

    some of its ‘prettiness’ is the utter uniqueness of it, coupled with the value (it’s easily like $4000 +) … but it really is a FUN party/etc clutch and I love rocking it

    it’s a crazy story how I came to it. We have a crazy-next-level-rich family friend who just handed it to me at my wedding. as a gift.

  4. Anonymous :

    My Amy Kuschel silk wedding dress is the prettiest item I own, or it was before I wore it. Unfortunately it is not in the same condition anymore. I had an outdoor wedding that got the underside of the train very dirty. The dry cleaner I used did no it get all the stains out (I went to my regular cleaner not a specialist), and now the dress has been hanging in my closet for years. What do you all think I should do with it? Options I have considered:

    Sell (pool of potential buyers limited by the fact that I am short and small)

    Keep for posterity

    Deconstruct and use fabric to make something – maybe a fabric envelope for storing other keepsakes.

    • Could you lop off the bottom and have it professionally dyed?

      • This! You will never sell it (too much of a pain) and keeping it for posterity will just mean it’ll sit in your closet for years and years in a bag. Even if the dye accidentally ruins it for some reason, you will have tried!

      • If you have a daughter or a freind, give it to her. This will be an incentive for her to consider MARRAGE.

    • Anonymous :

      My aunt offered to make a christening gown for my daughter from her own wedding dress, but she has been ill and was unable to follow through.

    • Not for everyone’s taste but a friend made a quilt out of her wedding dress.
      My mom just wore her dress around the house randomly until it fell apart. The style of it suited that purpose but, again, not for everyone.

      • Omg this image of wearing a wedding dress around the house cracked me up!

        • Gail the Goldfish :

          I have a friend who wears her’s around the house on her anniversary every year. I think I may have to start doing that. I also just want to throw a party where everyone wears their wedding dress or old prom dresses or whatever other fancy dress you own but never have a reason to wear.

          • I would love to come to that party.

          • Such a good idea!

          • A friend of mine had a party like that this year! She literally called it “Claire’s Fancy Party” and invited us to wear whatever fancy stuff we wanted an excuse to wear. We all brought food that we qualified as “fancy,” by whatever standard we wanted to apply. Memorable items included caviar, stinky cheese no one could identify, and those frozen chocolate eclairs. The whole thing was a blast.

          • Senior Attorney :

            So fun!

            I’m just having my second anniversary next month but I wore my (green) wedding gown for my first anniversary party and plan to wear it every anniversary, even if it’s just out to dinner.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      My silk Amy Kuschel wedding dress is also the prettiest thing I own! You could try getting it cleaned again. I am waiting for my dress to get back from a cleaner they recommended in San Francisco. I had a similar level of outdoor stains on the train, though I sent it in fairly quickly after my wedding. I will report back when I get it back (which should be tomorrow) as to how it looks, but from the pictures, it looks great. It is super pricey, though, but they will give you a free estimate.

      I also considered cutting off the train and having it dyed and using it as a gown for formal occasions, because mine is a style that could pass for just an evening gown with a few minor changes, but I think I’m too chicken to try getting it dyed.

      • I also married in Amy Kuschel & have been dragging on doing anything with my dress. What cleaner did they recommend if you don’t mind sharing?

        • Gail the Goldfish :

          Elegance Preserved was the one I used. They also recommended J. Scheer and I think they had a couple of other more local-SF ones on their website. Elegance Preserved and J. Scheer will ship. And by super pricey, I’m talking like several hundred dollars just to clean it, but I decided I’d rather pay it than risk my local cleaners messing it up.

    • Anonymous :

      Oh, my goodness, those gowns are perfection. Where was this designer when I got married a million years ago? And why doesn’t she do evening gowns so I can have one?

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        My hope is she adds evening gowns one day. The ready-to-wear line she has now is pretty recent, so hopefully she’s expanding!

        • I think she might be – when I got married she was definitely talking about doing evening gowns & they were getting ready to launch the RTW collection.

  5. Anonymous :

    My Amy Kuschel silk wedding dress is the prettiest item I own, or it was before I wore it. Unfortunately it is not in the same condition anymore. I had an outdoor wedding that got the underside of the train very dirty. The dry cleaner I used did no it get all the stains out (I went to my regular cleaner not a specialist), and now the dress has been hanging in my closet for years. What do you all think I should do with it? Options I have considered:

    Sell (pool of potential buyers limited by the fact that I am short and small)

    Keep for posterity (but seems unlikely it would be worn again)

    Deconstruct and use fabric to make something – maybe a fabric envelope for storing other keepsakes.

  6. This isn’t what you were going for — I can’t even think of something pretty and valuable that I own that I love. But the possession I have that brings me the most joy is my Peloton stationary exercise bike. Its in my room right next to my bed (because I don’t have anyplace else to put it.) I love the thing, I love the way it looks, I love riding it, I love having it.

  7. Anonymous :

    I have some wooden items that my grandfather made that are probably some of the prettiest things in my house. Some are purely decorative pieces (carved wall art), but most are more practical (a side table, my jewelry box) so I use them often. Sentimental value aside, they’re all things that would be quite expensive to purchase since he enjoyed using exotic wood and really detailed designs.

  8. Prettiest – Antique crystal and silver wine decanter that was a wedding gift. Don’t use it often because too afraid to break it.
    Most irreplaceable — toss us between a book of memories my grandparents gave me and my mother’s engagement ring
    Most expensive –My engagement ring. Wear it everyday.

  9. Heather N Harrell :

    I bought myself a custom brooch off etsy years ago when I got a new job as a celebration gift years ago. It was originally designed in gold and diamonds, but the artist recast it in sterling and rubies. I wear it almost every day, either as the brooch or as a pendant. I always get compliments on it. I bought myself a vintage Omega constellation watch when I went back to school because you can’t keep time with a cell phone during exams. These plus my honeymoon pearl earrings are my everyday wear items.
    I have little things that are emotionally precious to me. A small glass turtle on my desk that belonged to my mother, paintings done by my uncle, old family portraits, etc. I wonder what will happen to these when I’m old, we can’t have children and my nieces and nephews don’t care.

  10. Anonymous :

    My prettiest and most expensive are the probably the same item, my engagement ring. I love it far more than I thought I could love a material object. I wore it regularly until this spring when it slipped off my hand without my noticing. Fortunately it hadn’t been missing long and I found it but I’ve been afraid to wear it ever since, so it’s in a drawer for safe keeping.

  11. I honestly don’t know what the prettiest thing that I own is, or the most valuable for that matter (the most expensive is my JD & I use it daily, haha). BUT – I use pretty much everything I own all the time, whether it’s fancy or not. I just think life is short and what’s the point of having plates and cups you never use or jewelry you never wear, etc. Obviously, not everything is always appropriate but when I can, I use all of it.

    • Anonymous :

      Love this approach and try my hardest to live by it! Here’s my current stumper- I have several dozen glass punch cups and a matching punch bowl passed down to me by a relative. They have sentimental value, but I can’t figure out how to use them as much as they deserve. I don’t often have more than 3-4 people over (so no point to fill the punch bowl) and major holidays are still hosted by older family members, who all have their own glassware. Any creative ways to get more use out of these without damaging them? Pinterest would like me to use hot glue and other things that I’m afraid would ruin the cups for the future.

      • Candidate :

        When you have people over, you could use the bowl as a centerpiece and fill it with fresh or silk flowers, then just use the cups as regular cups?

      • Panda Bear :

        What about using the bowl as a table/sideboard centerpiece, filled with flowers or fruit? And bring out 3-4 cups for guests, even if they aren’t accompanying the bowl?

      • Anonymous :

        I make a banana pudding that would beautiful served that way. Mulled wine would be great around winter holidays.

      • Maudie Atkinson :

        You could also use the cups to store things in a bathroom or on a vanity. I have a couple pretty cut-glass containers on a shelf in my bathroom where I store cotton balls and swabs. Maybe they were originally candle votives? I’m not sure, but they’re about the size of punch cups, and they are pretty.

        • I have a beautiful Waterford crystal wine decanter. We don’t drink (no moral objection, we’re just not drinkers). I fill it with mouthwash and swig from it every morning and night.

      • Anonymous :

        I inherited one of these as well. I use the cups for cold soup in the summer — gazpacho anyone? The bowl I use as a centerpiece on buffet tables — fill with moss, or flowers.

    • AnonInfinity :

      Hear, hear!

      I used to save expensive bath products, or nice dishes, or whatever for special occasions. Then I realized I should actually use the things I love so they can bring me a bit of joy more often. So now this is what I do, too, and I really think it’s brightened my days.

    • Yes! My husband laughs at me because I sometimes eat pizza off our wedding china. It’s just SO PRETTY!!

  12. Anonymous :

    The prettiest thing I own is probably also the most valuable. When my parents divorced some years ago my mom kept the house and decided to sell it and downsize. She had a large collection of hand-knotted persian rugs and she gave me several she no longer had space for, including a huge area rug with a beautiful bird of paradise design on it. I don’t know exactly how much it cost but I suspect it’s worth more than the rest of my furniture and my car put together, by quite a bit. I walk on it every day and I think it’s beautiful every time I look at it.

    • Panda Bear :

      Oh… those sort of rugs make me swoon. How wonderful that you get to enjoy it every day!

  13. This will totally out me to anyone who knows me, but here goes anyway. The prettiest thing I own is my engagement ring. It is a diamond cocktail ring custom made for DH’s grandmother by her jeweler husband. It’s sort of a swirl pattern, and none of the diamonds are very large, but based on commentary of jewelers who have cleaned it for me, they are of extraordinarily high quality. If I wear it on a sunny day when I drive, it sends disco ball like glimmers all over the inside of the car. The most irreplaceable item I own is an eight foot dining room table, made from walnut that grew on my grandparents farm, and made for me for my 30th birthday by my father. An engineer by profession, when he retired it came to pass that he was also an artisan quality woodworker. My most expensive thing I own is, as someone else noted, the JD hanging on the wall. I paid for it myself.

  14. Panda Bear :

    Hmm, so interesting! It’s hard to nail down a single most valuable/irreplaceable item, but one thing that’s definitely up there for me is also my prettiest – an art deco gold and sapphire ring. It was the first piece of fine jewelry I bought for myself, and the first time in my young adult/professional life that I was financially secure enough to spend what felt like “big” money on something unnecessary, but beautiful. I wear it a few times a week.

    Besides house/car, my most expensive item is probably my engagement ring. Which could also make the cut for prettiest/most valuable, and gets worn almost every day.

  15. Baconpancakes :

    Echoing others, my most expensive possession (other than our house, which we co-own, so not sure if that counts), is my master’s degree.

    My most expensive/prettiest/favorite item possession is my engagement ring, which I designed using a family center stone and an assortment of blue gems. I designed it after some Bario Neal asymmetrical cluster rings I loved, and every time I look at it, I am shocked that I possess such a perfect and gorgeous thing.

  16. The most valuable thing I own is my great, great grandmother’s wedding band, which is a simple cheap gold band that is inscribed with a stranger’s initials because they bought it from a pawn store since that was all they could afford. It is virtually worthless in monetary value, but priceless to my family because it has been passed down so many generations.

  17. Love reading these – they’re so interesting!

    My most expensive possession (other than my condo and my car and my degree) is my Parlee Chebacco gravel bike. I love that bike and ride it weekly if not more often. This will totally out me to some people, because it got a lot of play on cycling social media, but earlier this year I thought my bike had been stolen from a race (it went on an accidental trip to Texas, long story) and I was devastated. In terms of personal value, though, not tops my dog. It feels weird to call him a possession, but technically I do own him and he is my #1 adventure buddy/sidekick.

    The prettiest thing I own is probably my grandmother’s cameo. I love it but it is a bit girlier than my personal style.

  18. anonforthis :

    I swear I am a woman, but the prettiest and most expensive thing I own is a baby-blue M3 with gold rims.

    The most valuable in terms of sentimental value is my wedding band and engagement rings, which was my grandmother’s, which was her grandmother’s. But the car is still prettier in my book.

  19. My most irreplaceable item is a church pew that was from my childhood parish that my dad procured and refinished when the church was replacing all the pews. It fit in with our decor much better when we lived in our older, more historic home but I could never dream of getting rid of it as it is such a rustic and meaningful piece.

  20. History buff :

    I really adore our house (it’s pretty and the most valuable thing I own!). 200 years old and brimming with character – you can literally feel the energy of the families who lived here previously (we are only the 5th family to live here) and all the love this house experienced. The previous owners have passed down a box of pictures, documents, letters, telegraphs (even a marriage license from the 19th century!), and 2 journals (one written by the daughter of the the first owner who built the house) and I regularly sort through the box to get distracted from work on late nights at home. Just this year I decided to professionally frame some of the old documents to display for others to see (incl. a property tax receipt from 1822 for $19!) . Really value the history and stories!

    • Candidate :

      I love my house too. I was thinking about this all last night, trying to figure out the prettiest thing I own. My engagment ring? Pretty, and I love it, but not the prettiest jewelry. My silk maxi dress? Also pretty, but not the most loved item. I kept coming back to my house, and how much I love it.

      Mine is not as old, but dates back to the post-war boom (1947). We are the third family to own it. I’ve made some strong design choices, including a yellow kitchen with purple trim, and it just makes me happy. Maybe it’s garish, but I love it and often get comments about how cheerful it is.

      Sure there are things I would change (I’d love to re-do the upstairs bathroom, but ideally we’d reconfigure it to have a bigger shower and two sinks which would take extensive plumbing work), but it makes me happy to come home to this house.

  21. My piano probably. ~ 100 year old Steinway grand, mahogany color.

    My wedding ring is very pretty too.

  22. Anonymous :

    For me, it is my grandmother’s sapphire necklace. My grandfather gave it to her when they were just married and she let me borrow it for my wedding. When she died, it was the one item I wanted. I never wear it though! I like the idea above of having a fancy party just for fun and wearing it with my wedding dress or my old prom dress haha!

  23. Maudie Atkinson :

    The most valuable (to me) and certainly most irreplaceable thing I own is my dining room table. It belonged to my great grandparents. A few years ago, we found a woodworker who did some work on it to make it “fit” better–physically and aesthetically–in our house. He refinished the wood and took what was a drop-leaf table with more leaf inserts and a trestle bottom and created new, sparer legs and frame. We lost the ability to drop it down to a smaller footprint, but in our pretty spacious dining room, we didn’t need that. So, we still have the same table top my grandmother (born 1925) grew up sitting at with her five brothers and sisters and their parents, but now it looks a little more modern (ie., more my husband’s style) and “fits” better in our house.
    I found the whole project (and the result) to be quite a lovely metaphor for love and marriage, actually. I love thinking about how many people have been loved and fed sitting around that table, and how many more will be for years and years to come.

  24. antique ring :

    Most irreplaceable thing I own- I love this story. My wedding ring is my husband’s grandmother’s. It’s a beautiful, detailed beaux-arts design with Russian Diamonds (from back when you could get those). Detail all the way around the band. No way to resize this design- it is what it is.

    My mother-in-law received it after her death, and was really heartbroken it was way too small. One night while talking about the upcoming wedding, she pulled it out and asked me to try it on- perfect fit!

    No way I could ever replace this ring, I’d be heartbroken to lose it. My MIL was so thrilled when it was exactly my size.

  25. Anonymous :

    The most expensive thing I own is my engagement ring. It was my husband’s great-grandmother’s, and his grandmother and mother also used it before it was passed on to me. Before we were married I wore it all the time, but now it is in our safe and I only wear the wedding band. It was a bit flashy for me, and I would be devastated if I lost it.

    The most beautiful thing I own is a Gucci Flora silk scarf. When I saw it my mouth hit the floor I was so stunned by its beauty, but I’ve since regretted buying it. I’ve tried to wear it a few times, but none of the outfits are really “me.” I’m thinking about having it framed and just hang it as art.

  26. Anonymous :

    The most expensive thing I own is a B&B Italia bed. It is a gorgeous piece of furniture – and obviously gets a lot of use. I kept lusting after it for many years and finally made the plunge this year – no regrets so far.

  27. Vicky Austin :

    The most irreplaceable thing I own is the quilt on my bed. My mom’s mom was originally from Wisconsin, and her Swedish mother and grandmother carded wool to make two huge quilts covered in a blue fabric with small amber flowers. My grandma took these quilts with her when she married, and they accompanied my mom and her siblings to college in Minnesota, Montana and Iowa (and I remember one of them kicking around in our car trunk for years as a kid in Idaho). When my grandmother died last year, my mom took home the other quilt and then sent them to a restorer for quilts of this kind in her mother’s hometown in Wisconsin. The restorer emailed my mom and said that there happened to be enough wool to make three quilts, so would she like to have three? Considering that she had three daughters, yes, she would. So now my sisters and I each have a beautiful wool quilt, recovered to look more modern, with wool that has been all over (including following my sister and me to Utah and North Dakota) and is perhaps over 100 years old now. It’d be the first thing I grabbed in a fire.

  28. My prettiest, most valuable and most irreplaceable things are all the same-my dining room set inherited from my great grandparents and purchased as their wedding present in Germany in 1908. Made of burled walnut and carved. The buffet has an integrated marble cutting board.

    Second prettiest is a painting I commissioned that hangs over my couch.

  29. Yup i can own my prettiest thing. And i am happy to have my prettiest thing. Thanks for sharing this post

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