Luxury: How Old Money Staples Have Evolved Into New Money Traditions

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Luxury can be defined as a state of vast comfort with a posh lifestyle. It is definitely something that has stood the test of time, and is still prevalent today.

“Old money” can be looked at as generational wealth, meaning royalties were passed down from generation to generation. This term is used when families owned land, or were successful in an industrious field. “New money” is when your fortune was recently achieved through your own efforts and not because of an inheritance.

There are quite a few old money traditions that are seen as symbols of status and wealth that are still relevant today. We’re going to look at these traditions, and see how they’ve evolved from the past to the present.

Watches

In the 17th century, watches could be found in the pockets of wealthy men. A high quality pocket watch spoke of their social standing wealth, and education. A common saying back then was that you could tell what kind of gentleman a man was based off of the pocket watch he carried. Suits and coats were even tailored to accommodate the pocket watch, so if you had the luxury to pull a pocket watch out of a tailor made suit or coat, you were considered to be a man of great importance.

The type of metal used in the watch spoke volumes too. Wealthy men wore pocket watches composed of gold or platinum. These timepieces could be passed down from generation to generation. As time evolved, watches started to come out of pockets and on to the wrists of wealthy individuals. They started to become trendy with women too. Even today, although watches have evolved tremendously, the style and metal of a watch still showcases the wealth of a person. 

There are different brands of luxury watches that symbolize wealth. You’ll see watches that look very modest in design, but are very expensive, due to the brand. Today you can find watches draped in diamonds, which is a feature that was unheard of in the days of luxury pocket watches.

The link between watches and wealth is still apparent today. So it’s safe to say that the evolution of the watch has definitely come a long way, but as a symbol of wealth and privilege, it remains timeless.

Bedding

Bedding may seem like an insignificant aspect of old money and new money, but rich people of old only allowed the finest of fabrics and textiles to grace their bedchambers. Sheets made of silk and other expensive and exotic materials were common amongst the wealthy.

The same applies for new money. Sleeping in a bed of luxury consists of plush pillows, blankets, and duvets, transforming the bed into an opulent sleeping oasis. There’s a satisfying feeling that comes over you, whether back then or today, when you work hard and you’re able to enjoy a night of relaxing. That aspect alone can make anyone sleep better. 

Dressing your bed in upscale linens makes you wake up even more refreshed and ready to live another fabulous day. It was definitely a good idea to continue this old money bedding tradition into today’s society.

Jewelry

Jewelry is a tell-tale symbol of wealth, and diamonds are one of the staples of the rich and powerful. Whether you’re being very modest about it or flaunting it for the world to see, jewelry is, and always will be the ultimate representation of status, wealth, and value.

From old money to new money, jewelry has been admired and desired for centuries. A diamond locket, dating back four generations, would be an old money tradition. A diamond, right hand ring you purchased yourself, due to a recent increase in your investment, would be a new money tradition.

With jewelry, the stone, color, size, and shape all spoke to your level of wealth, both then and now. You didn’t see too many people wearing expensive jewelry who could barely afford to feed their family, and you don’t see that today either. 

Chandeliers

Chandeliers are light fixtures that have symbolized class and wealth for centuries. Believe it or not, there was a point in time where chandeliers were used only for its purpose, and that was to light a room.

With old money traditions, chandeliers could only be found in formal living rooms and dining rooms. Having these beautiful light fixtures serenade the ceilings of a home was definitely a symbol of wealth and class. 

The time it took to even create a chandelier was very extensive, which is what made them very expensive. Having a chandelier in your home was a tell-tale symbol of wealth, because only the wealthiest of individuals could afford them. Homes that had multiple chandeliers in their home were considered to be the most noble. 

New money traditions have brought the chandeliers out of the formal common rooms and into the bedrooms. Adding a chandelier to a bedroom adds elegance, class, and even romance. Aside from your bed, your chandelier would be the statement piece of your room that your eyes will immediately be drawn to. 

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