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Redditor Balks After Late Brother’s Widow Demands $1k If They Want Heirloom Necklace Back

Woman holding a diamond necklace with a heart shape.
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In today’s modern age, there are many different ideas and definitions of what constitutes “family”.

Most would agree that all it takes to become part of someone’s family is being loved.

With that in mind, sometimes, even common blood and marriage will not make you part of someone’s family.

As for many reasons, some people are just never accepted.

The sister-in-law of redditor ransomnecklace was on the outs with her in-laws, after she refused to return a precious family heirloom following the death of her husband, the original poster (OP)’s brother.

The OP’s sister-in-law eventually did have a slight change of heart in returning the heirloom to the OP’s family.

On one condition, which the OP flatly refused to accept.

After being scolded by several members of their family for doing so, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole (AITA), where they asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for refusing to buy back a family heirloom?”

The OP explained why they refused to agree to their sister-in-law’s condition to returning a coveted family heirloom:

“My brother Jason died three years ago.”

“His widow Laurie, refused to return a necklace he had given her which had belonged my great grandmother.”

“The necklace wasn’t expensive or really worth anything except sentimental value and we had wanted it to stay in the family (Jason and Laurie didn’t have any children that the necklace would be passed down to).”

“Nevertheless, Laurie refused to give it back.”

“Fast forward to a few weeks ago.”

“I get a message on social media from Laurie asking to meet.”

“She comes over to my house, and explains that she’s had a very hard time since Jason’s death and now is in a significant amount of debt (which they were even when he was alive).”

“She then says she would be willing to sell my great grandmother’s necklace to me…for a thousand dollars.”

“The necklace, if an appraiser ever had a look, would say it’s worth about $150.”

“I told Laurie she was out of her mind to come and attempt to extort money out of me with a piece of my family history (among other things that were not as child-friendly).”

“Eventually she left.”

“My mom is pretty angry I didn’t buy back the necklace.”

“She says I should have at least tried to negotiate with Laurie and that standing on principle was stupid.”

“My dad (the necklace came from his side of the family) agrees with me.”

“The thing is, I made peace with not having the necklace.”

“I have something to remember that particular piece of family history (a ring from the same jewelry set), and as sh*tty as I found it that Laurie wouldn’t return it, it felt even more slimy that she held it to ransom all these years later.”

“The thought of her profiting from what I consider a misdeed in the first place doesn’t sit right with me.”

“However, my aunts have now heard about it and are on my mom’s side.”

“So now I’m wondering if I made a bad decision.”


Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation, by declaring:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

While just about everyone agreed that the OP was not the a**hole for refusing to buy back their great-grandmother’s necklace, the OP and their family did not receive a resounding amount of sympathy from the Reddit community.

Some agreed with the OP that Laurie was clearly trying to extort the OP and their family.

The OP clearly did the right thing in refusing to buy the necklace back for such an exorbitant price, even if some agreed that Laurie had no obligation to return the necklace, as it was given to her.

“Well, your aunts and mom can gather up a thousand dollars and contact Laurie before she sells it somebody else, if it’s so important to them.”

“They better hurry, though, Laurie seems eager to sell.”

“Maybe they can even bargain her down.”

“But it’s not your problem.”

“NTA.”- YouthNAsia63

“First, it was well within Laurie’s right to refuse to ‘return’ a necklace that she was gifted from your side of the family.”

“It was hers the moment her husband gave it to her.”

“Second, this came from your father’s side of the family and your mother and her sister should not be able to sway your opinion is the least.”

“Your father is fine with your decision.”

“I might have asked to have it appraised and then decide.”

“But that is me and not you.”

“You made peace with not having it, which is great.”

“NTA.”- Aggravating-Pain9249

Others, however had trouble sympathizing with the OP and their family for expecting Laurie to return the necklace, and even though they felt it was wrong for Laurie to try and sell it back to them, they also pointed out how the OP and their family seemed to be ignoring the fact that Laurie was in need of help.


“Your brother gave his wife a gift.”

“He died.”

“It’s got a lot of sentimental value to her, too.”

“By asking for it back, esp. at a difficult time, you emphasized that she is no longer a part of the family.”

“That must hurt.”

“Asking to sell it to you may have cost her a great deal, pride-wise.”

“Take up a collection among your mother’s relatives who want it back, and give it to her.”

“I’d say you could all help her out of the goodness of your hearts, but…this is one way for you to get the necklace back.”- Euphoric_Travel2541

Then there were those who agreed that Laurie had no obligation to return the necklace, but the OP was right to refuse to buy it back, feeling that there were no a**holes in this particular situation:

“The necklace is hers.”

“It was rightfully your brother’s, and he gave it to Laurie, his wife.”

“And it’s not even like they got divorced; he passed away.”

“And his body is hardly cold in his grave when his sister goes up to his widow and says, in effect, ‘now that my brother is dead, you’re no longer a part of this family, so give me back the jewelry he gave you!'”

“So you’re totally an a**hole for that, but that wasn’t your question.”

“As far as the current conflict is concerned, I’m thinking NAH.”

“It’s perfectly within Laurie’s right to upcharge for an item, knowing the potential purchaser places sentimental value on it (look at all of the comic books and baseball cards that go for thousands of dollars).”

“It’s not ‘ransom’ since, as I said earlier, the necklace belongs to Laurie; she didn’t steal it from you!”

“And if you’re thinking ‘but families shouldn’t treat each other this way’, please see my first paragraph: you lost all rights to be considered family by Laurie, so this becomes a strictly commercial business transaction.”

“As such, it’s perfectly within your rights to refuse the item at the price offered, and you’re not required to d*cker for it.”

“If your mother wants the necklace back, she can buy it from Laurie herself.”- SamSpayedPI

Others found the OP and their entire family to be the clear a**holes, pointing out how expecting Laurie to give the necklace back essentially told her that they didn’t see her as part of the family any longer and also seemed to ignore and not care that she was in financial troubles.

“I’ll just say it.”

“You and your family, YTA.”

“The entire lot of you who came down with a huge stinking case of the ‘I wants’ to a widow.”

“Barring a legal document that says otherwise, that necklace is hers and not ‘the family’.”

“She had absolutely every right to keep the necklace and even try to sell it.”

“She basically gave you a right of first refusal.”

“Furthermore, by your demands, you basically told Laurie that she’s no longer part of the family.”

“With a strong subtext of she never was a part to begin with.”

“I’d say it doesn’t matter how everyone is acting now because the initial demands of a widow are more important.”

“As someone who had to deal with the ‘I wants’ when a loved one died, this attitude really pisses me off.”- Creepers58

“You managed to do the right thing by still being TA at the same time.”

“You act like your brother’s widow stole an heirloom that she was given.”

“It is hers.”

“It is legally hers, it is morally hers, it is rightfully hers.”

“From your post, it sounds like as soon as your brother died, your family no longer considered HER to be family.”

“You not only turn her back into an outsider but hound her about giving back something her husband had given her because she didn’t ‘deserve it’ anymore.”

“How long did you even wait before starting to ask her to give back things she’d been given that showed she was part of the family?”

“Would you have asked your brother to give something to another family member if she had died and he wasn’t going to remarry?”

“YTA and this reads like your entire family is too.”

“She not only lost her husband but half her family too (if you at least pretended to accept her before).”

“The thousand dollars is probably your AH tax.”

“She is hard up enough that she has to consider relinquishing a precious piece of her husband, and you just want to whine that she dares keep it otherwise.”- SubarcticFarmer

It’s a bit hard to understand how the OP and their family think Laurie should give back a necklace that was given to her.

Something that might be a family heirloom but is also now a memento from her late husband.

Even if Laurie trying to sell the necklace for an exorbitant price is in questionable taste, what the OP and their family seem to be missing is that she was doing so to solve her financial problems.

Something they will hopefully realize sooner rather than later.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.