Callous burglar, Leon Wright, broke into his victim's Doncaster home at around 10pm on the evening of February 24 this year, just hours after she had locked the property up to go on holiday.
Sheffield Crown Court heard how 38-year-old Wright gained access to the house through smashing the patio door, and once inside, ransacked the first floor of the property.
"He took a number of items of sentimental value, including her wedding ring, her engagement ring, and a locket, containing pictures of her deceased mother and father," prosecutor, David Wain, told the court.
The items stolen by Wright had a combined value of Â£2,000 - Â£3,000, and have never been recovered.
Through a victim impact statement read out in court, Wright's victim described how the burglary had affected every facet of her life.
"The items stolen were of significant sentimental value," said the woman, adding: "I had hoped to hand the locket down to my family. It's like the burglar has stolen my memories. How dare this person do this? I've worked hard for everything I have, and I feel like it's all been taken away."
Traces of Wrights blood were found near to where he broke in, allowing officers to trace Wright to his property in Grange Lane, New Rossington.
After not catching him on their first visit, officers finally arrested Wright at his home on April 5 this year, when they found him hiding inside an in-built wardrobe.
They also found Â£5,000 of stolen jewellery at the property, none of which had been stolen during the February burglary.
Wright pleaded guilty to charges of burglary and handling stolen goods at an earlier hearing.
Wright's partner, who was not named during the short hearing, was also charged with handling stolen goods in relation to the jewellery discovered at the home they share.
She was sentenced for this offence separately at Doncaster Magistrates' Court, the court heard.
Cheryl Dudley, defending, told the court that Wright had struggled with a heroin addiction for many years, and had not received the support he needed from drug services after being released from prison on a number of occasions.
She said: "His partner is also desperate to deal with her drug problem, and he recognises that in order to move forward, and be a more productive member of society they both need to address their drug problems.
Judge Roger Thomas QC sentenced Wright to 18-months in prison.
Judge Thomas told Wright: "There's only one person who can sort out your drug problem and your offending, and that's you. You have got to do it.
"Let's hope your partner can make some progress in your absence, and that you can return to a house where, she at least, will be free from drugs."