Daniel O'Donnell (30) of no fixed abode, was nabbed after police found his fingerprints on the backdoor of his victim's house.
The burglar turned up at the 70-year-old woman's address on Leaford Avenue in Denton and offered to carry out work for £250 in November 2020.
O'Donnell offered to sort out her overgrown garden but tricked his way into her house after claiming her chimney was leaking.
But, while the pensioner was distracted in the kitchen, O'Donnell went into the house and stole two safes containing approximately £35,000 worth of jewellery and cash.
He also took her handbag, cash and bank cards.
These were all loaded into a green wheelie bin and dragged down her drive under the disguise that he was "moving it out of the way."
Officers received a report shortly afterwards after the woman noticed that her belongings - including £35k (€41l) worth of jewellery which she collected and repaired as a hobby for many years - had been taken.
Following a forensic examination, a fingerprint on the back door was found to be O'Donnell's and he was arrested on 23 April 2021.
The victim said: "This burglary has completely ruined my life.
"Not only has it taken away my sense of security in my own home and taken away any confidence I had about living on my own, but financially it has left me thousands of pounds down, without my hobby and only thing I enjoying doing - collecting and fixing jewellery.
"I've collected Jewellery since I was a child. This collection, although it was valued at tens of thousands of pounds, meant so much more to me. It was everything.
"I live alone and don’t have family but used my hobby to pass the time and to occupy me. I feel like someone who has been left with nothing and without any happiness."
O'Donnell was sentenced at Bolton Crown Court on 14 December after pleading guilty and was also sentenced for an assault and stalking a woman where he punched her around 30 to 40 times and continued to message and stalk her afterwards.
Rick Beswick, from GMP's Tameside district, said: "O'Donnell is a callous individual that not only assaulted a woman and stalked her - leaving her extremely fearful - but targeted an elderly woman in her own home.
"The elderly woman has been left shaken and upset since the incident occurred and all of the jewellery she's had and collected since a teenager - including family air looms - has gone at the hands of him.
"After we received the report, we started to piece the case together and have now brought him to justice and put him where he belongs - behind bars."