French Jewelry Box, ca. 1880
Appraised Value: $3,000
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (2:19)
Books & Manuscripts, Decorative Arts, Furniture, Pottery & Porcelain, Silver
GUEST: This came from the estate of Florence White. My father-in-law was invited to come to the estate, and to choose some items from the estate, and he then gave this to my husband and I.
APPRAISER: Well, what really struck me about this initially were these colorful plaques that are in the front here. They're made in a region of France called Limoges. Are you familiar with it?
GUEST: Yes. Probably more familiar with them for porcelain.
APPRAISER: Mm-hmm. These are actually enamel on metal, and the way you accomplish this is to take little bits of ground glass and you put it on a copper panel, and then they fire it at a very high temperature. And that's what produces these lovely translucent glazes. Now, they're not signed, so they would be considered sort of, more your everyday Limoges plaques. But what's in the interior here?
GUEST: It's a jewelry box.
APPRAISER: It's a jewelry box and interestingly enough, looking at her face here, she's looking mildly annoyed at the guy across the way. (laughs quietly) And it's almost like, I hope you brought me jewelry. (laughs) So, anyway, the rest of the box is decorated in a style that is very similar to what we refer to as the Eastlake Movement here in the United States. And this particular type of light-on-dark inlay just absolutely shrieks American Aesthetic movement. It's about 1875, 1880, is when the...
GUEST: Oh, is it that old?
APPRAISER: The exterior is ebonized, which is-- could be any wood, but it's just simply done in black. Now, if you notice on the top here, it appears to be missing something. It could have been missing just a plain gallery or it could be missing, say, a mirror.
APPRAISER: A mirror would make sense because it's a jewelry box. Now, it brings up an interesting point as to whether or not we should actually restore pieces like this. And if you look on the inside, you see a rather tatted interior of sliding shelves. Now, my feeling is that it's worth more as a restored jewelry box than it is just an object on its own. As an object on its own, it's probably worth at auction around $3,000.
GUEST: Oh, how nice.
APPRAISER: You put a couple more hundred dollars into it and you're probably talking, like, $4,000 at auction.
GUEST: Oh, wow. Thank you.
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