Diamond & Pearl Necklace, ca. 1905
Appraised Value: $250,000 (2008)
IMAGE: 1 of 0
Appraisal Video: (53:20)
GUEST: It was my grandmother's. Her family is from Atlanta. This was late 1800s. And she married my grandfather, they moved to New Jersey, and I know that my father inherited it from her and then when he married my mother, it was hers, and then when she passed away in 1988, I inherited it. All we know is it's probably late 1800s, so...
APPRAISER: And you've owned it since 1988...
APPRAISER: And you had it appraised.
GUEST: Right, at that time, for $10,000, was what they told us when I inherited it.
APPRAISER: And since then, when did you wear it?
GUEST: I've worn it for my wedding, and other than that, it lives in the safe deposit box.
APPRAISER: You've only worn it once?
GUEST: (laughing): Yes, unfortunately. My sister has worn it, too.
APPRAISER: Your sister wore it for her wedding.
APPRAISER: You know, with $10,000, I'm sure you assume, and correctly so, these are diamonds.
GUEST: Right, yes, we do.
APPRAISER: And the pearls are small, natural Oriental pearls. The metal is platinum.
GUEST: Oh, really?
APPRAISER: The inside of the box has embossing in the center of it, and the company name is Phelps & Perry of Maiden Lane, in New York. Maiden Lane still exists, and it's in the Wall Street stock market area. And this is an area that's always been populated with jewelers servicing the stock market industry, where men made and lost fortunes.
APPRAISER: So that's where he went to buy this, and maybe he was doing some stock market trading, because even at the time this was purchased, it was a fairly substantial purchase. This is what we would call Edwardian, around 1905, certainly before the first war. The very earliest days of platinum. In a piece like this we have two main stones, the large diamonds. And that determines a lot of the value. The center diamond here surrounded by platinum, filigree and smaller diamonds, and the secondary diamond at the center of the top section that splits off with another very large stone. We did calibrations and estimates of the size of the stones. The pendant bottom diamond center is five carats or more.
GUEST: Oh, wow-- okay.
APPRAISER: And the top diamond is close to two carats. So there's seven carats of diamonds. But this five-carat diamond is what a lot of the value revolves around.
APPRAISER: It's authentic and in its original condition and in its original box. And that's also something that we look for and it's very rare to see. There aren't a lot of diamonds in old pieces like this that haven't been popped out and recut and made into an engagement ring for someone in the family.
GUEST: Right, right.
APPRAISER: The value is quite impressive because of what's happened to the diamond market just in this past year.
APPRAISER: And I've consulted with my colleagues. We feel that the value of the piece in its entirety, because of the white color of the large center stone and the quality of it, at retail this piece should bring $250,000...
GUEST: Wow. (laughing)
APPRAISER: in the marketplace.
GUEST: Wow. Okay, wow.
APPRAISER: And that's a conservative estimate because of the volatility of the diamond market.
GUEST: Oh, boy. Thank you very much.
GUEST: That's amazing. Isn't it? It's probably going back in the safe deposit box.
APPRAISER: I can understand that.
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