Appraisal Video: (3:11)
GUEST: Well, I know that they came from my family in Paris, France, and they've been handed down from my great-grandparents, to my great-aunt, to my mother and from my mother to myself.
APPRAISER: Well, as you know, they are French. And it's really interesting. French jewelry is always marked. I would say almost 99% of the time it has a mark on it.
APPRAISER: And all of your pieces are marked. The most interesting piece is this brooch. This is Art Deco, it's from the 1920s, and it has the typical French mark, which is a platinum mark on the frame. That's difficult to see; it's a dog's head. And then on the pin stem, it's got a different mark because the metals are different.
APPRAISER: So on the pin stem, it's marked with an eagle's head that's almost impossible to see, which says that it's 18-karat. The other thing that's interesting is the closure. The French used this trombone clasp, which you pull in and out, and it's really secure. So, many times when you see this trombone clasp, you sort of say, "Aha, that's probably a French piece of jewelry." This is all diamond and, of course, all platinum, with just gold for the clasp. The earrings are old mine-cut diamonds, and I measured them, and they're measuring around 90 points, so they're about a carat. But what's interesting about them is also the mark on the closure. It has the gold mark, and then it's got a French word saying "export," and then it also has a maker's mark. If you look at this necklace, this is classic French Art Nouveau, done around 1900, 1910. And when you pick it up, the first thing you notice is that it's heavy.
APPRAISER: French jewelry is heavier than the normal, and if you turn it over, you see that it's all chased, back and front. The back and the front are alike. The French treated their jewelry with respect, so you see that workmanship all through. Now, the fourth thing. What do you think those are?
APPRAISER: You think they're pearls. What kind of pearls?
GUEST: Pearls, that's all I know, is pearls are pearls.
APPRAISER: Well, I'm not going to do the obvious, which is bite in it to see if they're gritty, because I think that these are probably natural pearls. And the test for natural pearls is not the teeth test. It's by an X-ray. So the only way we'd really know is to send them to a laboratory and have them tested to see if they're natural. And if they're natural, of course they're worth more money. They're a little small. I wish they'd stayed in the oyster a little longer.
APPRAISER: What do you think is the most valuable thing?
GUEST: I would think the brooch.
APPRAISER: You're right. The brooch is the most valuable. And I would estimate it in the auction market probably around $4,000.
APPRAISER: The earrings, I would say probably $2,500. The Art Nouveau necklace around $1,500, and the pearls, if they are natural, about $2,000.
APPRAISER: If not, maybe $300.
GUEST: Oh, okay. Sounds great to me.