Edward Oakes Jewelry, ca. 1930

Value (2005) | $6,000 Auction$8,000 Auction

My grandmother grew up in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and these originally belonged to her, and she passed them to my mom after she'd gotten married. And then when my mom passed away, I inherited them. I know apparently the jeweler always had oak leaves on his pieces of jewelry, and I think we have about four or five pieces.

Well, that's great. You're very fortunate, because the man that made this is Edward Everett Oakes, and his work is highly collected, and it's very distinctive. And you're correct-- the hallmark of his work is oak leaves. He was born in 1891, and he died in the late '50s. And he had a son, Gilbert, who also worked with him. And now his granddaughter, Susan Oakes Peabody, also continues to work. The bracelet has a signature, and it's an oak leaf with the word "Oakes" in it. And his son Gilbert is an oak leaf with "Oakes," and then it has an acorn. And the granddaughter-- the same thing, but it's got two acorns. So they carried on the tradition, and they all worked in similar styles. In 1923, he won a medal at the Society of Arts and Crafts in Boston, which is one of the oldest societies in America. And right after that, the Metropolitan Museum of Art purchased one of his pieces. It's supposed to be one of the first times that a living artist had a piece purchased by the Metropolitan. And it's still on display today. The bracelet is done with amethyst, collet-set within oak leaves. And then there's a little gold on top-- a brushed gold. I've never seen a bracelet by him like this. He usually works in stones and links, but not a cuff. This is quite unusual to see a solid silver cuff. The ring is not signed, but it's definitely by him. Again, look at the oak leaves, the stones-- this is jade and pearls. And what I think is distinctive about this ring, and his rings in general, is he tried not to use prongs. So what he did is, he raised the leaves from behind and used them as the prongs. And I love the combination of the coral, the green and the pearl. And I would date these probably to the 1930s possibly. It's hard to date it exactly. I would say they're in the same category price-wise, because the ring combination-- I love the color, and that red coral is unusual. So I would say you're probably looking at $3,000 to $4,000, each piece.

Oh, wow.

And that would be an auction estimate. Is that surprising?

I really had no idea what... They're more sentimental value than anything.

They're wonderful examples of American Arts & Crafts jewelry by a master jeweler. So thanks for coming to the ROADSHOW.

It's certainly nice to know a little bit more about them.

Appraisal Details

Skinner, Inc.
Boston, MA
Appraised value (2005)
$6,000 Auction$8,000 Auction
Houston, TX (July 16, 2005)

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