Dutch Diamond Ring, ca. 1780

Value (2005) | $10,000 Retail$15,000 Insurance

GUEST:
This is from my maternal grandmother. Uh, she married here in California to a gentleman from Holland, and he passed away during World War II, and after World War II, she traveled to Europe-- it was 1953, the coronation of Queen Elizabeth-- and went on to visit with the family that she had never met in Holland. This was actually given to her by cousins at that time. My grandmother wore it, my mother wore it. Now I get to wear it, and it's a little... needs a little support, so we don't bring it out too often.

APPRAISER:
Okay. It's Dutch. And you said, "I don't even know if it's diamond or rhinestone."

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
But it is diamond.

GUEST:
Really?

APPRAISER:
And a very old diamond ring-- one of the oldest that we see today. This is from the 18th century. It dates about 1780.

GUEST:
Mmm. Wow.

APPRAISER:
And there are ways that we know that. In those days, the diamonds were set in silver, and what we have is a large diamond in the center with a border of smaller stones around it. The diamond in the center is called a rose cut. This is one of the oldest cuts of diamond. It's a crude cut, almost like it's upside down. The facets of the diamond stick up on the top, and underneath, it's flat.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
These are very rare and sought after by collectors because there are very few of them around anymore. Most of them have been taken out of the settings and recut, and very few have survived in their original condition.

GUEST:
Oh.

APPRAISER:
Also, this ring was meant to be seen in candlelight. In the ballroom.

GUEST:
Oh.

APPRAISER:
It would flicker. And the way they did that was, they had foil underneath the diamond to reflect the flickering of the candles, and the ring is closed up inside and underneath, and it's also decorated on the inside where it's gold, and where only the owner would see it. And the foil is underneath that decoration. The rest of the construction is gold anywhere it would touch the skin, except for the diamonds. They wanted those in silver. A ring like this very commonly had no marks. It was not required by law that there be any hall markings, any gold standards, so when I look at a ring like this, there are no marks. But for an authentic one, I don't expect to see any. Not many people could afford a big, beautiful diamond in the 1780s, so this belonged to an upper-class family. Maybe lesser nobility.

GUEST:
My grandmother said she was entitled to be a countess.

APPRAISER:
She was entitled to be a countess?

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
Well, this was a ring befitting a countess in Holland in the late 18th century.

GUEST:
Uh-huh.

APPRAISER:
Which was where diamonds were cut, in Antwerp, and that part of the world. We know that it's a very large rose diamond, but it's difficult to tell you exactly how many carats. We'd have to take it out of the mounting, put it on a diamond scale and weigh it, and that might destroy the ring, so it's something we don't do. And therefore, we can't say exactly. Rose diamonds look bigger than what they weigh, so a stone like this that appears to be about maybe three carats might only weigh one carat or a little more than one carat, but the value is not in the diamond weight or even the color and clarity. It's in the authenticity of the total ring. A ring like this today in a retail store will easily achieve a very good price. I think we're looking at something around $10,000.

GUEST:
Wow. Beautiful.

APPRAISER:
And to replace this ring, you have to find one as nice in a perfect condition. So, I'd want to see it insured for $15,000.

GUEST:
Thank you very much.

APPRAISER:
Thanks for bringing it to the ROADSHOW.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Edith Weber Antique Jewelry
New York, NY
Appraised value (2005)
$10,000 Retail$15,000 Insurance
Event
Los Angeles, CA (August 13, 2005)
Period
18th Century
Form
Ring
Material
Diamonds, Gold, Silver

Executive producer Marsha Bemko shares her tips for getting the most out of ANTIQUES ROADSHOW.

Value can change: The value of an item is dependent upon many things, including the condition of the object itself, trends in the market for that kind of object, and the location where the item will be sold. These are just some of the reasons why the answer to the question "What's it worth?" is so often "It depends."

Note the date: Take note of the date the appraisal was recorded. This information appears in the upper left corner of the page, with the label "Appraised On." Values change over time according to market forces, so the current value of the item could be higher, lower, or the same as when our expert first appraised it.

Context is key: Listen carefully. Most of our experts will give appraisal values in context. For example, you'll often hear them say what an item is worth "at auction," or "retail," or "for insurance purposes" (replacement value). Retail prices are different from wholesale prices. Often an auctioneer will talk about what she knows best: the auction market. A shop owner will usually talk about what he knows best: the retail price he'd place on the object in his shop. And though there are no hard and fast rules, an object's auction price can often be half its retail value; yet for other objects, an auction price could be higher than retail. As a rule, however, retail and insurance/replacement values are about the same.

Verbal approximations: The values given by the experts on ANTIQUES ROADSHOW are considered "verbal approximations of value." Technically, an "appraisal" is a legal document, generally for insurance purposes, written by a qualified expert and paid for by the owner of the item. An appraisal usually involves an extensive amount of research to establish authenticity, provenance, composition, method of construction, and other important attributes of a particular object.

Opinion of value: As with all appraisals, the verbal approximations of value given at ROADSHOW events are our experts' opinions formed from their knowledge of antiques and collectibles, market trends, and other factors. Although our valuations are based on research and experience, opinions can, and sometimes do, vary among experts.

Appraiser affiliations: Finally, the affiliation of the appraiser may have changed since the appraisal was recorded. To see current contact information for an appraiser in the ROADSHOW Archive, click on the link below the appraiser's picture. Our Appraiser Index also contains a complete list of active ROADSHOW appraisers and their contact details and biographies.