20th-Century Sporting Motif Reverse Crystal Jewelry

Value (2012) | $5,000 Retail

When I was a teenager, I was involved in riding hunters and jumpers. And the hunter and jumper people collected these. And so my father, for my 16th birthday, bought me one, and at that time they came uncut. You just... you bought the crystal and then you had it set in whatever setting you wanted. Over a period of two-and-a-half years, between '46 and '48, my father bought me the five that are in the bracelet. Probably 15 years ago or so, my sister-in-law, who had the earrings, she sold those to me.


This is called sporting motif jewelry. It's a reverse crystal bracelet. And the technique is really interesting. The jeweler actually takes a piece of rock crystal that's been rounded and smoothed out and he carves it from behind. He carves out the exact image and then it's painted from behind as well. At that point, it's backed with mother of pearl. So you can see a little bit of the shine behind the actual crystal-- that is mother of pearl. And then it's joined together with a stirrup strap and this snaffle bit, which is a really great motif. So it's all in keeping with the actual piece. We've got a hound dog, we've got a horse, a fox and completed with the other two at the end as well. When we go to appraise these, we always take a look at the quality of the carving and how well it's done and executed. The detail on the dog and the little whiskers are really crisp. I can tell you've taken really good care of it. It's in really good condition. Reverse crystal can get scratched easily. And then we have the matching pair of earrings, too. The are very popular in the sporting jewelry world. As far as I know, they're not making too much of it today. Now, as far as value, do you have any idea?

No. I know that at the time they were bought, the unset crystals cost $50.

Okay, all right. And then you had to have them set. Well, I was speaking with my colleagues and if this were in a retail arena, the bracelet with the matching pair of earrings set in 14 carat yellow gold would retail right around $3,500 in today's market.

Thank you. Yeah! That's really wonderful.

Appraisal Details

Freeman's Auctioneers
Philadelphia, PA
Update (2012)
$5,000 Retail
Appraised value (2005)
$3,500 Retail
Los Angeles, CA (August 13, 2005)
November 12, 2012: We contacted appraiser Virginia Salem for an updated appraisal in today's market.

Current Appraised Value: $5,000 (Increased)

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