19th-Century Micromosaic & Cameo Jewelry

Value (2005) | $15,000 Auction$20,000 Auction

GUEST:
These were part of my mother-in-law's estate, who passed away in Boston two or three years ago. The beneficiaries had to bid on the jewelry. And I found this piece real interesting because of the look of it. I wasn't sure if it was costume jewelry or real. And then the cameos-- I'd never seen cameos with warriors' heads, so... Most cameos, you tell me, were ladies. And these are men. And I wasn't quite sure the way they were designed what they were, if they were pins or earrings or what.

APPRAISER:
This is hard-stone cameo. It's black-and-white onyx. And the stones were cut roughly about 1905, 1910 in the Idar-Oberstein-- it's in Germany. The frame is enamel made in the United States. It's gold, but they're fairly new, somewhere around 1920s. And if you notice, these two are lefts and rights, and they are pins. But they were not originally pins; they were earrings.

GUEST:
Oh, they were?

APPRAISER:
Yeah, somebody put the catch pin and joint on there. The value on these is somewhere around $3,000 at auction.

GUEST:
Oh, good, okay.

APPRAISER:
Then you hit me with this great mosaic piece. You know it's micromosaic.

GUEST:
I knew it was mosaic, but I didn't know anything about it-- I don't even know if it's gold.

APPRAISER:
It's gold. What did you pay for that when you bought it from the estate?

GUEST:
Um, we paid $650.

APPRAISER:
You had to bid on it.

GUEST:
Yes, we had to bid on it.

APPRAISER:
Okay, this is religious micromosaic, and it's high-karat gold. It could be 19-, 20-karat gold. It's not 18-karat. The whole thing is made in Italy. Now, when I first saw it, you shook me down to my core... because this little hallmark down here. I thought it was Castellani-- he was a great Italian jeweler. It's not Castellani. Then I thought it was Giuliano, one of his contemporaries. It's not. Now, it does say on there "EPF." Those are the initials in that little cartouche. I looked it up; I couldn't find it, but it's somewhere in the books, and we have to do some more research on it. But it's in the period of Castellani and Giuliano-- 1860, 1870.

GUEST:
Oh, my God.

APPRAISER:
Another nice thing about this... is the chain. This chain is today what we call BX cable, electric chain-- it's made the same way. This thing here moves back and forth, and it's done with little twisted wires. It's amazing that you got this for $650, because this is worth somewhere between $15,000 and $20,000. So, therefore...

GUEST:
Oh, my gosh...

APPRAISER:
This is worth... 15,000 to 20,000 at auction, and on a good day, it could go higher.

GUEST:
That is unbelievable. And I thought it was costume jewelry.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Cluster Jewelry
New York, NY
Appraised value (2005)
$15,000 Auction$20,000 Auction
Event
Tampa, FL (June 25, 2005)
Material
Black Onyx, Gold

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