Seed Pearl Jewelry, ca. 1800
It's from my great-grandmother. I know it's very old, and it was passed down to my mother and then to me. I don't really know too much about it. My great-grandfather was a family tracer, and it was said that it could come from way back to... who was beheaded?
Marie Antoinette, yes. That's as far as I know about it.
Well, actually, you're not too far off. We've no substantiation that it belonged to Marie Antoinette, but this type of necklace-- the seed pearls-- were popular then. Each one of these little, tiny, tiny pearls that make up these designs were hand-drilled. And then, after they made this hole in the piece, then they strung it into these patterns, using white horsehair. Now, do you see the form of this one right here?
Now, that is all mother-of-pearl, and they made the pattern-- see the little swirls they've done here? That gave them a background, and then they attached them to the background with the white horsehair.
And this piece also has diamonds, which... you normally do not see the diamonds, and these are rose-cut diamonds. They're in silver collets, and it is absolutely beautifully constructed. Now, these were popular from the last half of the 18th century all through the 19th century. The Victorians loved it-- those were very popular for brides' necklaces and things like that. This one also had a brooch with it. Now, sometime over this hundred-and-so-on years span that your family has had this, someone lost a little dangle that went on here. So somebody was wise enough to reinforce this-- actually took the pin stem off, and they made this little hook here, and they made the little hook here. So then, you could have the brooch here, instead of the dangle. It does need some restoration. You've got a little strand of pearls missing here. In this condition, it's worth between $4,000 and $5,000. In restored condition, I think you'll bring it up to more like $6,000 or $7,000 for insurance replacement value. So, are you happy and pleased? Did you have any idea?
It's wonderful! Wonderful!
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