Art Deco Jewelry, ca. 1920

Value (2006) | $145,000 Auction$197,000

GUEST:
They actually originally belonged to my great-aunt Indiola, on my mother's side. And Indiola was married to a gentleman by the name of Clem Keys, who was a very important airline promoter and financier back in the early part of the century. So they lived in high society circles in New York, and I believe that's where my aunt acquired them. Later passed them on to my mother and eventually to me. Beyond that, I don't know much about them, though.

APPRAISER:
Okay. Well, what we have here are a number of very interesting examples of what we consider Art Deco jewelry. One item we have over here, this is an engraved rock crystal and seed pearl and diamond necklace. It's engraved in a neoclassical scene-- the back side of the rock crystal-- and then it's backed in platinum to give it a reflective quality, like a mirror. It's quite pretty. This here is an Art Deco bracelet encrusted with diamonds. A brooch with a Ceylon sapphire and a diamond open work design. The pearls here are natural pearls-- pearls that are directly from the oyster, there was no intervention by man to culture them-- which were very sought-after in the 1920s, with a diamond clasp. And last, in front here, we have a diamond ring. Now, your diamond ring is very unique, in that, first off, it's a large stone, it's an elongated rectangle with cut corners. But what's unique about this stone, this stone fits under the category of diamonds that we refer to as Golconda, from India. Now, the Golconda term means "mountain of light." And with Golconda stones, they have a particular phenomenon that occurs in them. When they are exposed to light, when they're in daylight, they get super white.

GUEST:
Ah, okay.

APPRAISER:
Now, most diamonds are graded on a scale of D through Z. But even a Golconda would be a D-plus in terms of color. It'd be high, high up there. These stones are white, the light dances in them. They're very, very sought-after stones. They're quite unique, so, you know, when you talk to connoisseur of diamonds, and if you say you have a Golconda stone, this is the type of thing that makes them weak in the knees, basically.

GUEST:
Ah, great.

APPRAISER:
So all these pieces date from the 1920s. The bracelet itself would be mid-1920s to the late 1920s. Now, there are no hallmarks on the item. But based on the craftsmanship, the type of workmanship, I would tend to think that this piece was American-- the brooch also-- no hallmarks, but appears to be American as well. The pearls, these could be retailed by anybody during this period. And there's nothing indicative that says they're European or American. But, more likely than not, since they were in New York, it was manufactured probably in the United States. The diamond pendant necklace-- this, on the other hand, may be European. This much more in the European taste and may have been something they purchased overseas or through a jeweler who had connections to the European market. And in terms of the diamond ring, there are no hallmarks on that either, other than the word "platinum." But I would also tend to think that it was probably purchased in New York. So it was manufactured in the United States as well. Do you have any idea of the value of these items or any idea what they might be valued at?

GUEST:
No. I've seen the estate appraisal when my aunt passed away, but that was in 1978, and, of course, done for tax purposes. I have no clue what they're currently worth.

APPRAISER:
The first item here, the necklace, the fair market value on this, if the item, say, were going to be sold at auction, would be between $5,000 and $7,000--

GUEST:
Great.

APPRAISER:
--on the necklace. The sapphire and diamond brooch, value on this would be between $10,000 and $15,000.

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
The pearl necklace would be between $20,000 and $25,000. And the bracelet would be between $40,000 and $60,000.

GUEST:
Oh, my.

APPRAISER:
Now, for the diamond, as I say, it was quite unique. Our valuation for that at auction would be between $70,000 and $90,000.

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
I really appreciate your bringing them in today.

GUEST:
Well, thank you very much. It's great to hear these kinds of values.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Peter Jon Shemonsky Fine & Antique Jewelry
San Francisco, CA
Appraised value (2006)
$145,000 Auction$197,000
Event
Honolulu, HI (August 26, 2006)
Period
Art Deco
Form
Necklace, Pin
June 28, 2010: After this segment aired, a viewer wrote in to point out that Peter Shemonsky's translation of "Golconda" was incorrect. It does not mean "mountain of light," but rather "a source of great wealth." The viewer also questioned Shemonsky's reference to the ring's diamond as "D-plus in terms of color." Shemonsky responded saying, "In regard to gemological nomenclature, the viewer is correct in that there is no such thing as a D-plus stone; I was using the terms D-plus and super-white to illustrate that in comparison to a D stone, a Golconda stone appears whiter due to the nature of these stones. Since this may or may not be related to fluorescence it was not mentioned as such, as not all Golconda stones are fluorescent. Some people refer to it as luminousness, and exactly what causes this phenomenon has been a long-debated subject, but all who have handled and are familiar with these stones do agree on one thing: they possess a visual characteristic unlike comparable stones from other regions."

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