Russian Gold Cuff Bracelet, ca. 1870

Value (2006) | $12,000 Retail

APPRAISER:
You tell me you've lived here since the 1950s?

GUEST:
Before statehood.

APPRAISER:
Before statehood. You brought this piece to be appraised, which was your mother's.

GUEST:
Oh, yeah, she was a collector of jewelry and this was a fabulous piece she had. She told me it came from Siberia.

APPRAISER:
What was your mother doing in Siberia?

GUEST:
Well, as a teenager, she was... with my father at the time, and they were traveling the world on their expedition to create world peace.

APPRAISER:
Yes.

GUEST:
They stayed with families in each country and in Siberia, they stayed with a nice family there, and on departure, they dug this up from where they were hiding their precious things, so they gave this to Mom.

APPRAISER:
I looked at the bracelet very carefully. I know that you asked me, "Is it 14-karat or 18-karat?" but obviously you knew it was gold. I tested it with jeweler's acid, which is how we can do it when it's not marked, and it is solid 18-karat gold and quite substantial. And heavy.

GUEST:
The weight, yes.

APPRAISER:
I don't have a scale that goes this high for gold. I would say it's at least a quarter of a pound of 18-karat gold, but the work is extraordinary. I also poured over this bracelet, looking for a Russian mark. I wanted to see some kind of mark. There's absolutely nothing on it to indicate a country of origin, which is not unusual in antique jewelry. They just didn't always mark things. And you have to judge the pieces on their merit. This is what would be called properly a cuff bracelet.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
It's a hard bracelet that's hinged with a catch. And the motif is a buckle, and the buckle is applied but in matching decoration. There is engraving of flowers beneath the buckle, and if we spin it around, we will see engraving on the underside or the back of the bracelet; and this has a crane and a swallow, which was a favorite Victorian motif, and a floral design. So we have a very wide, heavy, important 18-karat gold bracelet, which I would date from the 1870s. A true Victorian cuff. It's quite an extraordinarily beautiful bracelet and would be very desirable in the marketplace. In the retail environment, a bracelet like this would easily command $12,000.

GUEST:
Mm.

APPRAISER:
In a retail store specializing in fine antique jewelry such as this.

GUEST:
How interesting.

APPRAISER:
But at auction, it might pull in more. Could be more at auction, could be less. One never knows, so... Depends on who's there that wants to fight over it that day.

GUEST:
Yeah, well, it's so bloody unique.

APPRAISER:
It is unique.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Edith Weber Antique Jewelry
New York, NY
Appraised value (2006)
$12,000 Retail
Event
Honolulu, HI (August 26, 2006)
Period
Victorian
Material
Gold, Gold

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