Aquamarine & Gold Demi-Parure, ca.1830

Value (2006) | $10,000 Retail

APPRAISER:
This box is tooled Moroccan leather with gold leafing on it and embossed patterns. And when I see one of these boxes, I get excited. You knew what was inside, but I didn't, and then you opened it up, and I said, "Hot-diggity, I want that."

(laughing)

APPRAISER:
This is a family heirloom.

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
You inherited this?

GUEST:
Yes, from my grandmother.

APPRAISER:
And inside the box was this document.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
And it's the original bill of sale from 1928, where it was purchased from an antiques dealer in Berlin for 500 Deutsche Marks.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
The dealer said it was from 1780.

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
I don't quite agree with that. She guaranteed that it's 14 karat, and I do agree with that.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
The dealer had it correct when she called it rococo, and as we can see, the design is very ornate.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
She dated it 1780. I think it's a little later because of the construction. The stones in this piece are not foiled. The light shines through. So this was made to be seen by gaslight, which is more like 1830. There's some patina differences when you look at the entire necklace.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
The brooch in the center is very polished and bright, but there's some tarnish around the edges in the necklace.

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
Gold, even 14 karat, does oxidize. It tarnishes. Just much more slowly than silver. It's a Demi-Parure—“parure” meaning a suite of jewelry, “demi” meaning a partial suite. It's not the whole enchilada-- bracelets, necklace, earrings, but we have the earrings, the brooch and the necklace. The blue stones are genuine pale aquamarines...

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
...which were exported from South America to Europe at great expense. It was a new stone, and even in 1830, they were very much sought after. They loved to see them glisten.

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
We can also see that it's all hollowed out.

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
They weren't concerned with the weight of gold. You might think this is costume jewelry.

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
The fact of the matter is: the costume jewelry, which is often painted lead and base metal, is solid and heavy; and this kind of antique jewelry from 1830 is feather weight. In a retail environment, in an antique shop, I see a piece like this at right around $10,000.

GUEST:
Ooh.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Edith Weber Antique Jewelry
New York, NY
Appraised value (2006)
$10,000 Retail
Event
Milwaukee, WI (July 29, 2006)
Material
Gold, Gold

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