American Art Deco Jade Ring, ca. 1925

Value (2006) | $8,000 Auction$20,000 Insurance

GUEST:
It came to me from my mother. She'd gotten it from her great-aunt and that's about all I know about that piece of jewelry.

APPRAISER:
Do you haven any idea what period it's from?

GUEST:
I only assume it's got to be 1920s or '30s considering the aunt it come from. But other than that, I have no clue.

APPRAISER:
Well, you know what, you're right. It's from the 1920s. It's art deco. One of my favorite periods of jewelry design. It is American and it's jade, it's not emerald. Many people mistake emeralds and jade, but this is actually jade. It has diamonds. This is a half-moon diamond and it's very unusual. Many times you'd see a triangular stone or a baggett diamond holding a stone, but this is a half-moon. And the little blue stones are sapphires that have been calibrate cut to fit into that mounting. And all around it are tiny, tiny diamonds. And it's held in platinum, which was the metal of choice of the art deco period. One of the ways to look at this ring is what is that center stone worth? And how we evaluate jade is very interesting. What we do is we backlight it. And when you look through it, all of a sudden you can see the imperfections. This has some white areas, one little black spot. So it's not perfect. See, cabochons in jade hide imperfections. The other interesting thing is the back of the stone has a double cabochon. It's not cut flat. That also tells us that it is from the art deco period-- that's an older stone. Now the third thing that's interesting in this ring is that it's signed. Did you know it had a signature?

GUEST:
No.

APPRAISER:
It has an interesting signature. "W. C. Ball." There were many companies named Ball. But they all didn't correlate to this period. They were much earlier. So in research, we found that there actually was a New York jeweler that was on one of the famous streets like Madison Avenue, Fifth Avenue-- we're not quite sure-- that worked in the '20s and made very high-end jewelry. Now, the next thing is value. And I'm going to give you an auction value. If you were going to sell it, it would be hard to put an exact number. Jade is one of the materials that is difficult to evaluate. It's really in the eyes of the beholder. So I'm going to give you a range of between $8,000 and $12,000 at auction.

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
Are you surprised?

GUEST:
I'm surprised.

APPRAISER:
You're surprised.

GUEST:
What about insurance value on that?

APPRAISER:
Oh, probably around $20,000.

GUEST:
Wow.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Skinner, Inc.
Boston, Massachusetts
Appraised value (2006)
$8,000 Auction$20,000 Insurance
Event
Milwaukee, WI (July 29, 2006)
Form
Ring
Material
Jade

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