Ruby & Diamond Bracelet, ca. 1895

Value (2006) | $30,000 Auction$35,000 Auction

GUEST:
It was given to me from my mother. My mother was a German countess, and her ancestors started in Russia, and then during the Russian Revolution, they fled to France.

APPRAISER:
Okay.

GUEST:
And at that time they were supposed to have acquired this piece.

APPRAISER:
In France?

GUEST:
In France. It was supposed to have belonged to Marie Antoinette, that's the story I got from my mother. During the French Revolution they fled to France and that's where my mother was born. And then they moved to Germany, and she was raised in a castle in Munich.

APPRAISER:
And you're from Miami?

GUEST:
I'm from Miami.

APPRAISER:
Okay. You have five beautiful Burmese rubies here. They're roughly somewhere around four carats, maybe four and a half carats.

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
In the trade, we call the best rubies pigeon-blood red rubies. And that's what you have here.

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
They're bright. And they're not treated, they're natural, and... You know the bracelet was made in France?

GUEST:
I was assuming that it was,

APPRAISER:
Oh, okay.

GUEST:
since my mother told me that it was Marie Antoinette's, but...

APPRAISER:
Okay, well, Marie Antoinette never saw this bracelet.

GUEST:
Okay. (laughing)

APPRAISER:
Another woman saw it.

GUEST:
Another woman.

APPRAISER:
We know it's French, because the hallmarks, the double eagles in the head tell you it was made in France and it's 18 karat gold. The gold is on the reverse side. If you turn it over like that,

GUEST:
Uh-huh.

APPRAISER:
you see the yellow gold. The top, all the diamonds, they're very tiny, full-cut diamonds, set in platinum. So this is late 1800s when it was made.

GUEST:
Okay. Not Marie Antoinette?

APPRAISER:
Not Marie Antoinette. She could never have wore it. She had nice jewelry.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
There's a story about Lewis Comfort Tiffany going to France when he was first starting out in business. This particular bracelet was owned by Empress Eugenia from Austria. She sold her jewelry to Louis Comfort Tiffany in France, back in 1890, 1895. And he brought the jewelry to New York and sold it. Now, I saw most of the pieces in the old pictures. I do work for an auction house, and we sold many of the pieces that Louis Comfort Tiffany bought. And this piece, we never saw. I saw this bracelet in one of the pictures hat I was looking at. And that was about 12 years ago.

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
So Louis Comfort Tiffany missed this bracelet. The diamonds are not important on this. What's important on this are the rubies and where it came from. Ever wear this bracelet?

GUEST:
No, my mother used to wear it all the time. In fact, she left it in a car that my father sold. And she realized that she had left it and went back the next day, and it was still in the glove box, so...

APPRAISER:
Oh, my God.

GUEST:
I guess I'm fortunate to still have it.

APPRAISER:
Now these rubies keep on going up in price, because they're not mining anymore.

GUEST:
Oh.

APPRAISER:
So a piece like this in today's market, could easily sell for somewhere between $30,000 and $35,000.

GUEST:
This piece?

APPRAISER:
This piece, at auction.

GUEST:
Well, I'll hold on to it for a long time, then.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Cluster Jewelry
New York, NY
Appraised value (2006)
$30,000 Auction$35,000 Auction
Event
Milwaukee, WI (July 29, 2006)
Period
19th Century
Form
Bracelet
Material
Diamonds, Platinum, Ruby

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