Italian Micromosaic Pendant, ca. 1875

Value (2008) | $15,000 Retail$20,000 Retail

GUEST:
About five years ago, my husband gave it to me for Christmas. We saw it in an online auction. He went in and bid. He bid under his name, though, so he had to go in and re-bid under someone else's name, so he upped his own bid just so he could get this in secrecy so I would not know that he was purchasing it for me. And then for Christmas, I was quite surprised when I unwrapped it.

APPRAISER:
How much did he pay for it?

GUEST:
He paid around $1,000.

APPRAISER:
Is that the normal price that you two give gifts to?

GUEST:
Um, we usually spend about $40 on each other.

APPRAISER:
Oh, so he was extravagant.

GUEST:
He was very extravagant.

APPRAISER:
What did they describe it as?

GUEST:
They said this had actually belonged to a colonel's wife. They said that it had been a gift to her in the late 1800s. They said that it was a micromosaic, that it was gold, and that's all I can remember that they said about it.

APPRAISER:
This is the second piece that I have ever seen like this.

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
We have micromosaics on the show, but all of them are flat. This is a 3D micromosaic.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
It is made in Italy. The Italians are masters at it. And the gentleman who did this was a great master. This is all 18-karat gold, and 1850 to 1875 is the year that I can estimate that it was made. There is no hallmark on it.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
It's in the same school as Castellani and Giuliano. They did work very similar to this. This is not done by them.

GUEST:
Oh, it's not.

APPRAISER:
But it's done by a qualified Italian jeweler. In order to make that, you have to do this in segments, in different levels.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
That is so difficult. And then it is polished in different levels. So when you have pieces like this and you find them in good condition, that are not broken and not cracked-- and they break very easily-- you have a superb piece. Your piece today, at a retail level, is somewhere between $15,000 and $20,000. Now, I don't know how you got it for a thousand.

GUEST:
Nobody knew what it was.

APPRAISER:
Your husband was very lucky.

GUEST:
Yeah. (laughing)

APPRAISER:
And do you ever wear it?

GUEST:
Um, when I first got it for Christmas, I ran right back in my room, I put it on a chain, I put it around my neck and he says, "You're not going to wear that, are you?" And I said, "Well, I was going to," and he said, "Well, maybe we should have it cleaned." So I put it back in the box and it's not been out.

APPRAISER:
You don't clean this. Don't clean it; okay. You don't wash it, you don't clean it. It's very, very delicate.

GUEST:
All right.

APPRAISER:
You take good care of it. Well, I'm glad I didn't take the toothbrush to it, then.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Cluster Jewelry
New York, NY
Appraised value (2008)
$15,000 Retail$20,000 Retail
Event
Wichita, KS (July 12, 2008)
Period
19th Century
Material
Gold

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