18th-Century White Jade Pendant & Serpentine Frame, ca. 1900

Value (2009) | $3,800 Auction$6,200 Auction

GUEST:
These pieces were brought by my grandmother from China in the late 1940s when she went to Germany and then, subsequently, to the United States.

APPRAISER:
Who's pictured in the frame?

GUEST:
That's a picture of my mother and father on their wedding day, and that was taken in 1944.

APPRAISER:
When appraising Asian art, we look at three things: firstly, quality; secondly, the material that the item's composed of or carved from; and thirdly, the age. So let's start with the picture frame. This is paneled serpentine carved with quite crude foliate and animal images. If we have a look at these almost comical faces, it's a fair carving.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
Serpentine is a soft stone; it's porous and shows many inclusions. It doesn't have the purity of a jade. The hardwood is a stained hardwood. The frame probably dates from the end of the 19th century into the early 20th century. But then, we move on to the jade pendant. This is a white jade pendant dating from the 18th century. It's hue or tone is of near pure white. It's a harder stone, fewer inclusions, if any inclusions at all. There's no big brown or white spurs through the jade. These qilin, or mythical beasts, are carved in an archaic scroll. The archaic scroll frames a immortal figure with script to the reverse. The carving on the pendant is good, not great.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
This was worn as a pendant, originally, in the 18th century, and then probably during the late 19th, early 20th century, it was mounted onto a hong-mu, or hardwood, stand. Now, I'm curious to know-- which one do you think's worth more money?

GUEST:
Well, I assumed, size-wise, the picture frame would be worth much more.

APPRAISER:
The serpentine picture frame-- its auction estimate would be between $800 and $1,200.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
The white jade 18th-century pendant, at auction, would have a pre-sale estimate of $3,000 to $5,000.

GUEST:
Oh, wow, I never would have expected that. That's wonderful. It's more than I expected, more than I ever dreamed.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
PKR Antiques & Fine Art
New York, NY
Appraised value (2009)
$3,800 Auction$6,200 Auction
Event
Madison, WI (July 11, 2009)
Form
Frame, Pendant
Material
Jade, Wood

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