Victorian Enamel, Coral, Turquoise & Pearl Necklace, ca. 1855

Value (2009) | $6,000 Auction$8,000 Auction

GUEST:
I had gone to a leftover estate sale at Montgomery Theater here. I looked around and didn't see anything, and I said, "You don't have any jewelry around." And she said, "Oh, yeah." And she said, "There's a shoebox in there." So she brought the shoebox out and I started looking through it, and I said, "How much do you want for this?" And she said, "How about ten cents apiece?" So I think I spent a dollar, 60 cents.

APPRAISER:
A dollar, 60 cents, okay, for 16 pieces, basically.

GUEST:
Yes, but this was really the only good piece in it.

APPRAISER:
And about how long ago was this?

GUEST:
About 32 years ago.

APPRAISER:
About 32 years ago. Okay, it is gold, first off, and it's composed of elements that involve these small swallows, which are enamel. You also have these flowers with turquoise. And then down here, these are carved coral. They're carved in the shape of grape clusters.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
Now, there are no hallmarks on the piece, but based on the style of the enameling, we can assume that this is probably a Swiss enamel necklace. In the 19th century, the Swiss were known for their enameling techniques. They were known to make beautiful pieces similar to this. This piece was made between 1850 and 1860.

GUEST:
Oh, my.

APPRAISER:
So it's quite old. And what I also love about the piece is that it's sort of filled with Victorian romanticism. We've got the bird motif, which represents swallows.

GUEST:
Oh!

APPRAISER:
And as we know, swallows return to Capistrano every year.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
And to other parts of the world as well. So the romantic idea of this particular imagery is that this was probably a gift given to somebody who was going away, but it was a reminder that they would also return.

GUEST:
Oh...

APPRAISER:
We also have the forget-me-nots. So someone who is going away has got a flower here that's referring to, "Do not forget me, I will return."

GUEST:
Isn't that nice? Isn't that lovely?

APPRAISER:
It's a great sentiment.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
And then the grape clusters, many times this refers to bountifulness, fulfillment of a relationship or great bounty. So it's filled with a great deal of Victorian romanticism, sentimentality. It's actually in extremely good condition. These pieces are very delicate. So it's unusual to find them in this good condition. And because of that, this is a piece that collectors would really respond well to. And so if this item came to auction, I would put a value on this of between $6,000 and $8,000.

GUEST:
You're kidding!

APPRAISER:
No, I'm not kidding.

GUEST:
Oh, my goodness gracious me! Ah, ha-ha!

APPRAISER:
Isn't that great?

GUEST:
I'm rich and didn't know it. (laughing)

APPRAISER:
It's a great investment on your original ten cents.

GUEST:
A lot better than my IRA. (both laugh)

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Heritage Auctions
San Francisco, CA
Appraised value (2009)
$6,000 Auction$8,000 Auction
Event
San Jose, CA (August 15, 2009)
Form
Necklace

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