Margaret De Patta Studio Jewelry, ca. 1950
I have some Margaret De Patta pieces that I inherited from my mother and father. They were married in November of '49, and the ring is my mother's engagement ring. So I'm assuming that they purchased all of them at that time. I'm not sure.
These are examples of a rebel. Margaret De Patta was a rebel in many ways. These were American studio jewelers. They were mid-century modernists. They were rebelling against the type of jewelry that was mass-produced. What they wanted to do was to deconstruct things and to make things sharp and clean. And they used not diamonds and gold and precious metals; they might have used sterling and some stones and some wood. And they were not for the masses; they were for the intellectual elite. And there was a group on the East Coast and there was a group on the West Coast. Now, Margaret De Patta was the leader of the West Coast group. She started making jewelry in the '30s and opened her workshop in 1935. But she didn't just design; she was actually hands-on. She made this jewelry herself, and she well marked it. I want to show you what the mark looks like. "De Patta," and then we have the capital M with a little dot over the M. Her technique was called constructivism. She just pared it down to the essence of what jewelry should be. Now, what we have here are iconic examples of her work. Very strong, clean lines. She used interesting stones. Right here we have rutilated quartz, and she favored sterling. On this piece down here, which is a matching pin and earring set, she's used ebony, which is a dark wood. The white material is chalcedony, which is an agate, and freshwater pearls. The ring is also rutilated quartz and sterling. On today's market, on a retail level, this brooch would be $3,000.
Oh. APPRAISTER: The pin and earrings would be $2,500. The ring by itself is $1,500.
Executive producer Marsha Bemko shares her tips for getting the most out of ANTIQUES ROADSHOW.
Value can change: The value of an item is dependent upon many things, including the condition of the object itself, trends in the market for that kind of object, and the location where the item will be sold. These are just some of the reasons why the answer to the question "What's it worth?" is so often "It depends."
Note the date: Take note of the date the appraisal was recorded. This information appears in the upper left corner of the page, with the label "Appraised On." Values change over time according to market forces, so the current value of the item could be higher, lower, or the same as when our expert first appraised it.
Context is key: Listen carefully. Most of our experts will give appraisal values in context. For example, you'll often hear them say what an item is worth "at auction," or "retail," or "for insurance purposes" (replacement value). Retail prices are different from wholesale prices. Often an auctioneer will talk about what she knows best: the auction market. A shop owner will usually talk about what he knows best: the retail price he'd place on the object in his shop. And though there are no hard and fast rules, an object's auction price can often be half its retail value; yet for other objects, an auction price could be higher than retail. As a rule, however, retail and insurance/replacement values are about the same.
Verbal approximations: The values given by the experts on ANTIQUES ROADSHOW are considered "verbal approximations of value." Technically, an "appraisal" is a legal document, generally for insurance purposes, written by a qualified expert and paid for by the owner of the item. An appraisal usually involves an extensive amount of research to establish authenticity, provenance, composition, method of construction, and other important attributes of a particular object.
Opinion of value: As with all appraisals, the verbal approximations of value given at ROADSHOW events are our experts' opinions formed from their knowledge of antiques and collectibles, market trends, and other factors. Although our valuations are based on research and experience, opinions can, and sometimes do, vary among experts.
Appraiser affiliations: Finally, the affiliation of the appraiser may have changed since the appraisal was recorded. To see current contact information for an appraiser in the ROADSHOW Archive, click on the link below the appraiser's picture. Our Appraiser Index also contains a complete list of active ROADSHOW appraisers and their contact details and biographies.