1959 Marsh Jewelry Suite

Value (2010) | $17,000 Retail$19,000 Retail
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GUEST:
My father was traveling to San Francisco, and he bought my mother this set of jewelry from Marsh Jewelry in 1959. And he told me that he had paid $5,000 for the set.

APPRAISER:
That was a lot of money in 1959. I was shocked when you told me that-- that you could buy a house.

GUEST:
Well, my father was a successful traveling businessman, and he loved my mother and it was her 50th birthday. I mean, 5,000 on your 50th sounds good to me.

APPRAISER:
Well, later on you tried to find out some things about Marsh's Jewelry in San Francisco, and were you able to find out much about them?

GUEST:
About five or six years ago, I thought I should try to get it appraised. So I called information to get Marsh's number, and they kept saying "disconnected" or "not in service." So I was watching Antiques Roadshow and it was then that I saw some woman brought in a ring, and then somebody said that Marsh's had gone out of business after a hundred years.

APPRAISER:
Marsh's went out of business in... I think it was 2001 after a long history. They had a jeweler that worked exclusively for them. He was an Italian, but he also liked shotguns.

GUEST:
Really?

APPRAISER:
And because of his interest in shotguns, he had an interest in iron and metallurgy, and what they did to rifles and shotguns to keep them from rusting. And the Marsh's jewelry is steel that's been treated with gun bluing. He sandblasted the steel before he gun-blued it. That gives it this marvelous matte finish. And nowadays, I don't think there's anything more chic than the idea of black jewelry where the diamonds and the white gold absolutely pop, and these marvelous pearls that he suspended and have motion. The earrings are an exceptionally large pair of Marsh clip earrings. This pair, he mounted diamonds into the edges of the curl of the scroll of the bottom of each earring. I've never seen that before.

GUEST:
Really?

APPRAISER:
On the other side, closer to you, is the brooch. And I love the way that he used the motion. We have the pearl dangling, and when you wear it, it just moves with you. His jewelry had a lot of movement. They used fine cultured Japanese pearls. And I don't think the diamond weight is of much consequence. They're small, genuine diamonds, beautifully set in the Italian tradition. The really special piece out of the three... And they are a set. When they were purchased, they were as a suite. The bracelet is something you rarely see with Marsh's. The entire back is chased white gold and beautifully engraved, where only the owner of the bracelet would see it. This kind of fine hand engraving is something we see only from the finest craftsmen. And to see an entire lining of white gold in a Marsh piece is very rare and part of the reason, probably, why it was so expensive at the time that he bought it.

GUEST:
Oh...

APPRAISER:
So that explains a little bit about the price back then. Let's talk about the prices now of what Marsh can bring in the retail marketplace. The collectors are fierce.

GUEST:
Really?

APPRAISER:
Large earrings-- and I've never seen another pair quite like this, as big-- at retail about $4,000...

GUEST:
No joke.

APPRAISER:
Just for the earrings.

GUEST:
That's great.

APPRAISER:
The pin, about $3,000. But that bracelet, $10,000 to $12,000 conservatively at retail for your Marsh's San Francisco bracelet.

GUEST:
Oh, my father would be happy. My mother would be thrilled.

APPRAISER:
It's not quite a house today as it was in '59.

GUEST:
No, it would be a horse, though.

APPRAISER:
(laughing) There you go.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Edith Weber Antique Jewelry
New York, NY
Appraised value (2010)
$17,000 Retail$19,000 Retail
Event
Biloxi, MS (July 24, 2010)
Period
20th Century
Material
Diamonds, Pearl, Steel

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