20th-Century Sapphire & Diamond Ring
It belonged to the Lee Meriwether estate. And my great-uncle was his publisher and my great-aunt ran his house. They lived there. They lived on, like, the third floor, fourth floor, I'm not sure. And so when they died, my grandmother inherited that estate. And when my grandmother was not at her home anymore, we went out there and went through her house. And my daughter-in-law said, "I think I'm going to look through those old purses." So there was a stack of black purses in the closet. She went through them and she found this ring. And she said, "I found you something! I found you something!"
Oh, how great.
So, I've had it and just kept it and didn't know where to take it to have it looked at. So my grandson said, "Let's go to the Roadshow."
You told me that your grandmother thought it was from the Civil War. Well, let's dispel that story. It's not from the Civil War. They didn't do platinum jewelry or white gold jewelry during that period. It would have been in yellow gold. And from the diamonds, the cut of the diamonds and the material, I'm going to say that it's from the 1920s. They're sort of transitional cuts. They're not wonderfully cut, but they're of that period in the '20s. But this ring has had many things done to it. It's actually not the original shank. If I turn it to the side, you can see that this has been added. This is later, and this is in white gold. White gold came into being in the 1914s. We wouldn't have white gold before that. But this is later; it's probably done in the 1950s. Now, the stone. It measures I would say between 10 and 12 carats and it's actually a sapphire that probably comes from Ceylon. And it's a pretty nice stone. It's got a nice cut, it's a nice shape, but it's mounted crooked. If you look at it, this should be a vertical stone. It should not be the way it is. So, it's hard to tell if this was a ring originally or a brooch. But you know what's going to happen to this as time goes on if it doesn't stay in the family and it gets sold? Somebody will remount it, do it vertically and polish it, and it will be a gorgeous-looking sapphire. I'm going to say, in the market today, if you had to sell it, let's say in an auction venue, between $10,000 and $12,000.
So, I think something that was in a purse that's had this history...
That's unbelievable, absolutely.
I think you did really well and I'm so glad you came to the show today.
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.