Tiffany & Company Necklace, ca. 1875

Value (2011) | $40,000 Retail$50,000 Retail

My great-grandfather and great-grandmother got married and they went on their honeymoon to New York. And while on their honeymoon, they went to the opera. And my great-grandmother admired this piece on one of the singers, and my great-grandfather went after the show and talked to the Tiffany jewelers and arranged to buy this piece for my great-grandmother.

Do you know approximately what year that would have been?

No, the only thing I can tell you is that my grandfather, their son, got married in 1902.

I see. As you mentioned, the piece is by Tiffany & Company, and I would date this piece just around the mid-1870s. We have this beautiful necklace, with these graduated panels, and this applied wirework design motif. And in the mid-1870s, there's a style called archaeological revival, and in that period, twisted wirework and little bead work was very, very popular. And Tiffany picked up on this design motif that was coming in from Italy and Europe, and especially in 1876, there was the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, Tiffany exhibited there, and there was a lot of archaeological revival jewelry there. So it's very clear that they were influencing one another. The other aspect of the necklace is that Tiffany also started working what's called the Aesthetic Period, which had a Japanese influence to it, with the decorative motifs of these panels, how they're extending out, as if they are almost screens or Japanese panels as well.

Mm, I see that.

The other thing that's nice is that they've actually patented the alternating panels here to help give the piece dimension. And if we look around here on the back as well... We can see they also have a hook here. There would have probably been a locket associated with this piece, and the Tiffany signature is right here on the side. In terms of the gold karat value, I've not tested the piece, but usually in this category, these are 18-karat gold.


The other thing that's important about this particular piece is that this is a transition period where Tiffany starts actually designing and making more of its jewelry, where previously, they were more of a vendor, where they were bringing items in for resale. Now, have you ever had the item appraised?

Back in the '70s, a gentleman looked at it-- not from Tiffany's, but just a jeweler-- and he said that a depressed value would be $10,000, and that's what he would put on it.

So he said the depressed value would be $10,000. I'm not really sure of that terminology in today's marketplace, but this is a wonderful piece, and I would expect that you would find this piece in a high-end store, somewhere in the $40,000 to $50,000 range in today's market.

I don't think I'll be wearing it to any PTA meetings. (laughs) Thank you.

Appraisal Details

Heritage Auctions
San Francisco, CA
Appraised value (2011)
$40,000 Retail$50,000 Retail
Atlanta, GA (August 06, 2011)
Gold , Metal

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.