Demantoid, Diamond & Ruby Brooch, ca. 1890
My grandmother received it when she was 18 years old, in 1910. She got it from her boyfriend, she's cherished it all these years, and when I turned 18, she handed it down to me.
Did she marry the boyfriend?
No, unfortunately, she didn't. I really don't even know what his name was. I wish I would have known that, but...
Poor guy. (both laughing) Have you ever had it looked at and examined?
Yes, about ten years ago, I had it appraised from a jewelry store and they had told me it was about $5,000.
Well, to start off, the stones are not emeralds, which most people think they are. They are what you call demantoids, which is a green garnet. The demantoid has a wonderful history to it. It was the first of the green garnets discovered in Russia. The stones are Russian. It was made in England around 1890. Generally speaking, the English and the French were the only ones who wanted the demantoid of that particular color, which is the best. This brooch was hand made. It had to have been at the time. And what they did is they carved out the gold frame for it, and they set it with the green garnets and the diamonds, and of course it has a little catch so it can be worn as a pendant. But one of the things that really kind of sets it off is the little ruby eyes. And it's probably either 15 or 18 karat. The fact that it's a turtle, and a brooch and a pendant, it's really quite a something piece. It's got a lot of things. First of all, the turtle is very good luck. And the animal form brooches makes it a double. And you've got a triple whammy because it's got demantoids, which are very, very much sought after and it's not a fad. Demantoids have been sought after for decades. These are worth more than emeralds are. As a retail value today, you're talking about $12,000, $15,000 and possibly even $18,000.
I mean, it's really quite a wonderful thing and a very saleable thing.
I plan on continuing the history and giving it to my granddaughter, and hoping she will do the same with her granddaughter.
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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."
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