Tiffany & Company Natural Pearl & Diamond Necklace, ca. 1909

Value (2012) | $80,000 Auction$200,000 Insurance
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GUEST:
It was my husband's grandmother's, and we always believed it to be from Tiffany's. And when she passed away at the age of 102 ten years ago, we inherited this piece. I suspect that they bought it from Tiffany's around the time that it was made. That's my guess.

APPRAISER:
So we would date this probably around 1910, is that correct?

GUEST:
That sounds about right, yeah.

APPRAISER:
And you're right, it is Tiffany. And the way we know is that it's signed, and it's signed twice, which is great. Once here, right there. And then it has another signature, also Tiffany, on the back clasp. This is a very special piece. Most people would say, "Oh, it's diamonds, you know, that's what's important." No, it's all about the pearls. This piece was probably designed by one of Tiffany's greatest designers, Paulding Farnham, and he loved natural pearls. Right now, natural pearls are the rage. I'll tell you a little bit about Farnham. Have you ever heard of him?

GUEST:
I have not.

APPRAISER:
He was 29 when he won the Paris Gold Medal in 1889 at an exhibition. In 1891, Tiffany's made Farnham his lead designer at Tiffany's. And he was in that position and was there for about 20 years. This pearl at the bottom is almost ten millimeters, which is big. And then it graduates from around six and a half down to three and a half. But each pearl is beautiful: the luster, the match, the skin on it-- we call it the skin. It has no blemishes. I mean, these are beautiful, natural pearls. I see that two pearls fell off.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
Well, these pearls are worth a lot, just these two pearls.

GUEST:
(laughing): Just the two. Now are these old, mine cut diamonds?

APPRAISER:
Yes. In this market, if you came to me and said, "What do you think we could get in an auction?" We'd say $80,000 to $100,000.

GUEST:
No way.

APPRAISER:
Yes, yes. These little pearls, they're probably $5,000. Do not lose these. These have to go back on. I would say you're looking at an appraisal to insure and replace at $200,000.

GUEST:
(gasps)

APPRAISER:
So I would be very careful with these two loose pearls.

GUEST:
So should I take this to Tiffany's and tell them to restring it?

APPRAISER:
Restring it, be very careful.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
Wear it sometimes.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
And enjoy it.

GUEST:
I'll have my daughters wear it in their wedding.

APPRAISER:
Are you shocked?

GUEST:
I'm stunned. (laughing) Thank you.

APPRAISER:
You're welcome.

GUEST:
Wow. I was not expecting that.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Skinner, Inc.
Boston, MA
Appraised value (2012)
$80,000 Auction$200,000 Insurance
Event
Boston, MA (June 09, 2012)
Period
20th Century
Form
Necklace
Material
Diamonds, Pearl

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