Louis Comfort Tiffany Necklace, ca. 1905

Value (2014) | $75,000 Auction$100,000 Auction
Watch  

GUEST:
This necklace belonged to my great-grandmother, and she lived from about 1864 to 1926, and I believe at the time they were quite wealthy. They came from northern New Jersey and they actually had a house there that is locally known as Kip's Castle, and I believe the county has just taken it over as a museum. I really don't know much about it. It's been passed down to me, and I think I've had it for about 35 years.

APPRAISER:
You do have a hand-painted portrait of your great-grandmother, and in the portrait, your great-grandmother is wearing this particular necklace. The necklace is a wonderful piece from the early 1900s. I would date it most likely between 1900 and 1908.

GUEST:
Oh, okay.

APPRAISER:
What's remarkable is that not only is the front elegant, but the reverse is just as beautifully done. Every attention to detail was made. We look at all the individual little fret lines and the wire work that was done. Truly a remarkable piece. What we have in the center is a black opal.

GUEST:
Black opal?

APPRAISER:
Yes, most people are more familiar with the common white opals, but this makes it a much more expensive piece. Black opal is considerably more rare.

GUEST:
Oh, okay.

APPRAISER:
The green stones are Russian demantoid garnets. That is the most rare form of green garnet that exists. So this was a very expensive piece when it was made. From an auction standpoint, we can look at this from three different viewpoints. The first would be as a wonderful piece of historic jewelry, it would be $8,000 to $10,000.

GUEST:
Oh, my word.

APPRAISER:
Now, if we add in another element, which is the fact that this piece was made by Tiffany, it affects the value. A Tiffany piece would be priced at $15,000 to $20,000.

GUEST:
Oh, my word, I just can't believe it!

APPRAISER:
The general consensus is that we could take it a step further and assign this piece to Louis Comfort Tiffany, and he is known more for his stained glass, but he did also head up Tiffany Jewelers. And with his name attached, the auction estimate on a piece like this can go as high as $30,000 to $40,000.

GUEST:
Oh! I can't believe this!

APPRAISER:
Now, we have not found his initials on the reverse, so in order to achieve the highest value, we'd recommend that you contact the Tiffany archives. The archives can research the piece. They can date it correctly. They do this for a fee. The archives are based in New Jersey, and the last time I sent a piece there, they charged $1,000 to authenticate it. But when you're talking about a difference in price, it's a good investment.

GUEST:
Yes, definitely.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Heritage Auctions
Dallas, TX
Update (2014)
$75,000 Auction$100,000 Auction
Update (2014)
$125,000 Auction
Appraised value (2012)
$30,000 Auction$40,000 Auction
Event
Seattle, WA (August 18, 2012)
Form
Necklace
Material
Garnet, Opal

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.