Navajo Jewelry Collection, ca. 1900

Value (2012) | $20,000 Retail$24,000 Retail

GUEST:
There was a professor at the University of California, and he spent summers with the Indians. He became a member of their tribe and was on their council. Now, they came from him through several inheritances to me. I don't know if the Indians gave him the necklaces or if he bought them, but they did come from the Indians.

APPRAISER:
Do you know what tribe made these?

GUEST:
I am assuming that it was a Taensa tribe in Southwest United States.

APPRAISER:
It is from the Southwest. They are from Arizona. The tribe, however, are the Navajo.

GUEST:
Oh, it's a Navajo.

APPRAISER:
And this is about as special a group of Navajo jewelry as I've ever seen. Let's just look for a moment at the two necklaces. They're called squash blossom necklaces. These probably date around 1890 to 1900. The device hanging at the bottom of these necklaces are called najas. That design developed in North Africa amongst the Islamic people. It moved from North Africa to the Iberian Peninsula. By way of Spain, it made its way to Mexico City and eventually up the Santa Fe Trail to Navajo land. It's a great ancient symbol. One of the things I particularly like about these necklaces is every single aspect of them are hand-made. They were made with a cold chisel and a file. If you look at these silver beads, every one is hand-made and soldered together individually. The stones are turquoise, blue and green. What about the bracelets?

GUEST:
Well, they came from the same place.

APPRAISER:
Same place, and pretty much the same age. This is very heavy silver, ingot silver, hand pounded with a hammer and a chisel, set with turquoise, beautifully stamped. They have rather simple designs, and that's a characteristic of early Navajo silver. One of the things that we see at the Antiques Roadshow at the tribal table more than anything else is Navajo jewelry. We probably have seen hundreds of squash blossom necklaces and thousands of bracelets. I have never seen a more spectacular group of Navajo jewelry than this group that you've brought today.

GUEST:
Well, thank you.

APPRAISER:
It is simply exquisite. This squash blossom necklace closest to me I think would have a retail value of about $8,000. Oh. The squash blossom necklace nearest you, in the neighborhood of $5,000 to $6,000. This is probably the most beautiful naja I have ever seen. It's simply off the charts. The same can be said about these bracelets. It's a spectacular sense of design and quality. These bracelets on a retail market value, about $2,000 to $3,000 apiece.

GUEST:
Oh.

APPRAISER:
They are simply as good as it gets.

GUEST:
Well, I am amazed. I had no idea it would be that much.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Trotta-Bono, Ltd.
Shrub Oak, New York
Appraised value (2012)
$20,000 Retail$24,000 Retail
Event
Seattle, WA (August 18, 2012)
Material
Silver, Turquoise

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.