1900 Diamond Brooch with Drawing

Value (2013) | $25,000 Auction$45,000 Insurance

This brooch was commissioned by my grandfather for my grandmother, we think to commemorate the birth of my father. And this was down in Ohio, outside of Cincinnati. This would have been the sketch that would have been approved by my grandfather on his concept. Apparently , he was interested in doing the fleur-de-lis and described this to the jeweler, and the jeweler came back and said, "This is what it's going to look like. Should I proceed or not?" And fortunately, he did. He went ahead with it.

Well, obviously, we have the real piece right here. I think it's great that not only do we have the piece, but we have the drawing and the bill of sale in terms of what it cost to produce this piece in 1900. Based on the bill of sale, we know this is by a company called E. Jaccard out of St. Louis, Missouri. They were a very well-respected and well-known jeweler at the time period. What we have here is a fleur-de-lis brooch, but what I like about this particular piece, it incorporates multiple colored diamonds. You have many different colors here: you have the white marquise, you've got the brown pear-shape, you've got the yellow pear-shape, and then there's the sort of limey yellow-colored diamond right in the center. And out to the corners here, these are very faint brownish-pink. And this is probably one of the earliest pieces I've ever seen that has a triangular diamond in it. We know it's dated 1900. We typically associate triangles with the Art Deco period-- 1915, 1920s, 1930s-- so this is a very early triangle.

The story that was handed down to us from my father was that the diamonds were out of France in the French Revolution, and they were smuggled into this country. And this jeweler had them, and that's how they came to be part of the brooch.

It's interesting you should say that because the Jaccard family was of Huguenot descent. That may very well be true; I can't say for sure. Have you ever had the piece appraised?

Many, many years ago, it was appraised, and the number eludes me, to be honest with you.

Well, in today's market, if this item were to come up for sale at auction, I would put a value on this at $25,000 to $35,000.

Oh wow, that's substantial. It's a substantial price.

Plus I would say somewhere around $40,000 to $45,000 as an insurance value.

Well, it's always been sort of the good luck talisman of our family, so it's not going anywhere.

Appraisal Details

Heritage Auctions
San Francisco, CA
Appraised value (2013)
$25,000 Auction$45,000 Insurance
Detroit, MI (June 01, 2013)

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