Massoni Jeweled Desk Object, ca. 1965
My father bought this in Italy. Actually, my mother had been ill for about a year and so she couldn't travel with him, and he brought it as a souvenir for her. And the only thing I know, it was in 1986, and he bought it at a jewelry store that was very close to the entrance of Vatican City, St. Peter's Basilica, but he couldn't recall the name of the jewelry store, and she's passed away, and so he's given it to me, and I feel like I'm kind of the caretaker for the family, and we just call it the treasure.
The treasure, that's great. It's very whimsical, but at the same time it's really well done. You can tell that this is a craftsman that took the time to carve out the chrysoprase, the flowers that you have down here, the detail in the wirework that surrounds the bezel-set diamonds. And then you have the tourmalines here. Everything is in matching pairs, and then I love it here, too, you have the rubies, the diamonds, but the quality of the stones is exceptional. I just love this lapis lazuli base with the wire work, the two-tone gold, the white and the yellow. Now, this piece was made by Massoni. Are you familiar with that firm?
No, not at all.
They're an Italian company. They've been in business since 1790. If you look underneath the piece, it's actually signed "Massoni" here, and it's also stamped 750 and that's the purity mark for gold for 18-karat gold in Europe. It's fabulous. It has cross-market appeal because of the bamboo, and we all know the Asian market is super hot right now. I believe this object was made in the late 1960s, early 1970s. It's based on style.
The wire twist, the two-tone, the bamboo that was popular at the time. I see. And I would call it a jeweled desk object, and it's sort of reminiscent of those desk objects you see by Cartier or FabergÈ.
What did your father pay for it?
About $2,000 in 1986.
Okay, I would say for an insurance value, for a piece like this today, it would be about $5,000.
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