Mughal Jeweled White Jade Handle, ca. 1890
My dad used to collect Indonesian and Persian weapons. He allowed me to take a piece from his collection, and that had jewels, and of course as a girl, jewels are something that I really am drawn to, so I selected that piece. He told me that it was a knife handle. He believed it was a knife handle because it was only the hilt with no blade, so he believed it was a knife handle.
I believe that it's Mughal as opposed to Persian. I believe it's Indian, and this is going back to the era where the princes still owned their small principalities in India, towards the end of the 19th century before the British took complete control of the country. It's the sort of thing somebody who had wealth and prestige would have in his accessories. Now, as far as its function, I think it's most likely either a flywhisk handle or a parasol handle.
Now, the material that we're looking at is carved white jade, which is very difficult to do. White jade is very tough-- all jade is very tough, that's one of its characteristics-- and it's beautifully carved. It's carved through and it's very balanced. The gems that we have around it are foil backed, all of them, which include green foil back emeralds and white foil back topaz that have a coloration behind them. The red gems, some of them are highly florescent, and those are indicative of Burma rubies, and then some of them are not florescent, which goes to my thinking of its age. I believe this piece dates from between 1880 and 1900, because there's a mixture between the rubies and the spinels in the piece. The later pieces tend to use pretty much all rubies. Some of the color is missing, and then there is some damage to the piece as well. There's some small damage to the jade on this side and some small damage to the jade on the reverse, and that goes into affecting its value. There's been an embargo on importation of Burmese rubies for around 14 years now. That's possibly coming to a close, but this material is legal to own, but not legal to import into the United States. In an auction market today, I would place this piece, in its condition, at around $7,000 to $9,000.
Fantastic, that's great.
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.