Claire Falkenstein Earrings & Head Ornament

Value (2017) | $8,000 Auction$27,000 Insurance
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GUEST:
I think it's a tiara.

APPRAISER:
Oh, will you put it on? Can I see it on you?

GUEST:
Yeah, well, I...

APPRAISER:
You don't have enough hair.

GUEST:
Oh, you have to have a bun? (laughing)

GUEST:
I collected things, always, from when I was very young, because my mother was, collected things. And then I started to get older, and I fell in love with Modernism and Modernist things.

APPRAISER:
I don't think Claire Falkenstein is that well-known to a large jewelry audience because she really was known for sculpture, that was where her mark was made.

GUEST:
Yes, yes, mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
And the most famous sculpture she made was for Guggenheim, "The New Gates of Paradise" in Venice...

GUEST:
Yes, yeah.

APPRAISER:
and did not use expensive materials, and that was really because she didn't, couldn't in the beginning, but then she continued to use wood and glass and iron and silver...

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
and very rarely used gold. And what you brought are two quite rare pieces. The first piece, the earrings, I have actually never seen a pair of her earrings. I mean, it was not a big body of work. But this piece, this is very unusual. I imagine it was worn as a head ornament, probably in a bun, and then you put these in the back and they would dangle down.

GUEST:
That's what I think, too.

APPRAISER:
And what's unusual is, every material is in here. There's brass, there's iron, there's silver and gold, and also, it's signed. Her full name, Claire Falkenstein. When you bought this, where did you get this?

GUEST:
The hair ornament I bought online. It came from Paris. It was about 20 years ago. It was at an auction thing, and it didn't sell, and in those days, you could contact the owner.

APPRAISER:
And buy it.

GUEST:
Which I did, and she said, "Nobody bid on it. If you want, you can have it for $50." The earrings I bought when we were living in Milwaukee at a church thrift shop.

APPRAISER:
And what did you pay?

GUEST:
I paid probably like two, three dollars. I'm thinking this was made in the '60s.

APPRAISER:
That could in the '60s...

GUEST:
But that's, that's what I'm thinking.

APPRAISER:
and the earrings were probably late '40s, would be my guess for the earrings.

GUEST:
Yeah, so...

APPRAISER:
I am hard-pressed to put a value. It's not for everyone, it's not that wearable, but if you want to be avant-garde and cool, hey, that says it all. So I would say, on this head ornament, I would put a value, at auction, $4,000 to $6,000. And I would say as an insurance value, probably in the $15,000 range, at least. And the earrings I would also put up there, maybe $4,000 to $5,000 as an auction price and a replacement, I'd have to say $10,000, $12,000. And I'm so glad you came because I think people will all of a sudden say, "Claire Falkenstein-- who was she?"

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Skinner, Inc.
Boston, MA
Appraised value (2017)
$8,000 Auction$27,000 Insurance
Event
Newport, RI (September 18, 2017)
Category
Jewelry

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