American Hair Jewelry, ca. 1850
Well, this has been in my family forever. It belonged to my great-great-grandmother. And my understanding is that the outside of the bracelet was my great-great- grandfather's hair and inside was my great-great- grandmother's hair.
Woven-hair jewelry was sort of a cottage industry. When someone passed on, the hair would be woven into different forms of jewelry. There were catalogs available that you could buy that had the examples of what you could use like the earrings that we see there, and the brooch. But I'd like to focus on the bracelet first because it's really very interesting. First, we see your great-great- grandfather's hair. This is from about 1850. And when we open the locket, which is beautifully engraved, we see, inside, Great-Great-Grandma's hair. But there's also two colors of hair in there, which probably indicates that the blonder hair was when she was a little girl and the darker hair was when she got older.
And I'd like to turn this around so that we can see how beautifully woven this is and what a difficult task this was to weave.
Because it's as old as it is, there is a very little bit of damage right up there, but most of the time, pieces are much more damaged than this one is.
Is that right?
It's so nice to see this in such wonderful condition. It is from Georgia, and most of this jewelry first came from England with our English forebears, and then was picked up as an industry in this country through the end of the 19th century. We have the earrings as well and a tiny little brooch. And the brooch is very, very sweet because it's a love knot, and in the center of the love knot are clutched hands, which is a token of love. And I would venture that the value of this, which is, of course, sentimental, but the monetary value of this is about $900.
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.