Art Smith Silver Necklace, ca. 1960

Value (2014) | $10,000 Auction$15,000 Auction

What is someone from Wellesley doing with that necklace? How did you get it? What is it?

It's the first time I've ever worn it. It's always been hanging on the wall. It had been my mother's, but she never wore it either. It didn't translate well from her excitement of New York to Andover, Massachusetts, where I grew up.

And where did she buy it?

She bought it, I think, from someone in Greenwich Village.

And that would have been what year, you think?

When I was in high school, probably in the early '60s.

Now, do you know who made it? You sort of…

Yes, she told me someone named Art Smith made it.

And she bought it from the artist directly?

GUET: Right.

Well, I can tell you about Art Smith. He was one of the art jewelers that worked in the '50s. He started in 1953 and he had an upstairs studio in Greenwich Village. There was a book called The Messengers of Modernism that talks about all these people that sort of were the beginning of the modern movement: Calder, Sam Kramer, Ed Wiener, and of course Art Smith. Now, Art Smith was black, and he was one of the first black artists to do jewelry during that period. He liked to do things that reminded him of tribal art, which as you can see, this certainly relates to that. The necklace is in silver. The stones are out of the quartz family. They don't have great value and they're just very colorful, and some of them, when you move them, they turn. The necklace is grand and certainly eye-catching. In the market today, these necklaces are very, very collectible. And I think what you've done by wearing it on a wall, so to speak, wearable art, is the perfect venue for something like this. Any thoughts on it? Do you love it? Are you afraid of it?

Well, no, I'm not afraid of it. I couldn't decide what to wear it with. And I also noticed I couldn't find his name. Could you find his name anywhere in it?

Now, this one is not signed. Art Smith signed some pieces, didn't sign others. I didn't think he'd have to sign this piece because to me, this is the ultimate piece of jewelry by Art Smith, and it continues all the way around. As to value, are you curious?

Oh, well, of course, I'm curious. I have no intention of doing anything beyond hanging it on the wall or maybe wearing it.

You are at a level today at $5,000 to $7,000 in the market.


So you've got a valuable piece...

Is that your final answer?

No, because you know what? It could bring $10,000.

Appraisal Details

Skinner, Inc.
Boston, MA
Value Update (2014)
$10,000 Auction$15,000 Auction
Appraised value (2000)
$5,000 Auction$10,000 Auction
Boston, MA (August 19, 2000)
20th Century

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