19th-Century Victorian Quartz Gold Suite

Value (2003) | $5,000 Retail

The brooch, the necklace and the earrings were bought by my great-grandmother, who had come to San Francisco from Germany. She was a very independent person, and she bought this for herself. It's been in the family ever since. My grandmother and grandfathers were all born in San Francisco. My parents were born in San Francisco. I was born in San Francisco. So I have a direct line on the origin of this necklace and earrings.

Now, in 1848, they came to California to mine gold. Now, when they would mine gold, they would take it out of veins in mountains and they would take it out of the rock and purify it. But sometimes they would have a vein of quartz and there would be not enough gold to mine out, but enough gold to make jewelry, and that's called quartz-gold jewelry. That's what you have here. This is quartz-gold jewelry. And actually, there's quite a bit of gold in here. And this is a brooch. There's a pin on the back and there's a pendant bale, and down here they have dangles. Now, also what I want to show you, right here, this clasp tells me this is a watch chain.

I did not know that.

Women did not wear wristwatches at this time and this hook would accommodate the bow on a small pocket watch. And so this chain was used for several types of jewelry, and it would have been used for the brooch. And this set would have been expensive when she bought it. She would have bought it in a fine-jewelry store. Its original value would have probably been around $200.

That was a lot of money.

I want to look also at the earrings, and the same style is in the earrings. The women were wearing their hair up and back and so they were exposing their ears. And you see the balls on the earrings do match the balls on the necklace. This is an American-made piece. It's unsigned. I've conferred with one of my associates, Barry Weber. He tested it. It's 14-karat gold. Do you have any idea, besides sentimental value, what the value might be?

Well, I took it to a jeweler with a number of other things, and he put several things aside, and he says, "Whatever you do, never sell these without giving me a chance first." But he didn't say anything definite.

Oh, well, he was a smart fellow. I would say, on today's marketplace, because of the connection to the Gold Rush, San Francisco provenance, your suite would sell for $5,000.

I am surprised.

Appraisal Details

Rhinestone Rosie
Seattle, WA
Appraised value (2003)
$5,000 Retail
San Francisco, CA (August 16, 2003)
Gold , Quartz

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.