19th-Century Victorian Quartz Gold Suite
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.
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."
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